Network administration. Database management. Computer hardware and software implementation. Whether maintaining the integrity of everyday communications or safeguarding top secret data flow, the highly sophisticated networks and systems at use in today’s Navy call for individuals capable of serving at the forefront of the information technology field.
In the Navy, information technology (IT) plays an important role in everything from electronic mail systems to shipboard control systems to Special Intelligence (SI) systems. With a broad range of responsibilities, Navy Information System Technicians (IT specialists) operate and maintain Navy global satellite telecommunications systems, mainframe computers, local and wide area networks, and micro-computer systems throughout the Fleet.
Serving as Enlisted Sailors (high school diploma or equivalent required), Navy IT specialists are part of the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) – a group of highly specialized information experts fully integrated across surface, subsurface, air, space and cyberspace domains. With shared functions, capabilities and resources, IDC members leverage their skills to optimize decision making and to maximize the use of sensors, weapons, network communications and control systems for purposes of national security and warfighting.
Information Technology professionals help ensure the viability of essential communications links. They provide administrative support for the equipment that keeps records on everything from personnel training to health care to promotions. And they offer technical support and training to fellow personnel. As an IT specialist, your role may also include:
- Writing programs to handle data for a wide variety of applications
- Operating and coordinating automated networks, datalinks and circuits
- Applying diagnostic, corrective and recovery techniques to information systems
- Analyzing communication signals
- Providing telecommunications and computer-related training and assistance
- Performing preventive and corrective maintenance on state-of-the-art equipment
- Operating and maintaining global satellite telecommunications systems
- Working under the oversight of Information Professionals – Officers (four-year degree required) who serve as managers of information networks
Information Systems Technicians serve in versatile roles both afloat and ashore – on ships or at communications stations in the United States or overseas. Typical work involves mental analysis and problem solving and takes place in clean, air-conditioned electronic equipment space or computer rooms. Duties may be performed individually or as part of a team.
Training & Advancement
Upon completion of initial 7–9 week Recruit Training (known as Boot Camp), those pursuing an Information Systems Technician position receive formal Navy schooling at “A” School in Pensacola, Fla. For approximately 24 weeks, they develop the working knowledge it takes to be Navy IT specialists in preparation for their first assignment on a ship or at a shore station.
Starting with extensive technical preparation in everything from database design to computer networking to communications systems, skills continue to be enhanced through on-the-job training and experience. Advanced technical and operational training go along with career progression. In the course of service, specialized training received could lead to credentialing, certification, licensure and/or apprenticeship opportunities from a number of national boards and organizations. Promotion opportunities are regularly available but are competitive and based on performance.
Beyond offering access to professional credentials and certifications, Navy technical and operational training in the field of information technology can translate to credit hours toward a bachelor’s or associate degree through the American Council on Education. You may also continue your education through opportunities such as the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Navy (SOCNAV) Degree Program, Navy College Program and Tuition Assistance, and the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Information Systems Technicians are rewarded with excellent benefits – including competitive pay that’s dependent upon rank or rate and years in service. Like most positions, your increase in rate and rank is earned. Promotions depend upon your performance and time in service.
A high school diploma or equivalent is required to become an Enlisted Sailor in the IT field in the Navy. Those seeking an Information Systems Technician position must be U.S. citizens who can meet eligibility requirements for a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance. They should have a good working aptitude of math, an understanding of modern computing devices and the capability to do highly detail-oriented work.
After the Navy
The specialized training and expertise you gain as an Information Systems Technician, coupled with your security clearance, may prepare you for a wide range of job opportunities available within the federal government, including future employment in areas such as Intelligence and Information Technology Management; or performing technical and clerical work involving computers, electronics and communications.
Other career opportunities in the civilian sector include work as Computer and Information Systems Managers; Computer Systems Analysts; Database Administrators; Network and Computer Systems Administrators; and Radio, Cellular, and Tower Equipment Installers and Repairers.
Consider Your Service Options.
There are different ways that you can commit to serve in America’s Navy. Besides full-time opportunities in Active Duty, part-time Reserve positions are also available in this career area.