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Old 10-13-2009, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Mountain View, CA
1,050 posts, read 1,873,221 times
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I don't know the details of Government service, but I thought I'd comment a bit on your upcoming job .

I started in June as a Contracts Administrator with GDIT (a defense contractor) - very similar to what you will do, but from the industry side. Let me first say, I think it is a good field. It's a shortage field too - so your prospects should be good in the future if it's a field you decide to stick with. It sounds boring (managing federal contracts? zzzz!) but I find in reality it is highly varied and quite engaging work. It also in my view lends itself to good quality of life - with the exception of the September end of FY crunch time (and even then i didn't really have to pull much OT).

My main advice would be, stay on top of things. If you get behind, it's easy to get buried, because the new stuff doesn't stop coming in! But if you work efficiently and are conscientious, things will go well.

As far as relocating... the feds do have Contracts shops all around the country. With that being said, it is my view that the VAST majority of these jobs, particularly on the industry side, tend to be in the DC Metro area. That's not to say you can't find one elsewhere - but it is something to keep in mind. Federal Contracts is a field that's tied to the Government, and as such, DC is its epicenter. If you are dead set against staying in DC, a field that is less tied to the federal sector may be something you want to aim for down the road.

In any case, congrats on the job and good luck to you in the future!
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Old 07-15-2010, 12:17 PM
 
1,578 posts, read 2,390,523 times
Reputation: 1400
I know this is a revived thread, and I want to say thanks for the information everyone gave. However, after working nine months in this job position, I know that contracts/procurement is NOT the job for me. From my personal experience, the position of Contract Specialist seems to be a fancy administrative position. Even my contracting officer mentions that the job is a "paper-pushing" position. No offense to those who work in administrative positions, but I know that I'm more personally suited for jobs that involve numbers and intense mathematical analysis. And I haven't really heard anyone directly say that I could do the positions I actually want to do with procurement experience.

From those who have the knowledge, would a year plus in contracting/acquisition/procurement do for getting hired in positions like budget analyst, financial analyst, consulting, accounting, or a related field? I have done some price and cost analysis, but that hasn't been the primary job function. And considering that I don't really want to stay in DC for long, what would be the proper step to take with getting jobs I listed in the private sector?

And as a secondary question, I see a lot of IT/computer jobs that require C++, Java, Web 2.0, Oracle, and related experience. I do have an interest in computers and programming, but never really went for a Comp Sci major (which I now regret). Could the experience be gained with a few college classes, or would I have to go back to college and get a Comp Sci/Comp Engineering degree?
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Old 07-15-2010, 12:32 PM
 
105 posts, read 222,668 times
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Congrats on the job! It's a relief in this economy.

I'm also in the FCIP program and working for the Fed Govt (DoD, Army) and have to say it's pretty good so far. I know my agency very supportive of continuing education, for masters and Army specific type work.

I've been in the program for a year and have no qualms about it besides the transition from NSPS to GS. As a FCIP you get royally screwed.

I'd be curious to find out what you where hired as (GS likely?).

Did you get a clearnace for you job? That can be a real nice addition to your resumeif you decide to go private sector.

Any other young fed workers on the forum?
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Old 07-15-2010, 01:10 PM
 
1,578 posts, read 2,390,523 times
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Glad to hear you're enjoying your job. I was hired as a GS-7, and I didn't need a clearance for the job I'm in. A lot of jobs that interest me and are more relevant to my career goals (program analyst, budget analyst, etc.) seems to have dozens of GS-9 and above openings, but few for GS-7. I want to know if a year as a contract specialist would help me to earn the kind of jobs I'm seeking out and that are more relevant to want I want to do for a career, as stated in my recent post.
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Old 07-15-2010, 03:10 PM
 
5,722 posts, read 5,761,812 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Fairfaxian View Post
Glad to hear you're enjoying your job. I was hired as a GS-7, and I didn't need a clearance for the job I'm in. A lot of jobs that interest me and are more relevant to my career goals (program analyst, budget analyst, etc.) seems to have dozens of GS-9 and above openings, but few for GS-7. I want to know if a year as a contract specialist would help me to earn the kind of jobs I'm seeking out and that are more relevant to want I want to do for a career, as stated in my recent post.

I work as a financial analyst in a Comptroller position in the federal government. I doubt that your year as a contract specialist would even get you on the cert for one of our jobs. You just probably wouldn't be able to hit the keywords in your experience. You would need to find a mentor in one of your desired fields and get them to help you work your resume through the system.

I work right down the hall from out contracts area and deal with them on a daily basis. It is full of young, fresh-out-of-college kids doing entry level contract work. It is a grueling job and the kids don't stick around long. Some of them do and it takes years to become an excellent contract specialist. It is very good work if you can stick it out and move up. I think it is one of the hardest jobs in the government (at least in the higher levels). If you have a math or business degree and great with numbers you can try getting into the cost estimating groups (I also work down the hall from them!!).
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:21 PM
 
3,166 posts, read 4,225,807 times
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Wow, how interesting because my son will start in the same position on Monday. The positions aren't all that easy to get since they have a required GPA, security clearance, etc. I am less than thrilled that he's going with the government but it's not a bad position for recent college graduate and guarantees a rise to GS11 after two years. My hope is that he won't get ''stuck'' in the government. He's just not the type for long term government work. He hopes to save some money and then go to Law school for contract law. Working as a contract specialist may help him to decide if he really wants to continue in contract work in law school. He's very social, very outgoing, has a bazillion friends, so I seriously doubt that he will want to do contract work or stay in government work but he has some time to figure that out. In the meantime, he'll make enough money to continue to live in his townhouse with his friends, golf, go to restaurants and bars, shoot skeet, do his charity work, continue to go out with gf and friends. He's hoping to work so that he has every other Friday off, like his gf who also works in the same program at a different agency. All and all, it's a pretty good deal for a few years.

