IT in the Military

BaredorBaredor Member Posts: 99
I'm starting to consider a military career, especially given the rough standing for lower experience individuals like myself. My goal is to get into OCS, but despite the fact that I've been out of school for 3 years, all they seem to want to know about is GPA. I had a ~3.17, but they really want a 3.5 to shoo you straight in without enlisting first. I'm looking at the Navy, but if anyone has any first hand experience in any branch, I'd very much appreciate your advice.


  • johnnynodoughjohnnynodough Member Posts: 634
    I dont have any military experience (tried but I beat my body up to bad when I was a kid), but I can tell you that the military outsources bigtime to private citizen based business for IT work, I have tons of friends who are contracters for variuos branches of the military and perform their IT support. This could just be the tip of the iceburg though, perhaps they only outsource a few IT departments and perhaps just a percentage of them. If nothing else you get some money for more college and military looks good on a resume.

    Dont listen the recruiters regarding this, they will say anything to get you in the front door, but definetely pick some more brains from people who know the whole scope, or at least more than I.

    Good luck either way, still a commendable thing to do.

    Of course I am also basing my statements off the US miltitary, and you could be from England icon_lol.gif
    Go Hawks - 7 and 2

    2 games againts San Fran coming up, oh yeah baby, why even play? just put then in the win category and call it good :p
  • BaredorBaredor Member Posts: 99
    I'm from the US, and I'm definitely investigating the things they're telling me very closely. But thus far, the recruiter I've been talking to has been very straight forward with me (as far as I can tell of course). He's attempted to basically show me in writing all the things he's telling me, and that's somewaht reassuring, but you're definitely right about some of them. This isn't the first time I've considered the military and I have met guys who looked at you with dollar signs in their eyes.

    To sort things out, I have several friends are or were in the Army, Marines, and Air Force, although none in the Navy - which is where I'll be going. icon_confused.gif And I agree that there is tons of contracted outsourcing going on, however, getting in on it without a clearance or hordes of experience is proving to be nearly impossible. I send out 20+ resumes or applications a day and have yet to hear from a single defense contrator wanting to even interview me.

    Mostly, I'd just like to hear from someone who has done the military route and can tell me what to expect - whether or not there really is a role for a network admin working with MS products and such in the service. When I say I want to do IT, I don't want them to think I mean soldering radio equipment back together. More to talk about and investigate. Oh well... time to go run some more. =P
  • QUIX0TICQUIX0TIC Member Posts: 277
    Well... here is my question... are you planning to go to OCS or JROTC or are you going enlisted? Im assuming that you mentioned OCS... you have finished your BS/BA degree at a traditional college/Uni?

    Im ex-Navy but I was a Weapons Electonic Warfare Techinician. (EW2) I thought I was staying in a computer field but I was sorely mistaken. It does have a lot to do with computers but more radar equipment than anything else. The electronics trouble-shooting was cool but it was very modular so no soldering allowed.

    What do you plan to do in the Navy? What do you want to do? As enlisted... there are Data Technicians that are the "computer guys" in the Navy. Decent job bc they are usually the desktop support guys for shore bases. Ive a couple of friends who are higher ranked that are doing the networking too... pretty cool. But as an officer... they do not have those designations. You will have to go line-O and request to be put in that department but most likely... a line-O will go out to sea(I cant believe I mis-spelled sea) and be in charge of a dept.
    "To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation."
  • BaredorBaredor Member Posts: 99
    I have a 4 year degree in Business Administration, and so I'd obviously like to be an officer right off the bat. Of course, this is fiercly competitive, and my GPA was only around a 3.2. You can add factors like working full time, and volunteer activity in with that too( plus I've been out of school for 3 years and have several accomplishments since), but so far the Navy recruiter I've talked to seems to think it's GPA/major only.

    However, in the last couple days I've recieved several warnings about the IT/Navy combo and am now investigating the Air Force due to its technical superiority. But of course the Air Force is already WAY overstaffed... they have 4000 officers too many, so I believe my chance of getting to OTS straight away are nil. That leaves enlistment, which I am more fearful off, but if that's what it comes down to...

    Any Air Force guys out there that could give me some guidance, I would appreciate it. :)
  • jmc724jmc724 Member Posts: 415
    Im previous navy too, I left as an SK2 basically controlling supplies and thats where my interest went into IT. A part of my division was the DP/DS people who basically took care of all the data processing/specialists/IT on the ships. I would not advise on going into the Navy since you will have a likelihood of being on sea duty vs shore duty. I would consider something else.

    Recruiters would do anything for you to sign a piece of paper be well aware of this. Recruiters are like car salemen.

    If its not marked in stone its probably not true. Do more research or try other recruiters.

