Radio Frequency (RF) Design Engineer – Entry to Expert Level (N1204012), Fort Meade, MD

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Fort George G. Meade Complex, MD
Pay Plan: GG, Grade: 07/1 to 15/10
Open: 2023-03-09, Close: 2023-06-04

Are you someone interested in all things RF? Is your idea of a good time building out a better ham radio? Do you enjoy logical analysis of complex tasks? If so, RF Engineering, a core component capability development activity within NSA, may be for you! NSA’s highly technical RF workforce keeps pace with RF advances and enables NSA to address threats to our Nation and our Allies by supporting worldwide Signals Intelligence requirements of our military commanders and national policymakers.

The NSA is seeking talented colleagues to join world class team of analysts, engineers, researchers and developers who work on projects using antenna and receiver design, RF signals analysis, end-to-end system design, and emitter location and direction finding techniques in order to design, develop and deploy advanced survey and collection capabilities to propel our mission.

At NSA, RF Engineers develop the technologies, communications and capabilities to maintain our global advantage in both information gathering and national defense. RF Engineers acquire target signals, condition them for follow-on processing and deliver end-to-end solutions for survey, collection and emitter location and follow on analysis. Use your unique experience and expertise to protect national security interests!

RF Engineers can be directly hired to support a mission organization or into the Radio Frequency Development Program (RFDP). The RFDP is a three-year full-time paid development program for junior RF engineers to develop and expand skills while making meaningful contributions to NSA’s mission. This talented group will have the opportunity to take part in customized mentoring, professional development and world-wide travel while sampling a breadth of RF engineering activities.

As an RF Engineer, your responsibilities can include:

– Design, build, test and deploy end-to-end RF systems, from the antenna through follow-on processors.
– Design, build, test and deploy communications systems using commercial off the shelf (COTS)/government off the shelf (GOTS) radios, software-defined radios (SDR) and SDR frameworks, as well as field programmable gate array (FPGA) technologies.
– Design, develop, construct, test and maintain hardware and software processing components; typically subsystems of communication, collection, processing or analysis systems.
– Conduct RF site surveys and include results in the design and performance assessments of RF systems.
– Work with and/or lead project teams to satisfy operational requirements for RF systems.
– Analyze results of RF collection in support of national mission requirements
– Lead new advances in RF engineering and push the leading edge of RF communications technologies:
– Antenna theory, design, and fabrication techniques with particular focus on beam-forming technologies – Modulation (BPSK, QPSK, spread spectrum, etc.), demodulation and signal separation techniques
– Low power, space and cooling environments (including embedded systems)
– Commercial telecommunication standards, protocols and topologies
– Compression and other bandwidth optimization techniques
– RF interference detection and mitigation approaches
– Active RF techniques
– Low probability intercept (LPI) and low probability of detection (LPD) techniques
– Service-oriented architectures

Job Summary
As an Engineering and Physical Science professional, you will use your skills to create the systems and tools that will be used to enhance the operation of intelligence. You will advise, administer and perform scientific projects, such as planning, designing, and constructing specialized equipment, and ensuring adherence to sound engineering and scientific standards and principles. The NSA offers multiple areas of focus for facilities engineers, including computer, architectural, electrical, mechanical, and structural. In addition, we are seeking skills that include computer design, microelectronics, radio frequency design, and systems engineering. Apply your science and engineering skills to protect the nation.

The qualifications listed are the minimum acceptable to be considered for the position.

Degree must be in Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, or a relevant professional technical field.

For all of the above degrees, if program is not ABET EAC accredited, it must include specified coursework.*

*Specified coursework includes courses in differential and integral calculus and 5 of the following 18 areas: (a) statics or dynamics, (b) strength of materials/stress-strain relationships, (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics, (d) thermodynamics, (e) electromagnetic fields, (f) nature and properties of materials/relating particle and aggregate structure to properties, (g) solid state electronics, (h) microprocessor applications, (i), computer systems, (j) signal processing, (k) digital design, (l) systems and control theory, (m) circuits or generalized circuits, (n) communication systems, (o) power systems, (p) computer networks, (q) software development, (r) Any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, or soil mechanics.

Relevant experience must be in the design and engineering of communication systems and/or radio frequency (RF) systems, and/or experience with test equipment.

With a degree in Engineering, entry is with a Bachelor’s degree and no experience. With a degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, or a relevant professional technical field, entry is with a Bachelor’s degree plus 1 year of relevant experience.

With a degree in Engineering, entry is with a Bachelor’s degree plus 3 years of relevant experience, or a Master’s degree plus 1 year of relevant experience, or a Doctoral degree and no experience. With a degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, or a relevant professional technical field, entry is with a Bachelor’s degree plus 3 years of relevant experience, or a Master’s or Doctoral degree plus 1 year of relevant experience.

