8 CIA Cybersecurity Jobs and What You Need to Get Started

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover the key skills and qualifications needed to secure a cybersecurity position with the US government at the CIA.

[Featured Image] Two cyber threat analysts carry folders and walk from the parking lot to their CIA cybersecurity jobs.

The CIA, or Central Intelligence Agency, is a US government agency with a strong focus on understanding the cybersecurity landscape and building a robust cybersecurity workforce. Founded in 1947, the CIA delivers timely and unbiased intelligence on foreign nations and global matters to the President and the National Security Council (NSC), among other policymakers. Following the President's orders and adhering to applicable laws, the CIA is also authorized to operate covertly and work alongside private industries to research the threat landscape and shore up the nation’s defense against threats of all kinds, including cyberattacks. 

Discover how you can build a cybersecurity career working alongside the CIA. Continue reading to delve into the specifics of eight unique CIA cybersecurity roles, their eligibility criteria, work duties, compensation, and more.

General eligibility criteria

Before you prepare for an interview, make sure you meet the agency’s minimum requirements. To qualify for any position at the CIA, you must meet the following basic guidelines [1]:

  • Be physically located in the US or a US territory when submitting your resume via MyLINK

  • Possess US citizenship 

  • Be age 18 or older

  • Be open to relocating to the Washington, DC area.

  • Successfully undergo security and medical evaluations, including allowing the CIA to interview friends, family, colleagues, and others as part of a thorough investigation into your background and submitting to physical and psychological examination.

  • Register for the Selective Service system, which provides personnel to the US Department of Defense during times of national emergencies.

Note: Registration with the Selective Service is mandatory for male citizens and immigrants at age 18 [2].

8 cybersecurity jobs at the CIA

Apart from meeting the standard eligibility criteria, a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale makes you well-suited for the following CIA cybersecurity positions:

1. Cybersecurity officer

In your role as a cybersecurity officer, you will help safeguard CIA data and systems.  Specifically, you'll track and mitigate IT risks through security tools and CIA information technology (IT) expertise. Additionally, you may perform audit and security compliance checks, lead forensic analysis, assess security documentation, and more. 

Base salary: $73,617–$163,252 [3]

Must-have qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, computer science, cybersecurity, information security, or a related engineering field, or equivalent work experience

2. Cyber operations officer

As a cyber operations officer with the CIA, you will extract intelligence from the networks and systems of adversaries to deter future attacks and defend against them. This includes employing sophisticated techniques and advanced tools tailored for cyber operations. Solid skills in computer hardware, software, and networks are essential. 

Base salary: $69,287–$172,075 [4]

Must-have qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) field or equivalent work experience

3. Cyber threat analyst 

The CIA cyber threat analyst role requires you to identify and hinder threats from foreign cyber actors against national information systems and infrastructure. Furthermore, you may develop written assessments and deliver briefings to US policymakers and other stakeholders in the US defense community.

Base salary: $62,733–$183,500 [5]

Must-have qualifications: A bachelor’s or master’s degree in international relations, foreign affairs, cybersecurity, computer science, computer engineering, digital forensics, telecommunications, or information assurance

4. Cybersecurity researcher

As a CIA cybersecurity researcher, you'll work toward designing, building, and deploying tools for cyber operations and intelligence. Drawing on your computer and network security skills, you may develop novel solutions to address evolving and emerging threats.

Base salary: $69,287–$122,459 [6]

Must-have qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, software engineering, or a related field, or five years of professional experience in offensive security or system-level software development. Plus, up to three years of experience with a system programming language.

5. Attorney (tech and cyber)

As an attorney within the CIA, your primary role revolves around delivering expert legal advice and offering the agency's leadership policy counsel. It may entail delving into intricate areas of law that directly impact the CIA's duties, governed by the National Security Act, the CIA Act, and Executive Orders. 

Base salary: $78,592–$183,500 [7]

Must-have qualifications: Juris Doctor (JD) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABR), active bar membership from any of the 50 states, at least three years of experience within the US government or in private practice, demonstrated experience in providing legal counsel and handling situations with multiple variables and unknowns.

6. Cyber targeter

As a CIA cyber targeter, you’ll use up-to-date cyber tools, data sets, and methodologies to assess data or information from all origins. Advancing the CIA’s cyber mission priorities, you may also help pinpoint individuals, computer networks, and cyber vulnerabilities that pose potential risks to national security. 

Base salary: $69,287–$122,459 [8]

Must-have qualifications: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in a STEM field or at least five years of professional experience in areas like digital forensics, cybersecurity, internet technology, information science, network security and engineering, social network analysis, or data analytics.

7. Data analysis officer

As a data analysis officer, your main responsibility involves comprehensively examining intelligence and operational items sourced from technical collections and data sets. Additionally, you'll identify and prioritize intelligence gaps, aiding the swift and accurate exploitation of large data sets.

Base salary: $69,287–$145,617 [9]

Must-have qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, digital/computer/network forensics, applied mathematics, telecommunications, information security and assurance, or data analysis or analytics.

8. Digital forensics engineer

As a digital forensics engineer, your duties may include reviewing data from a progressive cyberattack, offering timely threat mitigation insights to policymakers, examining new file formats and storage devices, writing scripts and code to assist the development of information recovery systems, and more.

Base salary: $69,287–$122,459 [10]

Must-have qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, computer engineering, computer science, applied mathematics, or a related field

A word from the CIA 

The hiring process can be lengthy, particularly since the agency prioritizes the safety of its employees. To that end, the CIA urges job applicants to exercise discretion when sharing their interest in CIA employment. The agency strongly recommends refraining from mentioning the submission of a resume or receiving an invitation to apply for employment with the CIA on social media  [11].

Learn more with Coursera. 

Whether you want to apply for CIA cybersecurity jobs or build a career in the private sector, developing a robust skill set is essential. Strengthen your cybersecurity skills with the Cybersecurity for Everyone course from the University of Maryland, College Park, on Coursera. This course can help you build a strong foundation with vital knowledge, including the ramifications of a cyberattack. You may also opt to earn a shareable credential with the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate, designed to help you develop the skills required for an entry-level cybersecurity job. 

Article sources


CIA. “How We Hire, https://www.cia.gov/careers/how-we-hire/.” Accessed on March 5, 2024.

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