Robert Palmer, director, information assurance, Department of Homeland Security, shares career advice in this FedMentors interview for FedScoopTV.
My first government job was actually as a contractor supporting DOD in requirements analysis. What I learned from that, being grounded in requirements is important, and it really keeps you centered on the mission and what the actual necessities are associated with the mission. Especially in IT security, we have to ask ourselves quite often, why are really we doing this? What are the actual requirements that we’re trying to meet?
I actually started out as a teacher early in my career, and I feel like that skill or the development of that skill has helped me relate with people, understand how to motivate folks, which as you progress in your career becomes more and more valuable in understanding how to lead people through tasks, projects, et cetera.
You have to understand there is an eco-system around you to support you as a federal employee – everyone from the people that you may work for, that may work for you, the contractors and or their products and services that support you as a fed – all of those folks are there to support the mission, and thus, your role in that mission.