STEM Careers in the Guard: A Spotlight on Technology

This fall, On Your Guard is taking a look at STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers offered by the Army National Guard. These are jobs that require problem solving skills and a strong desire to figure out how things work. They are also typically high paying jobs that are in demand in the civilian workforce.

So why is that important? Because Guard service is typically a part-time commitment, many of our Soldiers make the most of their skills training and the Guard’s education benefits to build successful full-time civilian careers.

This week, we’ll take a look at Technology careers.

Army National Guard Soldiers who work in technology support global communications and critical intelligence efforts. They design, build, and manage tactical communication systems, and gather and analyze highly sensitive data.

So what does this mean in everyday terms? Josh Denton, a Sergeant in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard says his military occupational specialty (MOS) of 25Q Multi-Channel Transmission Systems Operator-Maintainer consists of “basically data transmission. It’s taking any kind of data, any kind of network traffic to a long distance somewhere else, either by line of sight or satellite communications.”

SGT Denton likens his job and other telecommunications jobs within the 25 series of MOSs this way: “Basically we’re Verizon Wireless, but we’re for the military.”

Besides putting his technical skills to work while serving in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom II, this MOS also serves a purpose for stateside missions. SGT Denton has been activated to provide backup communications for two high-security, high-profile events in Pennsylvania, once during Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia in 2015, and before that, during the G-20 summit, an international forum for heads of state that was hosted in Pittsburgh in 2009.

SGT Josh Denton, Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

SGT Josh Denton, Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

SGT Denton, who joined the Guard 15 years ago at age 18, came into this line of work at the suggestion of his recruiter, and has stuck with it ever since because “I absolutely love the job that I do. I‘ve been with a great team for many years.”

The 25Q MOS requires 20 weeks of Advanced Individual Training, part of it in the classroom and part of it in the field, but aptitude is also important.

SGT Denton says Soldiers who go into technical careers need a “strong troubleshooting mindset.”

“You have to be able to look at a problem holistically, analyze the symptoms and try to find a root cause of whatever the issue may be. With any kind of technology, there’s always bugs and problems, so you have to be tenacious at problem solving.”

Mastering skills in a technical field has also helped SGT Denton develop a successful civilian career path. He is currently a technical support manager, and before that, he was operations manager for a large, global IT company where he oversaw a group of technicians.

It wasn’t just the technical skills he learned in the Guard that gave him a competitive edge in the marketplace. It was also the leadership qualities that the Guard instills in its Soldiers.

“I got my first civilian leadership job because of the experiences I got from the Guard,” SGT Denton says. “That was a big part of my interview – talking about some of the experiences I had in the military and how I manage people.”

So if you have the aptitude for, and an interest in, a technical career, be sure to visit our job board to check out these MOSs:

25B Information Technology Specialist

25C Radio Operator-Maintainer

25L Cable Systems Installer-Maintainer

25N Nodal Network Systems Operator-Maintainer

25P Microwave Systems Operator-Maintainer

25S Satellite Communications Systems Operator-Maintainer

25U Signal Support Systems Specialist

Guard careers in closely related fields, like Science, Engineering and Math might also be of interest to you. One way to narrow down your options is to contact your local recruiter.

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