    The army is also hiring civilian contractors so I would apply there or simply look for any govt contractor jobs.
    What next?
  • QUIX0TICQUIX0TIC Member Posts: 277
    I would tend to agree with JMC regarding the civilian or contract jobs. But, those are hard to get into. Probably even harder than the Air Force. Personally, there would be no way in hell I would enlist... especially since you have a 4 yr degree. No way in hell. Why not get paid more, do less work, and be in charge of someone versus... humping stores from point a to point b... have people **** at you for various reasons... (dont get me wrong... as an Officer... people will **** at you but for less reasons.)

    Even the Army has computer or satellite training... I would focus on any high-tech field. Just dont stick to the computer field. Navy has Nuclear training... Army has satellite training... AirForce has satellite, aeronautics, network training... Marines... I dont know what training they have. LOL M-16 training icon_rolleyes.gif. Just dont enlist... you will regret that choice!

    And just take your time.. .unless you are running away from jail time or something... take your time and make sure you get everything from the recruiter that you want and have it in formal documented paperwork.
    "To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation."
  • reloadedreloaded Member Posts: 235
    As an Air Force network technician, I will tell you my experience. I do what is called "Tech Control," or Communications-Computer Systems Control. My workcenter includes the following technologies that I get to work with literally everyday: SONET, ATM, proprietary DoD WANs, bulk and line cryptography, Cisco routers and switches, multiplexers, and HF communications, among many others. It's a great job because you get to work with many industry technologies, while learning other types of networks you don't see on the market, and you get a lot of exposure to other career fields, including various LAN shops, information assurance, network security...all military controlled. Yes, there are many places where IT is contracted out, but there are many other IT jobs that are pure military and will be for quite some time. As far as becoming as officer goes, it seems that the Air Force is looking for technical and engineering degrees these days, so it definately helps if you have some type of technical area of study. Other advantages of military IT include experience (a HUGE plus), security clearance (another HUGE plus), the personal networking so you can get a good job on the outside, and TONS of leadership opportunities. I get out in a few years and I plan to have several degrees under my belt and be working at a good company like Lockheed Martin or something of that nature. Any other questions, you can hit me up with a PM. Hope this helps.
  • jmc724jmc724 Member Posts: 415
    "I get out in a few years and I plan to have several degrees under my belt and be working at a good company like Lockheed Martin or something of that nature..."

    I will be starting to work Tuesday as a Systems Admin(exchange besides other duties) for Lockheed in Webster, TX.
    What next?
  • BaredorBaredor Member Posts: 99
    Thanks all for the replies guys. Over the weekend I spoke to a guy I went to school with who is now an officer, and got some great advice from him. Also planning to talk to some other contacts a friend has in the AF. OTS is looking to be the route I want to go, should I decide to do this. Just hoping I'll be able to get in. Reloaded, I'll probably be taking you up on that and sending you a PM soon regarding ways to stand out in the selection crowd.
  • QUIX0TICQUIX0TIC Member Posts: 277
    That definitely sounds like the way to go. Shi-ot... I wish I joined the Air Force!!! icon_cry.gif
    "To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation."
  • Ten9t6Ten9t6 Member Posts: 691
    Just join the Army for a couple of years.....forget the IT world....Buff some halls, cut some grass, do lots of pushups, jump out of planes(night, mass tac, combat equipment, zero vis, winds only 3 knots..yeah sure they are icon_wink.gif ), go on long ruck marches, run until you puke, then run some more, freeze your butt off in the field, burn up in the field, mess with cool weapons, give your buddies IVs, play push ball, eat MREs, spend a long time walking until you get another MRE, eat motrin.....did I mention run?

    I actually miss all of that sometimes. :D From what I have seen, if you want to go technical in the military, I would go Air Force. Those guys actually got extra money when they had to stay with us in the Army. ....for sub-standard living....what kind of crap is that? icon_wink.gif:D

    But, like others have said....anything your recruiter tells you...look it up and get it in writing. Not only that, keep a copy with you during your training. That saved me twice. They thought a dumb private would not keep copies......well I did. icon_wink.gif


    A+, Network+, Linux+, Security+, MCSE+I, MCSE:Security, MCDBA, CCNP, CCDP, CCSP, CCVP, CCIE Written (R/S, Voice),INFOSEC, JNCIA (M and FWV), JNCIS (M and FWV), ENA, C|EH, ACA, ACS, ACE, CTP, CISSP, SSCP, MCIWD, CIWSA
  • holysheetmanholysheetman Member Posts: 113 ■■■□□□□□□□
    to Baredor,

    Ok, basically, I am a weapons specialist dude in the AF, I work in the training division as a Workgroup Manager (now called a Client Service Administrator (CSA), don't ask!) dealing with all printers, computers, fax machines, blah blah etc. The overall just is, join the Air Force. I am enlisted, but I still am able to take certifications and have my GI Bill reimburse me for all of it (Provided you stay in at least 2 years) The bill also reimburses you for ALL training classes leading up to a certification exam as well. Especially if you are taking that CCIE Lab @ $1250 a pop, quite pricey, well, the GI Bill will reimburse you, whether or not you pass or fail, doesn't matter. It is on a time limit though, from the first time you send in your particular form for reimbursement, your 10 year timer starts. After 10 years it cuts off. It was given a boost in the amount of money you get per month for full-time/part-time schooling also well above $1,000 per month for a full-time student (all that are interested in knowing the amount).

