American society is set up to promote recidivism. If you want to do meaningful work you've got very limited options on the "clean" path. I think Hawaii actually prohibits the consideration of criminal records for hiring. Everywhere else you're forced to wear your scarlet letter in full view. Small business might be your best shot. Your call on whether or not to fess up on your past. The chance of a background check varies by the sector the business is in.
Or, you can acknowledge reality and just go shop around for a plush job doing IT for the underground. I'm told they hire some of the best and brightest while offering very respectable compensation packages. e.g. medical, dental, 401K, etc.