The FBI's cyber division is recruiting a new breed of technical special agent with critical skills in CS, IT, computer engineering and accounting. Fluency in foreign languages and investigative experience in areas like intelligence and law enforcement are also valued.
Cyber crimes agents are needed for both fieldwork and professional positions, says Eddie A. Winkley, supervisory special agent in the personnel resources unit of the FBI. He reports that the agency has jobs for 750 special agents and 1,200 general professional staffers in fiscal year 2006. Some 15 percent of the new special agents will have CS or IT expertise.
Cyber recruits need backgrounds in CS or IT. Sought-after languages include Arabic, all dialects of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese. For other jobs, military experience plus a specialty in physics, chemistry, math, biology or forensics is valued. The FBI also looks for people with backgrounds in engineering, as well as law, law enforcement and accounting.
Raul O. Roldan, chief of the cyber crimes section of the cyber division, lists four key responsibilities for his section: intelligence development in private industry and academia for criminal investigations; program management of cyber crime, including identity theft, cyber fraud and intellectual property rights; investigation of child sexual exploitation over the Internet; and training agents to investigate cyber crimes. The training is also provided for U.S. law enforcement partners and those of other nations.
Cyber crimes is interested in hiring people with an understanding of corporate structures in the IT and software industries, and folks who understand software systems and how they are utilized. Candidates with a comprehensive understanding of the Internet are also considered.
The most sought-after skill is the ability to navigate and communicate in the corporate sector. "We have to be able to sit down with the Microsofts, eBays and IBMs of the world and not only talk their language but make them understand how they can play a role in preventing crime. This dialog is essential to our mission," Roldan says.
A cyber crimes division field agent handles complaints from the corporate sector or individuals who've been victimized on the Internet, perhaps by identity theft or fraud. "Nothing can be done unless there's dialog," Roldan notes. "That's why it's important that our people have IT skills, an understanding of the Internet and how the crime could have occurred, and communication skills so the appropriate questions are asked."
The criminal organizations that work on the Internet can be anywhere in the world, he says. "An investigation would go beyond our domestic borders and agents must understand how the Internet is used throughout the world." Roldan points out that the FBI today has fifty-six domestic offices and more then fifty international offices.
Roldan himself has an MBA. He has investigated financial crime and international drug organizations, and worked in civil rights and intelligence collection. He has also been a SWAT team member and hostage negotiator.
Besides field agents, the FBI is hiring intelligence analysts who can interact with other intelligence agencies like the CIA, NSA, DIA and the military. There are also job openings for special agents who investigate non-cyber crime in nearly 300 categories.
The FBI posts open positions at www.fbijobs.gov, and sends recruiters to career fairs put on by NSPE, NSBE and many others throughout the country. It also touches base with many universities and recruits IT and CS students through its honors internship program.
Special agent recruits must be between the ages of twenty-three and thirty-seven and able to pass physical fitness requirements. New recruits are sent to the agency's law enforcement training academy in Quantico, VA.
Winkley notes that the FBI has many programs that focus on recruiting minorities and women. "We're also focusing on people coming back from the war and people with disabilities. We try to mirror society, bringing in women, people with disabilities and all the ethnic groups."
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
||30,430, including 12,000 special agents and 18,000 professional staff
||$5.9 billion (2005)
||Protect and defend the U.S. against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the U.S., provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal and international agencies and partners