    I just got my Network+ ceritification 2 weeks ago and now starting Cisco's IT Essentials I class for 2 weeks (Air Force provided for free), and at the end of which, I, along with all the other class members, get a test voucher for well over 50% off the A+ exams. Kind of entry level, I know, but hey, it is all free, more or less, for me or any other military GI Bill enabled soldier :D

    Feel free to contact me anytime PM or email if you have any AF-related questions. Take it easy.

    I've just enrolled for the to get through vetting and MOD checks yet. But they are crying out for IT technicians all the time. Hoping to work in IT Communications..........I know.........I'm a girl!! But my qualifications certainly helped me get through some of the early stages of enrollement.

    Did I mention you have to run 4 miles with 25kg on your back? icon_eek.gif
    If you don't know 24 then you don't know Jack!
  • wildfirewildfire Member Posts: 654
    Are you joining the royal signals?
    Looking for CCIE lab study partnerts, in the UK or Online.
    Yes hopefully. But as I said before I have to go through the whole vetting policy and MOD checks and Mental aptitude tests and fitness tests!!! icon_eek.gif

    I don't know how long they take!

    Then after that I might actually get to see some!! icon_lol.gif
    If you don't know 24 then you don't know Jack!
  • Ten9t6Ten9t6 Member Posts: 691
    That's cool...good luck to you.

    I got to earn my British Jump wings before I got out of the Army. It was almost the last jump of my life... icon_wink.gif ..But, that is another story.


    A+, Network+, Linux+, Security+, MCSE+I, MCSE:Security, MCDBA, CCNP, CCDP, CCSP, CCVP, CCIE Written (R/S, Voice),INFOSEC, JNCIA (M and FWV), JNCIS (M and FWV), ENA, C|EH, ACA, ACS, ACE, CTP, CISSP, SSCP, MCIWD, CIWSA
    Thanks Kenny. :D
    If you don't know 24 then you don't know Jack!
  • BaredorBaredor Member Posts: 99
    Alright, I'm going to be applying to US Air Force OTS. Does anyone have a recommendation on a good book to study for the AFOQT?
  • holysheetmanholysheetman Member Posts: 113 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm about to get out of the AF and you are going in, interesting. How is the job market in the civilian world for IT? I couldn't really tell you a specific book but I would say know your flight controls, even though you may not want to be a pilot you still have to know these. My buddy took the AFOQT and now has applied for a special program where the AF pays for him to go to school and finish it, then at the end of which he'll get his commission as an officer. Search online for a good one, the test wasn't too hard he told me just maybe a step ahead of the ASVAB (which is the basic test you take to get in the military, period)

    Hope that helps.

  • QUIX0TICQUIX0TIC Member Posts: 277
    Baredor wrote:
    Alright, I'm going to be applying to US Air Force OTS. Does anyone have a recommendation on a good book to study for the AFOQT?

    There has to be a braindump site somewhere... icon_wink.gif
    "To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation."
  • mikey_bmikey_b Member Posts: 188
    Being Canadian, I found it odd when the U.S. Marine Corps decided to send me an e-mail about recruitment. I spoke with the recruiter who e-mailed and told him that while I appreciate the gesture, I'm a Canuck and probably not elligable for work. He said that they sorely lack skilled IT professionals in the field and they have a dire need to get IT folks in and get them trained. The situation was their on-shore IT was doing just fine, it was the folks in the battlefield who were dealing with equipment they couldn't fix or move or deploy. They needed to get techs trained and deployed to work at mobile bases. Work involved a lot of networking via satelite and wireless, setting up communications towers, deploying small networks, supporting the systems and apps, etc. Sounded like good work. Apparently the Marines have an expressway for getting citizenship for Canadians to go work for them. Included a heathly bonus and training, decent pay, cool guns, and lots of travel. If I was still single, I might already be a 'Murican, but I was somewhat tied down at the time and ended up staying. If I didn't have those ties, I'd probably be several years into my service by now.
    Mikey B.

    Current: A+, N+, CST, CNST, MCSA 2003
    WIP: MCSE 2003
    The Armed forces are crying out for technicians. It's definately worth thinking about. I just had all my medicals done today and then have to wait back from MOD and hope I got the all clear. Lots of vetting and medical checks though and I have to get through combat training and basic training.

