National Security Agency


RF Design Engineer (43451119)
Location: Fort Meade, Maryland - United States
Posted: 10/17/2017

RF Design Engineer

Responsibilities The professionals at the National Security Agency (NSA) have one common goal: to protect our nation. The mission requires a strong offense and a steadfast defense. The offensive mission component collects, processes and disseminates intelligence information derived from foreign signals for intelligence and counterintelligence purposes. The defensive mission component prevents adversaries from gaining access to sensitive or classified national security information. The need to maintain our core RF Engineering competency is vital to providing the technical capabilities necessary to successfully execute NSA's mission. With the rapid evolution of RF communications, NSA requires a highly talented, diverse and technically focused workforce responsible for designing, developing and deploying systems ranging from short-term and small form-factor to long-term and large-scale; and many combinations in-between. Maintaining our competency requires world class engineers, researchers and developers who operate in teams in areas such as 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. Given the pace of advances in telecommunications environment and myriad of state and non-state adversaries, RF Engineers at the NSA develop the technologies and capabilities to maintain our 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. At the same time, they design communications systems that minimize the adversaries' ability to do the same against the U.S. and its allies. RF Engineers are hired into positions directly supporting a mission element or the Radio Frequency Development Program (RFDP). The RFDP is a three-year full-time 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 software-defined radio (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. - Lead new advances in RF engineering and push the leading edge of RF communications technologies: - Antenna design and beam-forming techniques - Modulation, demodulation and signal separation techniques - Low power, space and cooling environments (including embedded systems) - Telecommunication standards, protocols and topologies - Compression and other bandwidth optimization techniques - RF interference detection and mitigation approaches - Active RF techniques - Low probability of detection techniques - Service-oriented architectures 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, Visual Basic) - computer networking (e.g., communication protocols, distributed systems, Internet of Things, real-time systems, routing and switching) Qualifications Salary Range: $68,586 - $85,464 (Entry/Developmental) *The qualifications listed are the minimum acceptable to be considered for the position. 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. With a professional Engineering degree, entry is with a Bachelor's degree and no experience. With a degree in either (1) Physics or Astronomy from an accredited college or university or (2) a relevant professional technical field (e.g. chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, geology), entry is with a Bachelor's degree plus 1 year of relevant experience. 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 experience with antennas or test equipment. Salary Range: $79,334 - $105,663 (Full Performance) *The qualifications listed are the minimum acceptable to be considered for the position. 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. With a degree in professional 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 either (1) Physics or Astronomy from an accredited college or university or (2) a relevant professional technical field (e.g. chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, geology), 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. 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 experience with antennas or test equipment. Pay, Benefits, & Work Schedule On-the job training, Internal NSA courses, and external training will be made available based on the need and experience of the selectee. Monday - Friday, with basic 8hr/day work requirements between 0600 and 1800 (flexible). How To Apply - External To apply for this position, please click the 'Apply Now' button located at the top or bottom of this page. After completing the application and clicking the 'Submit Final' button, you will receive a confirmation email. Emails regarding your application status will be sent periodically. Please ensure your spam filters are configured to accept emails from noreply@nsa.gov. ***PLEASE NOTE: U.S. Citizenship is required for all applicants. Reasonable accommodations provided to applicants with disabilities during the application and hiring process where appropriate. 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. 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. Please note that you will be asked a series of questions and your responses will be used as part of the screening process of your application. Your responses will assist in determining your eligibility for the 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 the qualifications for the position will be contacted to begin employment processing. 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.

Additional Requirments / Information

Job Capacity:Employee (full-time)
Minimum Education Level:See Job Description
Visa Sponsorship: No
Related Industries:Other

The National Security Agency (NSA) is a world leader in signals intelligence and information assurance. We carry out some of the nation’s most important and sensitive intelligence activities to secure information superiority for America and its allies.


We have two primary missions. Our information assurance mission is the defense: it protects U.S. information by preventing foreign adversaries from gaining access to our information systems. Our signals intelligence mission is the offense: collecting foreign signals and producing intelligence to give U.S. policy makers and warfighters the decision advantage. NSA also enables network warfare operations to defeat terrorists and their organizations at home and abroad, consistent with U.S. laws and the protection of privacy and civil liberties.


As the nation’s top cryptologic organization, we employ the best and the brightest, who use their intelligence to solve some of the nation’s most difficult challenges. We are a world-class cyber center, the largest employer of mathematicians in the country, as well as a national leader in foreign language analysis and research.


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