Job Family: Information Technology, Computer Science, and Mathematics Computer Systems Specialists
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | Marine Corps  | Coast Guard  | National Guard

Supplemental Information
Profile  |  Career Path
Photo 1: Technician cleans computer parts. Photo 2:
Computer specialist replaces motherboard.

Dorothy Hartsfield
Occupation: Computer Systems Specialist

I decided to specialize in computers after six years as an administrative staff member in the Army. I switched specialty areas because I saw a grea…

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Short Description
The military uses computers to store and process data on personnel, weather, communications, finances, and many other areas, as well as to operate sophisticated equipment during combat and peace time maneuvers.

What They Do
Computer systems specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Install, configure, and monitor local and wide area networks, hardware, and software
  • Collect, enter, and process information using computers
  • Provide customer and network administration services, such as electronic mail accounts, user training, security, virus protection, and troubleshooting
  • Use computer programs to solve problems
  • Determine and analyze computer systems requirements
  • Program information into languages that computers can read
  • Develop, test, and debug computer programs
  • Provide system analysis and maintenance
  • Implement procedures to ensure computer and network security

Helpful Attributes
Helpful school subjects include computer science, math, and typing. Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Ability to understand and apply math concepts
  • Interest in solving problems
  • Interest in work requiring accuracy and attention to detail

Training Provided
Job training consists of classroom instruction, depending upon the specialty area. Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses in specific computer systems and languages. Course content typically includes:
  • Use of computers and peripheral equipment
  • Computer systems concepts
  • Planning, designing, and testing computer systems
  • Program structuring, coding, and debugging
  • Use of current programming languages
  • Computer security issues
  • Network management

Work Environment
Computer systems specialists in the military work in offices or at computer sites on military bases or aboard ships.

Civilian Counterparts
Civilian computer systems specialists work anywhere that computer systems are used. They may be employed as network support technicians for large companies or as data processing technicians in local banks or school. Those who specialize in computer programming may work as programmers for software developers. The skills learned as a computer systems specialist are highly transferable to the civilian workforce.

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