Newbies often seek technology jobs with a purpose, so they can make a difference by applying their skills to real-world problems. Terrorism prevention may be just such a calling, and there's significant work yet to be accomplished in the field (as events over the weekend showed).
The director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, wrote a piece for The Washington Post in which he describes technology as the backbone of our nation's strengthening defenses. Although he acknowledges significant challenges in retrofitting massive systems so that law enforcement agencies can share data and intelligence, he also cites some successes and connects the dots between recent technology changes and the nation's security. For example:
Innovative use of information technology across agencies is enabling analysts to make use of the enormous amounts of data we are gathering and to distill insights that will help policymakers in Washington and civil and military officers in the field. Thousands of analysts form groups spontaneously, in real time, on A-Space, post insights in Intellipedia, retrieve relevant analyses from the Library of National Intelligence and interact with the tribal database for Afghanistan. These tools, among others, ensure that each piece of analysis takes advantage of work being done and that new insights are immediately available to those who need them.
So if you're looking for a technology job with a purpose, seek opportunities with federal agencies and government contractors responsible for retrofitting the various law enforcement systems.
-- Leslie Stevens-Huffman