If you want to be a linguist with the alphabet boys and you are younger, I can tell you for a fact that joining the military as a linguist could get you there. If you keep your nose clean (much less have kept your nose clean), find yourself a place in your work, and maybe get some networking from the older folks who don't clam up to you, then you can graft onto a contractor who will hire you, because the vast majority who enter the job stay for only one enlistment and go civilian afterward. Just get your TS, make a profile on ClearanceJobs, and the offers will come rolling in. That path will take several years though until you get to an entry-level position.
I would be more focused in technology, so perhaps pick up some books on acoustic phonetics, cryptography, and dialectology depending on any other useful languages you already know, can't stress the latter enough when that's pretty much most of the ground work. here are the languages that matter:
> Category I language (Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish)
> Category II language (German)
> Category III language (Belorussian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Persian, Polish, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Slovak, Tagalog [Filipino], Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese)
> Category IV language (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean)
t. former 35p (army linguist), feel free to ask questions