For career changers or students with a military background, the field of military information assurance may be of particular interest. A number of opportunities exist for those with strong computer skills, education, and experience. With the recent growth in tech fields, security has become a leading concern, especially with sensitive information such as in military communication.
While professionals generally think about computer database applications when considering information assurance, in military applications information assurance includes satellite communications, ground to air or sea transmissions, as well as reconnaissance data and special operations communication. If information assurance with military applications interests you, there are a number of factors to consider when preparing yourself for this career path.
With a two year degree and internship or entry level experience, one can expect opportunities to exist for supportive roles requiring minor security clearance. Since a number of veterans return from active service with specialized training in this field, many professionals enter the field with practical skills and expand their education through ongoing training, such as with online degree programs that allow the professional to continue working while obtaining the degree.
The range of opportunities available for professionals in this field increases with higher education and additional work experience. With a four-year bachelor’s degree in computer science with information assurance courses, analysts, programmers, and security officers typically enter a governmental pay scale at a higher level than their non-degreed counterparts. Master’s programs that add an additional two years to the overall level of education offer highly detailed knowledge with a specific skill set, and are usually pursued after working in the field for a number of years.
With increased knowledge comes increased responsibility, security clearance, and demands on professional integrity. Globally, military security is vital to homeland security and jobs in the field are in high demand. In order to best prepare yourself for these jobs, it is important to choose top-tier programs from regionally accredited institutions and to also seek internships and other practical skills while completing your education.
Differing military branches will have a variety of jobs in this field. If you are or were in any branch of the military, or are a military spouse, you can search military job openings on the military’s internal site. In addition to the jobs for military personnel and veterans, The Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security also post information and employment opportunities on their websites. You’ll find a wide range of opportunities related to information assurance in a number of military-related settings.
In addition to military websites, general employment sites such as Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com also list a wide array of opportunities. For professionals looking to network and share ideas, LinkedIn has special forums based on interest in this growing field. Professional associations like the Operations Security Professional’s Association offer opportunities for training, seminars, chapter meetings, and other networking events.
While engaging in ongoing education from reputable institutions in this field is vital to ongoing growth and professional development, it is also important to seek out opportunities to build practical skills while obtaining education. The best degree programs combine the two with the added bonus of being led by current industry leaders. Ongoing professional mentoring and engaging in professional service can be highly valued by prospective employers as a way to demonstrate commitment to the field.
For professionals interested in military security, there are a variety of educational programs that can help polish practical skills gained in active military service or through ongoing employment. In addition to engaging in a degree program, activity in a professional organization may also serve to bolster a résumé and demonstrate to prospective employers that you are committed to ongoing career development in this field. While competition for some of the top jobs may be intense, a combination of education, practical skills, and professional service can set you apart from your competition and forge the path ahead toward long term success in an exciting field that continues to evolve.