The Army’s cybersecurity and IT careers

Established in 1775, the Army is America’s oldest military branch. Back then, an estimated 27,000 soldiers filled the ranks of the Continental Army. Members fought British forces in the American Revolution.

Now, about 250 years later, more than 1 million active duty, reserve, and guard members serve in the Army. The Army’s mission includes deploying “modern manned and unmanned ground combat vehicles, aircraft, sustainment systems, and weapons” in order to “fight, and win decisively against any adversary, anytime and anywhere.” 

Highly trained soldiers with 21st-century cybersecurity and information technology skills support the Army’s worldwide mission. Continue reading to learn more about these Army careers.

Entry-level Army jobs in cyber and IT

The US military has dozens of IT careers, with every branch continuing to grow its technological arsenal. 

The Army has two sets of entry-level career fields that encompass cybersecurity and IT, and nine IT and cybersecurity occupations in total, according to Capt. Mia Figgs, a spokeswoman for the Army’s Recruiting Command Public Affairs Office.

“Many of these military occupational specialties require higher than average composite scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and high school/college transcripts,” Figgs said. 

Called the ASVAB for short, this test measures your verbal skills along with your math, science, technical, and spatial abilities. All enlisted military personnel must take this exam. There is no fee to take the ASVAB.

The Army uses Military Occupational Specialty codes — MOS for short — to identify and classify its military jobs. MOSs in the 17 series cover cybersecurity occupations, and 25 series MOSs reference IT professions. 

In order to enlist in the Army, you must meet certain qualifications. After completing 10 weeks of basic training, you’ll begin job-specific training. The Army calls this advanced individual training, or AIT. 

Army cybersecurity and IT job descriptions

Here’s a closer look at the Army’s jobs in cybersecurity and information technology. You can explore these military job options in more detail on the Army’s website.

Cyber operations specialist (17C)

In this role, you’ll learn computer system and networking skills, cyber intelligence and surveillance, and defending and offensive operational skills. You’ll apply your skills and training to tasks that include defending the Army’s satellite, navigation, and aviation systems against cyber threats. This role requires 45 weeks of training. 

Anyone who wants to work as a cyber operations specialist must score 60 or higher on the Army cyber test. This test was formerly known as the Information Communications Technology Literacy test, or ICTL.

Electronic warfare specialist (17E) 

Soldiers in this role plan and conduct electronic warfare operations. You’ll learn electronic and mechanical skills, tactical maneuvers, and technical procedures. You will also use electromagnetic and directed energy to disarm an enemy’s electronic systems. Soldiers in this role must complete nine weeks of additional training.

Information technology specialist (25B)

Army IT specialists operate and maintain military computer systems. You’ll learn about network administration and security and deal with sensitive information. You’ll also apply your skills and knowledge in programming and computer languages. To work in this career field, you’ll complete 20 weeks of training.

Cable systems installer/maintainer (25L)

Soldiers in this career are responsible for maintaining wired communications systems, equipment, and devices. Your responsibilities will include installing and repairing circuits and wiring, operating cable construction equipment, and testing these systems. You’ll complete eight weeks of advanced individual training.

Nodal network system operator/maintainer (25N)

In this role, you’ll install, operate, and perform field-level maintenance on electronic communications equipment. During 18 weeks of training, you’ll learn about radio network operations and how to troubleshoot and maintain electronic and communications systems. Your day-to-day work will include using high-speed electronic and network communication systems.

Multichannel transmission system operator/maintainer (25Q) 

Soldiers in this role install, operate, and repair radio and satellite transmission equipment. They also work with security devices and power generators. Over 15 weeks of training, you’ll also learn to set up transmitters, receivers, cable modems, and ultra-high frequency antennas.

Visual information equipment operator/maintainer (25R) 

In this role, soldiers support Army operations by filming, script editing, and recording military operations or news events. During 18 weeks of training, you’ll learn about audio and video equipment and production, along with writing and editing. You may also provide support for mission-critical video calls and conferencing.

Satellite communication system operator/maintainer (25S)

Soldiers in this role handle technical aspects of satellite equipment installation and operations. In 18 weeks of training, you’ll learn about satellites, circuits, and wiring. People with this job inspect, operate, and maintain mission-critical communications systems.

Signal support system specialist (25U)

During 16 weeks of training, you’ll learn about wiring and radio networks, and circuits. Soldiers with this job provide technical assistance for computer systems, local area networks, and generators that power the equipment. You will also work to detect and interrupt an enemy’s digital communication signals.

Conclusion

Modern Army life still includes rifles, cannons, and iconic vehicles, like the Humvee. But cyberspace is now a war zone too. Today’s Army needs soldiers who know how to set up and run computer systems, intercept malicious network traffic, stop hackers, and protect digital information.

And after your service is concluded, you may find that many desirable IT and cybersecurity jobs for veterans await. 

This article was reviewed by Dr. Michael J. Kirchner

michael kirchner, a white man with brown hair and a beard, smiles at the camera

Dr. Michael J. Kirchner is an assistant professor of organizational leadership at Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he teaches courses in leadership and human resource development. Dr. Kirchner also serves as the campus’ veteran resource center director. 

Previously, Kirchner oversaw the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Military and Veterans Resource Center, where he guided programming for the campus’ 1,500+ military-affiliated student population. Under his leadership (2013-2016), the campus built a nationally recognized “military-college-career” framework focusing on supporting student veteran transitions. 

Kirchner earned his Ph.D. in human resource development from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His research on career transitions and leadership development has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Human Resource Development Quarterly, Advances in Developing Human Resources, New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, and Industrial and Commercial Training. 

Kirchner is the founder and president of Time for Development LLC, where he provides consulting to organizations on military-friendly programming, human resource development strategy, and training design. He served for a year in Baghdad, Iraq, from 2004-2005 as part of the U.S. Army National Guard.

Kirchner is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network. 

https://www.zdnet.com/education/computers-tech/army-cyber-jobs/

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