Page 46 - Cybersecurity Career Guide for Alexandria College
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careers: Military Branches
 Enlist in Your Future
“Cyberspace is not just a computer on your desktop. It’s the way that we as an Air Force intend to fly and fight,” General Robert J. Elder, Jr., USAF
Okay, so a career in cybersecurity interests you. But not every stu- dent who graduates from high school has either the academic or financial wherewithal to go to college. But hang on! There’s another possible route: the military.
All branches of America’s all-volunteer military—the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard—have cyber commands dedicated to national security. They work 24/7 to protect military networks, weapons platforms, combat units, and critical U.S. infrastructure from global cyber threats generated by adversarial nations, non-state terrorists, and criminals.
Beyond needing a high school diploma
or GED equivalent to join up, it also helps to have strong communications, math, and problem-solving skills. But new recruits are given aptitude tests to determine which military occupational specialties (MOS) they’re best suited for. So to qualify for a cybersecurity MOS, it may be a good idea to first get a basic certification in the field from an accredited organization and bolster your computing skills before you march down to
your local recruiter. New recruits first spend around 10 weeks in boot camp, which in- cludes physical and weapons training, and learning tactical and survival skills. Next comes advanced training in cybersecurity that can last approximately nine to 40 weeks, depending on your MOS assignment. This training often includes classroom and on-the-job instruction in things like data- base design and computer networking— even a foreign language, if necessary.
Once your (usually) four-year enlistment is up, the skill sets and security clearance you gained while serving your country mean you’ll be well positioned to earn a college degree to further your cybersecurity career. Veterans are eligible for the GI Bill, which typically covers tuition and fees, while providing extra stipends for housing, books, and supplies. Another option: re-enlist and use your benefits to earn a college degree while on duty. You could then consider get- ting some brass to go with your sheepskin by enrolling in an officer commission school to jump up the ranks from enlisted member to officer.

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