A modern military requires a large number of people to keep everything running smoothly from an IT standpoint. The U.S. military has a wide variety of technical support jobs available, ranging from network administration to on-site computer technician. Getting one of these jobs doesn’t have to be hard, in some cases, previous work history may not even be necessary for those coming right out of college. The key is to start thinking about what kind of job you feel like you are well qualified for, and where you would like to work. Since there is a need for technical personnel everywhere, you’ve got many choices to decide where you would want to work if your skill is in demand. Usually, you’ll have to choose among working in the U.S., on a military base in a friendly country, or on an operating base in a volatile area.
The great thing about being able to work in the military without being part of the military is the flexibility that comes with your job. When you choose to work in the U.S., there is a good chance that you will be able to do your job from multiple different places. If you want to work in Washington D.C., there will probably always be room for you there, if you want to stick closer to home, the military has facilities all over the country that you can work from. Computer technicians are in very high demand since they need to have the skills to keep systems running from large server racks, to personal computers in recruitment offices.
Being able to write code is a very valuable skill that will likely get you hired quickly through CPOL since new computer programs are constantly being created, and older ones need to be maintained. In addition to program coding, there is a need for people who can code websites and web programs. These skills will translate well into both the military and civilian sector if you decide to go that route. All of these technical skills are based mainly in the U.S., where the vast majority of all the data handling occurs.
If you enjoy traveling, you might want to apply for technology jobs on a military base. These jobs are more in the support sector since there isn’t as much demand for information gathering, or processing on a military base. Having the skills needed to be a database administrator would likely be able to land you a job on a military base. This is because information still needs to be able to transmitted back to the U.S., and to ships and aircraft, at all times. One error in a database management system can have a negative cascading effect on the whole base. Database administrators are there to make sure that doesn’t happen through testing and maintaining crucial systems.
While you have the ability to travel as you wish around the vicinity of the base, you may sometimes not get to be back home for months at a time. Generally, your family can live with you on the base if you wish, reducing the need for long trips back to the U.S. Larger bases usually have more opportunities for placement and advancement, as well as a greater variety of technical jobs in general.
Some of the more dangerous places you can find have a need for technology specialists, going to a base in Afghanistan or the embassy in Iraq is going to be inherently dangerous, but the pay makes working at a smaller, more dangerous place worth it for some. Technical repair personnel are common around these bases. Computers still have to work properly, and communications equipment still has to function, even in the middle of a warzone. As mentioned before, the pay is the thing that makes technology jobs attractive in environments such as these. You can expect to make at least double what you would normally make back in the United States just fixing computers. When you start talking about more specialized technical jobs, which there are not a great number of, you can bring home a very big salary in a relatively short amount of time. Working in hostile conditions sometimes means that your contract to work will not be very long, ranging anywhere from 3-12 months.
The need for specialized technicians, those able to work on brand new systems or equipment, exists on bases where there could be combat activity. These technicians may have training in similar systems, or existing electronic systems in older equipment, and need to be right in the heart of the action. This can include radar system technicians, communication technicians, and other people who maintain what is already on the ground.
Getting a technology job in the military is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In some cases, there will be a work contract you will have to fulfill. If you decide that you want to do it, take a look at some of the jobs posted to see which ones might suit you well. Keep in mind that there will always be some sort of pre-requisites for most technology jobs, especially if you are going to be around or handling sensitive information. You may be required to go through a background check and gain a security clearance in order to hold some jobs.
For the most part, getting a job with the military with CPOL is a lot like getting a job at any company, you’re going to go through an interview process, your resume will looked over, you may have references contacted, etc. One of the main differences is that you will be able to say that you worked for the U.S. government. This can help quite a bit if you decide to look for a job outside of the government at some point, especially if you already have a security clearance, because employers will know that you have already gone through a vetting process which is designed to only let the best employees through.
Further Reading Material and Referenced ResourcesIf you are looking for some more information, then you should check out some of these great resources.
Technology Jobs for Civilian Personnel
Technology Jobs for Civilian Personnel
Employment Opportunities - Fort Stewart GA
Preliminary Differences Between CPOL and CRM
Civilian Expeditionary Workforce