    I like a challenge and if it will advance me in my I.T. career..why not?!! :D

    I did'nt say I was still studying for C.E.H. to them , I think I would of got some strange looks icon_eek.gif
    If you don't know 24 then you don't know Jack!
  • unknown1234unknown1234 Member Posts: 29 ■□□□□□□□□□
    The military is not a good route in the IT field unless you enter as an enlisted person. I'm an E5 in the Navy (IT) and have had great experience but I was fortune to go to a command where all the senior personnel left and I was able to step up. As an officer in the military you will sit behind a desk and all your enlisted personnel will do all the fun stuff.
  • cliftondcliftond Inactive Imported Users Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'm retired Navy(enlisted) and if you go in as a Officer you will not work in one field they move you from job to job to learn everything, like engineering or the radar room, you may not ever work in the computer room.

    Do not let the recruter snow ball you he's filling a qouta, make sure you asked pointed questions, if you need to ask me question about just give me a hollar.
    What is best in life? To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.
  • G_MacG_Mac Member Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Same goes for me, I'm a retired Navy Chief (enlisted). Here are a few things I can tell you, aside from all the great advice the others have already posted;

    - Officers are managers not technicians (and too many are bad at either). (The only exceptions is a Warrant Officer, but you have to be enlisted for quite a while before you can apply to be one)
    - If you like the hands-on work, don't go Officer
    - If you prefer reports and paperwork, go to OCS
    - Degrees are not just for Officers anymore. These days you will find more and more E5's and 6's with Bachelor degrees. It will soon be a requirement to have at least an Associate's to make E7, and more to go higher.
    - Recruiters will tell you ANYTHING to fill a quota. Even stuff in writing is etched in jello. Do your home work, talk to those who have nothing to gain from your enlistment (like you are here), know what you want when you walk in.

    Finally, don't just keep your vision set on basic corporate-type IT work. All the services have some really advanced SATCOM work involving advanced global MILSPEC secure WAN setups, using portable dishes, microwave transmitters, crypto, ect. The requirements for top-notch security don't get any more critical!

    Buzz me if you (or anyone else) need more info...

    Semper Gumby
    Haze grey and underway.....
  • turlockaviatorturlockaviator Member Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I spent 10+ years on Active Duty in the US Navy as a Data Systems Technician\Fire Control Technician. Now I'm an IT in the Naval Reserves.

    In my civilian life, I am a Network Engineer with local county government.

    Just some advice...with some exception, most of our military branches outsource the "IT" type work these days. Civilian contractors handle most of it. This has been my experience with all branches of the services. While there is some component of this work done by Active Duty members, civilian contractors hold the lion share of the responsibility.

    My experience in the Navy has been such that it's a stepping stone to bigger and better things. See the world, make ok money, and start a hell of a resume that will take you further.

    Good luck with your plans...
    Chris Thompson
    Systems Engineer
    Stanislaus County
  • drew PDdrew PD Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
    There's been some pretty good advice given, but if you haven't made any decisions yet, I can offer some more.

    I was an IT in the navy for 5 years. (That was actually my job title - Information Systems Technician). I got out 4 years ago and have been working in the IT field since. My first command was in Japan where I was a junior network admin. I worked on a secret classified network with about 120 nodes, and we also installed fiber optic junction boxes at piers. I was there for about 2 years, and then I transferred to a ship in San Diego where I was the senior system administrator for 2 top secret Unix systems, as well as administering a phone switch with a satellite trunk, and the department supervisor. (Talk about stress)

    If you want to work on the technical side of things, go enlisted. With your degree you will be able to join as an E-3, thereby skipping ranks E-1 and E-2. If you know a lot about computer and wireless communications, you might be able to graduate your school in the top 3 of your class (out of roughly 40), and be meritorously promoted to E-4 right out of school, which I was. That will put you at E-4 with barely 5 months in. The average E-4 in the navy is probably around 1 1/2 years.

    There is also an enlistment bonus for IT's entering the navy somewhere around 7-10,000 dollars.

    There are a handful of really good networking and security schools that you can get sent to for training, and after completing them, you will be eligible for re-enlishtment bonuses that can go as high as $45,000.

    Finally, although the military does a great degree of outsourcing, if you are the head network administrator at your command, whatever is done to your network goes through you. You will be trained on any changes made, and will still be responsible for maintaining and administering everything. You will definately learn a great deal and as has already been mentioned, the entry level experience looks great on a resume.
  • whistlerwhistler Member Posts: 108
    This is a oldie(2005). I do wonder what decision the OP made.
  • drew PDdrew PD Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
    whistler wrote:
    This is a oldie(2005). I do wonder what decision the OP made.

    lol oops I didn't even notice it was that old.
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