Military Communications Analyst: Career and Salary Facts
Research what it takes to become a military communications analyst. Learn about education requirements, job duties, salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you.
What Is a Military Communications Analyst?
A military communications analyst works with telecommunications systems to ensure proper functionality and transmission of critical and non-critical data. With security clearance, you could also be responsible for translating messages and other forms of intelligence. In a civilian position, you could work for a company that's contracted to assist with military communications needs. Daily responsibilities may include testing equipment, meeting with supervisors to determine projects' needs and reporting risks related to projects. They may also consult with IT professionals when they run into technical problems. In some cases they may be tasked with assessing what equipment and programs are needed and integrating new equipment with old so that it functions. Consider the information in the following table to determine if a career as a military communications analyst is right for you.
|Degree Required||Civilian positions generally require Associate's or Bachelor's degree; high school diploma or equivalent for military positions|
|Education Field of Study||Telecommunications, networking, software engineering|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||little or no change*|
|Salary||$20,170.80 basic pay for Privates (E1) (2019)**; $63,133 median salary for all network systems analysts (2019)***|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Goarmy.com, ***Payscale.com.
What Military and Civilian Jobs Are Available?
Outside of the military, job titles might include communications analyst or network data communications analyst. In these positions, you'll provide maintenance and support for communications systems. Job duties typically include troubleshooting, assessing telecommunications needs of the military, upgrading equipment, analyzing errors, monitoring the functions of a system and keeping systems operating properly with minimal downtime.
In the U.S. Marine Corps, the communications field offers commissioned and non-commissioned positions in system design, installation and operations. In this type of position, you act as support for ground units, helping to operate communications equipment and keep equipment working properly. You could work as a radio operations or data network specialist in the field or an office.
In the U.S. Army, you could work as a signals collector or analyst, linguist or signals intelligence analyst. In these positions, your main job duties include collecting and interpreting foreign communications, intercepting, detecting or identifying enemy communications and providing reports to assist with defensive actions.
In the U.S. Navy, communications analyst positions are available in computers and technology, intelligence and information systems. In a computers and technology position, you'll track communications signals to determine their origin, discover new communications and help identify communication transmissions from underwater transports and equipment. Intelligence positions involve collecting and interpreting communications from various sources to report on Navy troop, enemy or ally actions. In an information technology position, you'll work to protect network security, prevent hackers from getting into the system and manage network communications.
What Education or Training Do I Need?
Civilian positions typically require an associate or bachelor's degree in information technology (IT). Employers could also require experience in an IT discipline, such as telecommunications, networking or software engineering. You might need to submit to a background check to receive security clearance for certain positions.
A communications analyst position within any branch of the military requires specific training following basic enlisted or officer training. Usually, instruction for skilled IT and communications positions involves attending a special camp or training program to learn the technical skills needed for the job. In many cases, the training you receive through the military translates into college credit that allows you to earn a degree in the communications analysis field once you leave the military.
What Could I Earn?
All branches of the military offer enlisted personnel approximately the same rate of pay and benefits. According to 2019 information provided by Goarmy.com, in your first two years of active service, you'll usually earn around $20,170.80 per year (http://www.goarmy.com). Your income increases with your rank and time in service, and all branches offer hazard pay if you perform your duties in a dangerous environment. You could also qualify for additional pay if you use your proficiency of a foreign language in your job.
If you join the service as an officer, the entry-level salaries of second lieutenants may be $38,260.80 per year, according to 2019 figures supplied by Goarmy.com. In addition to salaries, the military also offers other benefits, such as retirement pay, medical support, education assistance, life insurance and housing allowances. You'll also receive paid leave and travel services.
In the private sector, PayScale.com reported in July 2019 that most network systems and data communications analysts has an average salary of $63,133. As a civilian employee in the military, you'll earn slightly more as your enlisted counterparts. Like military ranks, you can increase your pay grade with promotions and years in service. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management lists the entry-level salary for civilian employees at $17,803 per year as of January 2011 (www.opm.gov).
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Computer and information systems managers coordinate the computer operations of an organization, which includes setting technology related goals and directing operations to meet those goals. Computer and network administrators do a similar job, overseeing the daily activities of computer networks for companies and organizations. Individuals in both of these careers may start this careers with a bachelor's degree.