Are you an active or prospective Army, Air Force, or Navy service member considering a career in computer sciences? Military computer science careers offer professional advancement, meaningful work, and a viable path to career success both during service and in civilian life.
Find out how you can enlist in military computer science programs, tap into computer science military benefits, and develop a lifelong career in this lucrative field.
Compare Computer Science Jobs in the Military Branches
Computer science in the military plays a part in any career path that requires skills like coding, web development, and cybersecurity. This is true no matter whether you serve in the Army, Navy, or Air Force.
The Navy and Air Force have higher percentages of computer science-oriented jobs since today’s airplanes and vessels depend on complex codes. Additionally, any potential software or hardware emergency on board requires an expert on the team.
How to Apply for Computer Science Jobs in the Military
The U.S. Armed Forces work hard to recruit qualified professionals for various military computer science careers. Your ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) will serve as an important factor that measures your skills and your aptitude for working in computer sciences.
A degree in computer science could land you an officer role in many fields, like communications, cybersecurity, or electronic warfare systems. You can also get a computer sciences degree during your service, whether online or through a branch campus while deployed.
Best Military Computer Science Careers
The Army, Navy, and Air Force offer a wide range of jobs related to computer sciences. Here are some top tech roles you may encounter in the different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Radio operator. Army radio operators focus on communications management. They transmit messages and manage electrical and computer systems.
- Intelligence analyst. Intelligence analysts in the military secure, examine, process, and distribute intelligence data through specialized systems after evaluating its credibility and importance.
- IT specialist. IT specialists in the army maintain and troubleshoot computer systems to streamline military operations.
- Computer system programmer. Computer programmers develop programs to support Air Force capabilities and manage data.
- Operations analyst. Operations research analysts use various systems to identify more efficient and cost-effective methods of running military operations.
- Information security specialist. Professionals responsible for information security, monitoring networks for threats, investigating data breaches, and making information systems safer.
- Electronics technician. Navy electronics technicians are responsible for supervising, managing, and calibrating various intelligence and navigation systems.
- Intelligence specialist. Intelligence specialists examine data and draft reports to enable more accurate military action planning.
- Cryptologic technician. Technicians in the cryptology field deal with decoding and analyzing encrypted communications like radar signals, which the Navy can use to understand foreign and potentially hostile operations.
Top Military Computer Science Education Programs
Many colleges and universities nationwide offer programs that will prepare you for a career in military computer science. Let’s list a few of them.
- Eastern Oregon University: A four-year, 180-credit online program for getting a bachelor’s degree in computer science. A degree from EOU will prepare you for a tech career in the military and beyond.
- Utica University: A 100% online, military-friendly cybersecurity degree with accepted credit transfer. The program includes several specializations with high value in the military, like cybercrime and cybersecurity operation.
- King University: A fully online bachelor’s degree in information technology with easy credit transfer, an accelerated graduation option, and several start dates throughout the year. The program includes a comprehensive curriculum with two possible tracks.
- Southern New Hampshire University: Multiple Bachelor of Science options in computer science, data analysis, software engineering, cybersecurity, and more. SNHU’s military program offers up to 30% off tuition costs for active service members, flexible credit transfer, and full support throughout your degree.
- University of West Florida: An online master’s degree in computer science, with data analytics and software engineering options that enable you to seek advanced career options in the computer sciences field.
Benefits and Incentives for Military Computer Science Careers
Apart from the regular military benefits, like free room and board, healthcare, and insurance benefits, service members in military computer science careers can also collect financial incentives like loan repayment and enlistment bonuses.
Loan Repayment Programs
College debt is a problem for many students and young professionals. When you join the U.S. Armed Forces, you may qualify for targeted loan repayment and financial aid programs. In some cases, you may even be eligible for full loan forgiveness.
The military loan repayment programs include:
- Federal loan repayment assistance for active duty service members who enlist for a minimum of three years
- Federal loan repayment assistance for army reserve personnel enlisted for six years or more
- Targeted loan repayment programs for Air Force, Navy, and National Guard service members
Depending on the computer science job you pursue and your certification, you may qualify for attractive enlistment bonuses. For example, the Air Force has offered bonuses of up to $20,000 to recruits who sign a six-year contract in Network, Systems, or Security Operations.
The Lifelong Incentive: Transition to a Thriving Civil Tech Career After Your Discharge
When we look at military computer science vs. civilian computer science careers, it’s obvious that there’s a lot of overlap between the two pathways. If you pursue a military computer science career, you can use your professional expertise as a key to your transition into civilian life.
The options for building your tech career as a veteran are limitless. You can become a tech consultant, launch your own tech or IT service business, or work as an engineer or web developer. Your military security clearances may make you an excellent fit for any role in cybersecurity. Whatever your career vision is, you’ll find the perfect (and well-paying) application for your computer science skills.
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