Military Communications Analyst
Military communications analysts work in every branch of the armed forces to maintain, test, design and evaluate communication systems, such as data networks and department intranet systems. They work in a capacity that is similar to that of data communications analysts, their civilian counterparts. Other tasks for this position may include analyzing radio or satellite communications, operating communications equipment, providing technical support for deployed military units and transforming classified data into military intelligence.
|Degree Level||No degree required, but a 4-year degree is usually needed for officer-level jobs|
|Degree Field||Training is available in related fields, such as computer science and computer engineering|
|Certification||Voluntary certification options are available from product vendors and software firms|
|Key Skills||Analytical skills, physical fitness, ability to multitask, excellent written and verbal communication skills, ability to identify and solve problems, mental preparedness for military work; familiarity with related software, such as those used for network security, configuration management and access management|
|Salary (2016)||$50,264 per year (Median salary for military information technology specialists)*|
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Steps for Military Communications
What steps should I take to be a military communications analyst?
Step 1: Talk to a Recruiter
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), recruiters are in the best position to explain options for enlistment. Recruiters also determine if an applicant is qualified to enlist and offer information about military occupational specialties that have current openings. In some cases, training may not be immediately available. If training is expected to become available within a year, the aspiring military communications analyst can join the delayed entry program, allowing the individual to delay entry for one year.
- Know what to expect. After enlisting in the military, the individual must pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a multiple-choice test that helps match individuals with military careers. Other requirements include passing a physical examination and signing an enlistment contract, a commitment that usually ranges from 2-6 years.
Step 2: Complete Basic Training
All branches of the military require newly enlisted members to complete up to 13 weeks of basic training, which introduces the individual to military life. It includes vigorous physical exercise and intensely structured days and nights. When arriving at basic training, often called boot camp, individuals receive medical and dental exams and they are given uniforms, training gear and military-specified haircuts.
Step 3: Gain On-the-Job Training
After completing basic training, new recruits receive job training in their chosen military profession. Training combines classroom instruction with hands-on experience. Courses may include a basic introduction to computers and system concepts, programming, testing and designing systems, managing networks, computer security issues and equipment-specific topics.
Step 4: Obtain Professional Certification
Although not required, becoming certified demonstrates professional competence, offering a competitive advantage in the job market. Voluntary certifications are available through software companies and product vendors.
For example, Cisco offers two certifications for data communications analysts, which include the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP). Requirements for earning a certification vary depending on the organization issuing the credential, but generally include completing an application, paying a fee and passing a certification examination. Some organizations may require certifications to be renewed periodically after completing continuing education or professional development activities.
- Consider obtaining additional education. The military has a variety of benefits for service members who want to pursue a college education while enlisted or after completing the service contract. For example, the military offers a tuition assistance program that may pay as much as 100% of tuition costs, with a yearly cap of $4,500 per student, per year. Communications analysts can look for programs related to their field, such as the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.
Military communications analysts manage all stages of various military communication systems. They also provide technical support for deployed units and transform classified data into military intelligence. They are expected to have superior analytical and communications abilities, as well as knowledge of relevant software, and they earn a median annual salary of $50,264.