Career Field: Cyber
Enlisted i Enlisted service members make up the majority of the Military and perform much of the hands-on work. Cyber Operations Specialists
As technology grows ever more sophisticated, the Military must stay on top of its cybersecurity as well as the threats that inevitably come into this domain. Cyber specialists perform both offensive and defensive cyber attacks. They audit networks for weaknesses, collect digital forensics data, and analyze software threats.
SalaryAverage salary nationwide: $61,069
Learn more about what goes into a salary with the Compensation Estimator.
Learn more about Military Insurance and Retirement Benefits.
Service BranchesThe following Services offer this career:
When talking to a recruiter be sure to ask about part-time opportunities in the Reserve and Guard
Service members currently in this role:2,870
Note: Keep in mind that there is no guarantee service members will receive their first choice for a career, as the Services determine where each individual's skills are needed most at the time.
Cyber Operations Specialists work in offices or in command and control centers on land and aboard ships.
Military TrainingJob training for a cyber operations specialist requires completing both basic training and advanced cyber training. This role also requires a top secret / sensitive compartmented information (TS/SCI) security clearance.
Some of the skills you'll learn are:
- Conducting defensive cyberspace operations
- Conducting offensive cyberspace operations
- Analyzing information
- Maintaining and using networking software tools/equipment
Career Field: Cyber
Service Branch: Army
When asked if he considers himself a nerd, Steve Rogacki laughs. "Yeah, if anyone here doesn't, they're lying to themselves," he says.
"Here" is the headquarters of one of the Army's Cyber Operations Brigades, and while they may be "nerds," these nerds are keeping information safe while maintaining freedom of action in and through cyberspace.
Most days, work doesn't feel like work.
While the nature of cyber operations is complicated, Steve can boil it down. "I hunt for people who wish to do harm to the United States on the Internet," he explains. "I'm part of the team that goes in and tries to find them and stop them."
To be successful — and because his unit is relatively new and growing fast — Steve helps build the unit from the inside.
He creates systems and tactics while also conducting operations, literally using his own brainpower to solve problems. "If you want to be on the forefront of building something, you have to try something new," he says. "We say, 'If you're not doing something for the first time, why are you doing it?'"
In the cyber operations arena, the Military is at the forefront. And Steve sees a big difference between what he's doing and what's going on in Silicon Valley. "Industry is doing cool stuff to further industry, investors, profits and money," he says. "We do cool stuff and it is to protect people, for national defense. That's pure. That's what makes us unique."
Steve's interests aren't all that different when he takes off his uniform. "One of the best things about working in the cyber branch is that my work so closely mirrors my love of technology, innovation and engineering. Most days, work doesn't feel like work," Steve says. In his downtime, he likes to host hackathons in his apartment and create things with a 3D printer.
"The biggest benefit of the Military? The satisfaction. The feeling of empowerment. Being able to decide what I think is right and then just go do it," Steve says. "I wouldn't feel as fulfilled anywhere else. I couldn't have as much of an impact anywhere else."
Other careers in this field
Officer i Officers are the managers of the Military, planning and directing operations or acting in professional roles in fields such as law and medicine.
Enlisted i Enlisted service members make up the majority of the Military and perform much of the hands-on work.
Related Civilian Careers
- Information Security Analysts
- Computer Security Specialists
- Data Security Administrators
- Information Security Managers
- Information Technology Specialists