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Armed Services or Civilian IT Training

By mikeadams1137 ·

Same field, virtually same work, different standards of morales / ethics / values / rules.

Different levels of punishment...for breaking these individual rules...

We are at polar opposites here folks...Black and White...Positive and Negative...(in reality black and white are not really colors, but you get the point)

What is your preferable training...for preparing and basing yourself for a life in IT..

1) IT Job w/ College Experience + Degree + research on your own

2) IT Job w/ Armed Services Experience + Degree + research on your own

3) IT Job w/ College Exp. + Degree + Armed Services Exp + research on your own.

The ultimate to maintain the highest standard and understanding of technology as we progress through the age, and eventually land a very good IT position, preferably ss a manager.

Please provide accurate details and real life experiences to fortify your claims.

I am currently doing the #3, option. I am coming up on my associates, I have spent two years in civilian IT, and June 4th, 2008...I'll begin seeing the military side of it.

Your thoughts?


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My take

by Tig2 In reply to Armed Services or Civilia ...

The military will give you experience and increasing levels of responsibility. But to do really well in the Navy, you will also need to concentrate on earning promotion and the service medals that you qualify for. The last year my ex was qualified to make CPO, they promoted only one Navy wide in his rate. The year before it had been five. One of the dumbest things he did was not finish a Bachelor's degree before he got out. Lord knows he spent enough time at sea- that should have been a priority. When he got out, he elected to go to school and pick up MCSE certification. Another stupid idea as the degree is more transferable.

Believe me, the Navy will take any independent study you do toward a degree into consideration when it comes time for promotions.

The toughest thing in front of you is that you absolutely have to stay current in tech... and that won't be easy in the Navy. Unlike corporate America, they don't ride the cutting edge.

If this were 20 years ago, I would say that any technology aptitude would be sufficient. Unfortunately, it is today and the best plan today may not work in the world tomorrow. So go for that second degree. That WILL be a requirement.

And congratulations for making a choice for military service. I commend and salute you!

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You are in for a bit of shock

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Armed Services or Civilia ...

Morals aren't part of the armed services, orders are. You don't get stuck in the stockade for being immoral, you get there because you didn't follow orders, on occasion even those you feel offend your moral code.

IT in the military has got to be different, security, robustness, not needing to cut corners to make a profit...

I daresay they want their IT people to know what they are doing as well. MBA's who once wrote a macro, getting a massive project to manage, should n't happen should it?

I did serve and I didn't like it, certainly not for everyone. However I know a lot of guys who did and got a lot out of it, so it's not a carte blanche knock.

Go for a bit of service if you want to, but ffs take the blinkers off or you'll get hurt.

I started way way back in IT, no degree, ability was enough back then, certs were'nt invented.

Research on your own is a given no matter how you go about it, if you don't do it, you shouldn't be in IT.

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My take is different

by kevaburg In reply to You are in for a bit of s ...

I served as well and I learned an enormous amount. Not about IT, but about how to act within a team or as an individual. I learned that in order to progress, you have to continually develop academically, and to develop personally and professionally.

I also learned that the military DO cut corners. Who in the world that implements a secure comms system would use Windows 2000 as the OS to host it? And this was implemented in the last 5 years.

And IT in the forces? What a joke! Oracle DB admins are trained how to backup, restore and apply patches. Everything else is handled remotely. I had to regularly help people that "lost" documents because they didn't select somewhere to save them. Senior management (it's that word isn't it) that sit with calculators at their desk as they type information into their Excel spreadsheets.

The standard of IT literacy is appalling. People that don't even understand "save as" should not even be behind a keyboard.

I have worked as a civilian in the Forces as well, providing training and IT support services for the education system because the Army didn't provide themselves. No AV or centralised storage, but thats OK, because at least they are connected to the Internet and can check Facebook out.

Why do they do this? Because it was too expensive or too complicated to do properly. So they get in the Atlas group to create the Defence Information Infrastructure (unrelated to the education system that has absolutely no support whatsoever). GBP4.5Bn worth of project that didn't work properly and so now, to date, 3 times that has been spent trying to rectify it.

My point?

Use the forces as a stabile platform and a regular income. Get whatever education you can out of the system, enjoy the relatively high income and get out. Apply for Open University courses, use whatever credits you can to help yourself. You will NOT learn about good IT practice in the forces, at least not as a soldier.

I didn't do that at the time and now I am kicking myself hard for it.

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Go civilian

by jmgarvin In reply to Armed Services or Civilia ...

I served as a 31C/31U/31K/31M (read commo guy) while in the military. The military isn't about the latest and greatest, it's about what works, what's secure, and what's cheap. It's also about taking orders and doing what you're told, regardless of if it makes any sense.

A prime example is where we were tasked with painting an either blacktop parking lot at Ft. Hood desert camo brown. Good times...good times.

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Been there, doing that

by adamblevins In reply to Armed Services or Civilia ...

I have 13 years of IT experience at the moment. I spent 4.5 years in the Air Force, went civilian, finished several certifications, a Bachelors degree and two associates degrees. I?m currently working on my MBA.

Here are a few items I think are important in your considerations:

Training quality: Military training was more thorough and solid than anything I learned in college. The standards of grading were also much higher.

College vs. Military Experience: Anyone with time and money can get a college degree. You don't have to be smart, you just have to be willing to put in the time and pay the fees. Being successful in the military involves much higher levels of personal character, accountability and tenacity than you need to skate by in college.

The military isn't easy, and that?s what makes it worth something. People who haven't served like to play down its value? especially young people. Beware.

Getting a job: This one is a tie. People hire people who they share qualities with, or who have qualities they admire. i.e.: Prior service hire prior service. College kids hire college kids. It can?t hurt to have both.

Keeping a job: Military experience is hands down the winner here. Once you have been through your military service you will have seen and worked with or in, much worse situations than you will as a civilian. Sure, office politics suck. Bad managers suck. But they can?t kill you, they can only irritate you. No boss is ever going to be worse than your Drill Instructors, and if they are, you can leave.


Finish college while you are on active duty. Tuition Assistance is covered 100%

Do certs when you get out. Your GI Bill will reimburse you the cost of any certification you take, even if you fail, for as many times as you take the exam.

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