Entry is with a Bachelor’s degree plus 7 years of relevant experience, or a Master’s degree plus 5 years of relevant experience, or a Doctoral degree plus 3 years of relevant experience.

Entry is with a Bachelor’s degree plus 10 years of relevant experience, or a Master’s degree plus 8 years of relevant experience, or a Doctoral degree plus 6 years of relevant experience.

The ideal candidate is someone with excellent problem-solving, communication, and interpersonal skills who is able to:

– Work equally well independently and in a team environment
– Effectively address multiple concurrent projects
– Synthesize information to solve complex problems
– Apply knowledge of communications theory to RF engineering problems
– Develop, diagnose, and operate survey and collection systems
– Identify customer needs and validate system design
– Operate in a fast-paced environment Knowledge and experience in one or more of the following is desired:
– Applying principles, methods, analysis, and applications of radio frequency theory such as radio wave propagation, antenna theory, antenna usage
– Applying principles, methods, and applications of communication theory such as signal processing, decision theory, estimation theory and modulation-demodulation
– Applying concepts, theories, and methods for designing, analyzing, testing, and integrating electrical and communications systems; includes aspects of energy conversion, electrical power generation, and energy transmission, control, distribution, or use
– Applying principles of math, physics, electronics theory, electrical network theory, and control systems to the design, fabrication, and testing of devices that are designed to operate in the radio frequency spectrum
– Hardware design; includes analog (A/D, amplifiers, power supplies, switches), board-level (board layout, circuit analysis, firmware), chip technologies (ASIC, CMOS, VHDL, VLSI), and digital (control logic, control systems, DSP, serial communications)
– Programming (e.g., Assembly Language, C, C++, Fortran, JAVA, Matlab, Python, Ruby, Shell Script, Turbo C, VHDL, System Verilog, Visual Basic)
– Computer networking (e.g., communication protocols, distributed systems, Internet of Things, real-time systems, routing and switching)
– Lab equipment (e.g. spectrum analyzers, oscilloscopes, network analyzers, etc.)
– Amateur or HAM Radio clubs
– Open-source Wi-Fi tools

Pay, Benefits, & Work Schedule
Salary offers are based on candidates’ education level and years of experience relevant to the position and also take into account information provided by the hiring manager/organization regarding the work level for the position. Salary ranges vary by location and work level.

This position is hiring for Maryland.

Salary Range: $77,745 – $183,500 (Entry/Developmental, Full Performance, Senior, Expert).

On-the job training, Internal NSA courses, and external training will be made available based on the need and experience of the selectee.

Typical work schedule is Monday – Friday, with basic 8hr/day work requirements between 0600 and 1800 (flexible).

How to apply
U.S. Citizenship is required for all applicants. NSA is an equal opportunity employer and abides by applicable employment laws and regulations. All applicants and employees are subject to random drug testing in accordance with Executive Order 12564. Employment is contingent upon successful completion of a security background investigation and polygraph.

Due to time sensitive communications regarding your application, please ensure your spam filters are configured to accept email from Please review the job posting thoroughly to ensure you meet the described qualifications and are aware of all associated requirements. To apply for this position, please click the ‘Apply’ button located at the top right of this posting. After completing the application for the first time, or reviewing previously entered information, and clicking the ‘Submit’ button, you will receive a confirmation email. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible, as job postings could close earlier than the closing date due to sufficient number of applicants, or the position is no longer available. You may be asked a series of questions depending on the position you apply for. Your responses will be used as part of the application screening process and will assist in determining your eligibility for the position. Be sure to showcase within your resume those experiences relevant to this position. Failure to provide the required information or providing inaccurate information will result in your application not being considered for this position. Only those applicants who meet all position qualifications, may be contacted to begin employment processing. Please remain diligent in monitoring email and your SPAM folder. Reasonable accommodations may be provided to applicants with disabilities during the application and hiring process where appropriate. Please visit our Diversity link for more information.

This position is a Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS) position in the Excepted Service under 10 U.S.C. 1601. DoD Components with DCIPS positions apply Veterans’ Preference to eligible candidates as defined by Section 2108 of Title 5 USC, in accordance with the procedures provided in DoD Instruction 1400.25, Volume 2005, DCIPS Employment and Placement. If you are a veteran claiming veterans’ preference, as defined by Section 2108 of Title 5 U.S.C., you may be asked to submit documents verifying your eligibility.

DCIPS Disclaimer
The National Security Agency (NSA) is part of the DoD Intelligence Community Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS). All positions in the NSA are in the Excepted Services under 10 United States Codes (USC) 1601 appointment authority.

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