Computer Scientist - Development Programs - Entry/ Mid-Level

Fort Meade, Maryland
Oct 22, 2021
Oct 29, 2021
Full Time


NSA's development programs help employees enhance their skills and improve their understanding of a specific discipline. The programs are generally three years long and feature rotational tours throughout the Agency. Designed for entry to mid-level employees, development program participants are afforded the opportunity to receive tailored training, often with a cohort, and multiple assignments across Agency Directorates to develop skills and experience to ground their career at the NSA.

Learn more about this agency


As an NSA computer science development program participant your responsibilities may include:
- creating analytic applications that scale across multiple, very large, data sets from disparate sources
- leveraging and integrating open source, commercial off-the-shelf, and government developed software
- analyzing user/customer requirements related to software and/or software system design
- building software prototypes
- designing, developing, and debugging software applications
- troubleshooting and debugging computer code
- applying mathematical or computational methods and lines of reasoning to complex software systems
- identifying target communications within the global network
- designing and optimizing algorithms, data structures, modeling, and analytics to solve real-world scientific problems
- solving cryptanalytic, high-performance computing, and computer network problems
- leading new advances in computer science, such as:
- microprocessor-based advances
- beyond the horizon supercomputers
- signals processing (including analog control)
- user interfaces
- deep learning
- cybersecurity
- design and implementation of encryption
- advanced algorithms
- detecting, identifying, and evaluating vulnerabilities in cyberspace systems and/or networks
- developing software and/or hardware exploitation capabilities that enable collection of foreign intelligence from target networks and systems
- designing solutions to defend against adversarial threats directed towards the US, to include cutting-edge technologies such as mobile, SCADA, and Internet of Things
- analyzing sophisticated malware to thwart cyber attacks and identify new threats
- developing methods and applications for tools to exploit and analyze computer systems

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

The ideal candidate is someone who thrives on solving hard problems, has excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and is able to:

- work independently as well as in a team environment to build solutions
- handle multiple assignments
- synthesize information to solve complex problems
- apply knowledge of data structures and algorithms to software engineering problems
- develop, diagnose, and operate complex computer systems
- identify customer needs and validate product design

Additionally, the ideal candidate is someone with knowledge and experience in one or more of the following:

- programming and scripting experience (e.g., C, C++, Java, Assembly, Python, Perl, Ruby, Bash, Node.js, Spark, Puppet, SALT, KAFKA, HADOOP, VHDL, Verilog)
- building user facing services, middleware, and backend systems
- full-stack development
- computer networking (e.g., communication protocols, distributed systems, Internet of Things, real-time systems, routing and switching)
- protocol analysis (e.g. Wireshark, tcpdump)
- data spaces, data modeling, data analysis, storage design, and administration
- simulation/model development & prototyping
- information retrieval, machine learning, artificial intelligence, statistics and analytics
- hardware and software vulnerability analysis
- software reverse engineering/interactive debugging tools (e.g., IDA Pro, Ollydbg, gdb)
- hardware reverse engineering tools (e.g., JTAG, Oscilloscopes)
- software development life-cycle (design, develop, implementation, debug, testing)
- kernel and device driver development
- network/socket programming
- embedded systems development
- operating systems
- computational science
- algorithm analysis and design
- reverse engineering
- cryptanalysis
- high performance computing


Salary Range: $73,076 - $91,057 (Entry/Developmental)
- Entry is with a Bachelor's degree and no experience. An Associate's degree plus 2 years of relevant experience may be considered for individuals with in-depth experience that is clearly related to the position.

Salary Range: $84,529 - $113,362 (Full Performance)
- Entry is with a Bachelor's degree plus 3 years of relevant experience or a Master's degree plus 1 year of relevant experience or a Doctoral degree and no experience. An Associate's degree plus 5 years of relevant experience may be considered for individuals with in-depth experience that is clearly related to the position.


Degree must be in Computer Science (CS). Related fields (e.g., Engineering, Mathematics) may be considered relevant if the programs contain, at minimum, a concentration of courses in the following foundational CS areas: algorithms; computer architecture (not network architecture); programming methodologies and languages; data structures; logic and computation; and advanced mathematics (for example, calculus, discrete mathematics). Information Technology (IT) or Information Systems (IS) degrees may be considered relevant if the programs contain the amount and type of coursework equivalent to a CS major.

Relevant experience must be in the software development process (i.e., requirements analysis, software design, implementation, testing, integration, deployment/installation, and maintenance) and programming.

Additional information

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

***PLEASE NOTE: U.S. Citizenship is required for all applicants. Reasonable accommodations provided to applicants with disabilities during the application and hiring process where appropriate. NSA is an equal opportunity employer and abides by applicable employment laws and regulations. All applicants and employees are subject to random drug testing in accordance with Executive Order 12564. Employment is contingent upon successful completion of a security background investigation and polygraph.

This position is a Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS) position in the Excepted Service under 10 U.S.C. 1601. DoD Components with DCIPS positions apply Veterans' Preference to eligible candidates as defined by Section 2108 of Title 5 USC, in accordance with the procedures provided in DoD Instruction 1400.25, Volume 2005, DCIPS Employment and Placement. If you are a veteran claiming veterans' preference, as defined by Section 2108 of Title 5 U.S.C., you may be asked to submit documents verifying your eligibility.

Please note that you may be asked a series of questions depending on the position you apply for. Your responses will be used as part of the screening process of your application and will assist in determining your eligibility for the position. Be sure to elaborate on experiences in your resume. Failure to provide the required information or providing inaccurate information will result in your application not being considered for this position. Only those applicants who meet the qualifications for the position will be contacted to begin employment processing.

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Top Secret

Drug test required

Required Documents

Please attach an unofficial copy of your transcripts when applying for this position. Providing a copy of your transcripts is especially critical since the minimum qualifications for this position require a Computer Science degree OR a related degree that demonstrates a concentration of CS coursework. For example, degrees in Engineering, Mathematics, Information Systems, Information Technology, Information Security, Information Assurance, Computer Security, and Digital Forensics MAY be considered for this position IF your coursework/transcripts demonstrate a concentration of CS coursework. Foundational CS coursework includes the following courses: Computer Architecture, Programming Languages, Data Structures, and Algorithms.

If you are a veteran claiming veterans' preference, as defined by Section 2108 of Title 5 U.S.C., you may be asked to submit documents verifying your eligibility.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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