Young people in the government seem to be a wide range of types. You shouldn't have a problem finding friends like yourself.

Those who remain in the government long term seem to be something of a strange lot. The vast majority are introverts who do not have the best of social skills. Many would never be hired in the real world nor could they function in the real world in a competitive job environment. The government is a good place for many people who lack social skills, are not adventurous, not risk takers, and are comfortable with the job security that is offered by the government. It's virtually impossible to be fired from a government job. If job security is of utmost importance, the government is your best bet long term. Short term, it's a good place to gain experience and make decent money.
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:24 PM
 
3,166 posts, read 4,225,807 times
Reputation: 1227
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Fairfaxian View Post
Glad to hear you're enjoying your job. I was hired as a GS-7, and I didn't need a clearance for the job I'm in. A lot of jobs that interest me and are more relevant to my career goals (program analyst, budget analyst, etc.) seems to have dozens of GS-9 and above openings, but few for GS-7. I want to know if a year as a contract specialist would help me to earn the kind of jobs I'm seeking out and that are more relevant to want I want to do for a career, as stated in my recent post.
Aren't you in the program where you get a GS-9 in one year and a GS-11 after two years?

If you don't want to be in contract work, why not switch to an analyst job at the same level?
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:27 PM
 
3,166 posts, read 4,225,807 times
Reputation: 1227
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
I work as a financial analyst in a Comptroller position in the federal government. I doubt that your year as a contract specialist would even get you on the cert for one of our jobs. You just probably wouldn't be able to hit the keywords in your experience. You would need to find a mentor in one of your desired fields and get them to help you work your resume through the system.

I work right down the hall from out contracts area and deal with them on a daily basis. It is full of young, fresh-out-of-college kids doing entry level contract work. It is a grueling job and the kids don't stick around long. Some of them do and it takes years to become an excellent contract specialist. It is very good work if you can stick it out and move up. I think it is one of the hardest jobs in the government (at least in the higher levels). If you have a math or business degree and great with numbers you can try getting into the cost estimating groups (I also work down the hall from them!!).
My son has all those things, smart, business degree, good at math, etc. I am VERY glad to hear that those kids don't stick around long! Where do they go? Right now he wants to go to Law school. Where else do the contract kids go? He has a clearance and will be a GS-11 in two years under the program he's in.

Thanks!
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:32 PM
 
3,166 posts, read 4,225,807 times
Reputation: 1227
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcgeller View Post
Congrats on the job! It's a relief in this economy.

I'm also in the FCIP program and working for the Fed Govt (DoD, Army) and have to say it's pretty good so far. I know my agency very supportive of continuing education, for masters and Army specific type work.

I've been in the program for a year and have no qualms about it besides the transition from NSPS to GS. As a FCIP you get royally screwed.

I'd be curious to find out what you where hired as (GS likely?).

Did you get a clearnace for you job? That can be a real nice addition to your resumeif you decide to go private sector.

Any other young fed workers on the forum?
What is FCIP and why are you not a GS? My son will begin Monday with the Army as a GS-7,moving to a GS-9 after one year and a GS-11 after two years. Why do FCIP people get screwed? Son's gf is under that program with Navy. She moves around, my son does not. Both of their jobs require clearances. Send me a PM if that's better for you.
Thanks!
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:24 AM
 
5,722 posts, read 5,761,812 times
Reputation: 2337
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denton56 View Post
My son has all those things, smart, business degree, good at math, etc. I am VERY glad to hear that those kids don't stick around long! Where do they go? Right now he wants to go to Law school. Where else do the contract kids go? He has a clearance and will be a GS-11 in two years under the program he's in.

Thanks!
I have no idea where they go. They just go. They usually find other government jobs in a field they are more suited to. I rarely see anyone leave. Right now, government jobs are just much better, overall, than at least, defense contractor jobs. The contract specialist job is pretty detail oriented, fast-paced, and stressful. I've been impressed with about 90% of the kids that are in this program. Then there are duds. Blech, I hate dealing with them. Fortunately, they are the minority.

Quote:
Those who remain in the government long term seem to be something of a strange lot. The vast majority are introverts who do not have the best of social skills. Many would never be hired in the real world nor could they function in the real world in a competitive job environment. The government is a good place for many people who lack social skills, are not adventurous, not risk takers, and are comfortable with the job security that is offered by the government. It's virtually impossible to be fired from a government job. If job security is of utmost importance, the government is your best bet long term. Short term, it's a good place to gain experience and make decent money.
I wanted to comment on this.

I've been in the government for 2.5 years now. Prior to that, I worked for about 18 years as a defense contractor. I'm not overly seeing what you've stated. Sure, we have a few "lifers" that fit the description, but they are not the norm and most of them seem to be on their way out these days. The younger crowd, who've been around, seem to be much more dynamic (and by younger, I generally mean under 45).

What I like about being in the government and one of the main reasons I made the switch is that I got tired of being a "shadow" and not having a voice. I wanted to actually make some decisions, put my name on it, and have some input to change processes that I thought were done stupidly. So far, in my 2.5 years I have not been disappointed. I love have more control and responsibility in the programs I work on even though I don't get paid more. How twisted is that?
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