If you’re not ready to ‘invent the internet,’ don’t look for a job at DARPA

DARPA gremlin drone fleet artist concept
DARPA
If you’re thinking it could be a big notch on your career belt to work at DARPA, the U.S. military’s advanced technology and innovation group, you’re right, if you can score a position. But don’t think that if you do get a job there, you can settle in for a lengthy, secure career, because that is not going to happen, according to CNN Money.

DARPA is short for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. All employees have an “expiration date” on their ID badges. With 220 employees in six offices, the agency has a 25-percent annual turnover. Most people stay no longer than four or five years.

DARPA has had roles in developing some significant technologies, including the computer mouse, early versions of GPS and of Apple’s Siri, parts of the Hubble Space Telescope, and high altitude in-flight refueling. So DARPA takes on big projects. And it expects results. The rapid job turnover policy means a steady influx of people who are up on current technologies.

DARPA was formed after the Soviet Union beat the United States to the Moon in 1958. It’s therefore appropriate that the agency was engaging in “moon shots” before Google started using the term to stand for tough projects that could take 10 years or more. But DARPA doesn’t want to wait for 10 years for you to perfect your assignment, you won’t be around that long.

The assignments are all big, and normally deemed impossible. And that’s why the agency doesn’t keep employees for a long time — if they stick around and have an institutional history of failure, they’re more likely to dismiss new ideas as impossible. And there are failures. Failure is an option because DARPA is about innovation, which isn’t just moving the rock down the road a few feet.

DARPA program manager Phillip Alvelda said, “If half the people don’t respond to a publicly announced challenge saying it’s impossible, we haven’t set the bar high enough.”

“No idea is too crazy. The reaction is never, ‘That’s impossible.’ We say, ‘How would you do that? How would you get there? Write down the steps,'” said DARPA’s deputy director of the biological technologies office Barry Pallota.

To work at DARPA you have to want to create something big and it has to work. DARPA program manager Matt Hepburn summed it up: “If you don’t invent the internet, you get a B.”

So if you still quiver in anticipation of the chance to work at DARPA, go for it. Just get ready for your own personal “best-used-by” date.

Gaming

Still trying to unlock your main in 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Try these tips

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is Nintendo’s biggest entry in the series to date with over 70 characters to unlock, but the process can feel tiresome. Here are our tips to unlock your roster as quickly as possible.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Gaming

‘The Walking Dead: The Final Season’ returns with Episode 3 next month

Skybound Games revealed the release date for Episode 3: Broken Toys of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead: The Final Season. Clementine's story will be getting the ending that it deserves after all.
Movies & TV

Ice meets fire in HBO's latest 'Game of Thrones' season 8 teaser

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.
Giveaways

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.
Deals

Take to the skies with these 5 drones on sale for under $50

On the hunt for some cool tech for under $50? We've rounded up 5 drones under $50 that you can still get before Christmas. These models are great for kids, adults, and anyone just getting started with drones.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Emerging Tech

This unusual nature-inspired robot is equally at home on land or in the water

This intriguing, nature-inspired robot may look unusual, but it's impressively capable of moving on both land and water without problem. Heck, it can even travel on ice if necessary.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.