The Impact of Working in National Security
(A letter from a BlackHorse team member)
April 13, 2021
Every year, BlackHorse hosts a summer internship program for some of the brightest minds looking to explore careers in the National Security space. Read a letter from “Bill at BlackHorse”, one of our current employees. He talks about his career, time at the company, and perspective on college graduates entering the field.
Talk about weird timing, just last weekend I was talking to a good friend of mine about how in about 10 years or so, we think we are going to hit a crisis in terms of talented manpower flowing into national security. I’m 29, and a consistent trend that I noticed is that any project I come on to, I am usually the youngest person there. At customer sites, walking through the hallways, I noticed the same exact age demographic gap. I have younger siblings, and younger friends who recently graduated, and I’m seeing people not go into the national security field, primarily stemming from salary competition in private sector and lifestyle differences (drugs, travel, work conditions, clearance). For me, I kind of just stumbled into this field, and it's been the best thing to ever happen to me. It has afforded me more opportunities to do some cool stuff I thought was only in movies and go to some extreme places. I was even able to rescue my dog from one of the places I was sent to!
Yes, we could sell our souls to corporate America for 2x the salary but gone would be 40 hour workweeks with a good life balance, the satisfaction of getting to do said cool things, job security, and countless other little benefits here and there. It’s not all about the money; if you end up loving the field, the money will come later on. I have seen my share of devs turn around (including myself), say nope, not doing it because I am worth more than your labor cat says, especially early in the career when companies will give 6 figures plus right out of school. Before I moved to FL with Blackhorse (best decision I’ve made in a long time), the customer offered me the leadership position of a new branch they were standing up. I went through the entire clearance process again, only to have them stonewall me with a junior leadership position at the end, only because I only had a bachelors. I was so angry, I almost gave up the field after 7 years, but Blackhorse came through out of the dark, moved me to FL where I really wanted to go, and turned me loose to start tearing up cyber-dev. When your career is young, it’s all about where you go to work, and what opportunities the company and the field you are in provides. You won’t get these diverse opportunities outside of national security, and as long as you have the desire to push yourself and a good company to stand behind you, this field will yield incredible dividends. Blackhorse is one of the very few companies I’ve encountered that really has access to all these opportunities, trusts you, and has excellent leadership that’s actually in tune with you to go in hand with it.
I didn’t know about anything of this stuff coming into national security; I only fell into it because I saw a cool term on a projector screen next to the room I was getting interviewed in, and then asked the interviewer about it. National security turned me from a mediocre frat guy with B grades, to a well-rounded individual with a set of skills I never would have imagined. Just by being in National Security, I have gotten opportunities to do MapReduce analytic development with the requirement of defending them in front of lawyers, leading RF Forward ops/integration in hostile CONUS/OCONUS environments with firearms training, and now I have been trusted by Blackhorse to push myself even further and dive deep into cyber-dev. I would never have gotten this diversity of work and level of personal development without entering national security, so if there is anything I can do to help convince someone coming out of school of all the awesome stuff you can do, especially at Blackhorse, give me an email, call, whatever, anytime and I’ll talk them off the ledge. BlackHorse took a chance on me a year ago, so if I can give back in any way from now to the future, let me know.
Bill at BlackHorse
BlackHorse is a rapidly growing technology company in the national security space with leading capabilities in cyber, electronic warfare, digital operations, artificial intelligence/machine learning, information operations, readiness support, and full spectrum operations. Headquartered in Herndon, VA, and with offices in Tampa, FL, Fayetteville, NC, and Denver, CO, we support our nation’s most pressing national security needs through contracts with the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and other Government agencies. BlackHorse has openings in some of the most exciting areas of National Security, which can be found at https://www.blackhorsesolutions.com/. We can also be found on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; follow us!