There are a lot of great careers in Information Technology (IT) for military spouses. It's a field that's constantly growing and changing, and many jobs can be done from home if you're stationed somewhere remote or have kids to take care of. Today we're going to take a look at some entry-level IT positions that are attainable with IT certifications, rather than a 2- or 4-year degree. One note about information technology job titles: they vary a frustrating amount in IT careers, so you want to pay close attention to job descriptions and qualifications. Cast a wide net of alternative titles and double-check that individual listings match the skill set. Titles are constantly evolving, so be on the lookout for new variations – we've included some current variations.
Computer User Support Specialist
Some Alternative Titles: Technical Support Specialist, Information Technology or IT Specialist/Consultant, Help Desk Technician Projected Growth by 2029: much faster than average (8%) Salary Percentiles (2019):
There's a lot of variation under this job title, but the essential part is "USER support." You're providing technical help to users that aren't IT professionals themselves. This can mean assisting them with hardware, software, or both. It can mean supporting a wide range of products (like in-house corporate IT support) or focusing on a particular product's users (like a help desk technician for a software development company). As a military spouse, it's worth knowing that some support specialists can work from home, especially if your job is related to software or as a front-line help desk technician.
Since this job title is such a broad umbrella, the requirements for entry-level positions vary. Some jobs will require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, and some will require an associates degree. However, some jobs don't require a degree at all. Post-secondary IT certifications can make you competitive for those positions. CompTIA A+ Certification is a great start and a very well-respected resume builder. The exams test problem-solving skills, as well as the basic knowledge you need about hardware, operating systems, software, networking, security, mobile devices, virtualization and cloud computing, and operational procedures. CompTIA Network+ Certification is an additional option. It's hard to separate any technical issues from networking at this point, and while CompTIA A+ covers some networking basics, Network+ goes into greater depth. Our online CompTIA PC and Network Technician course prepares you to earn both of these certifications at the same time.
Since you're helping non-IT users all day long, customer service and communication skills are a valuable thing to highlight on your resume. You should also emphasize examples of problem-solving and attention to detail.
Computer user support specialist positions are often the gateway to a whole host of IT careers, like systems administration or software development. You can also advance to higher support tiers, where you'll solve increasingly complex problems, and/or managing other support technicians.
Network Support Specialist
Some Alternative Titles: Network Support Technician, Network Support Analyst Projected Growth by 2029: much faster than average (8%) Salary Percentiles (2019):
Network support specialist jobs involve a similar set of tasks and skills as computer user support specialists – in fact, the BLS combines them into one job profile. However, network specialists are focused on (you guessed it) network issues, and the job goes beyond helping users solve problems. Network support specialists also perform routine and preventative tasks, like testing and evaluating the network and performing regular maintenance. More importantly, we're listing it separately because the training recommendations are slightly different.
Training or education requirements vary based on where you'll work. CompTIA Network+ Certification is the most sensible place to start. It's a vendor-neutral certification. It requires you to demonstrate knowledge of networking concepts, infrastructure, operations, security, and troubleshooting. CompTIA themselves recommend also earning A+ Certification, so our CompTIA PC and Network Technician course is a good start for this job, as well. However, job postings often require certifications in the specific system vendor they use. CCNA Certification is the most well-respected entry-level certification for Cisco networks – technically there's a certification below that, but it's not as well-regarded. Our CCNA course prepares you to earn this credential.
Problem-solving skills are the most important thing to highlight, here.
With experience as a network support specialist, you can advance to a Network/System Administrator position. This is when you'd want to consider CCNP certification for Cisco networks. You can also move into information security or cybersecurity – maybe even join your military spouse in working for the DOD under Directive 8570.1!
Health Information Technician
Some Alternative Titles: Medical Records and Health Information Technician Projected Growth by 2029: much faster than average (8%) Median Salary (2019): $42,630/yr or $20.50/hr Source(s): BLS job profile
Health Information Technicians organize and maintain healthcare data, including individual patient records. These careers are often categorized under healthcare and not IT. However, with the increasing adoption of electronic health records (EHR) and related software, health information technology careers are shifting to include IT skills like information security and data analysis. It still involves a lot of non-IT tasks, but if the intersection of healthcare and information technology interests you, it can provide the best of both worlds.
The National Health Career Association (NHA) has a widely accepted certification called the Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist (CEHRS). To prepare for CEHRS, you need a training program (like ours) that covers both the medical and IT topics required for the position.
Highlight any work history that has allowed you to demonstrate analytical skills, attention to detail, the ability to exercise discretion and ethical decision-making, and software experience. If you have any direct experience with healthcare or data management, you should feature it. Since the job requires verbal and written communication with healthcare professionals and finance personnel, you should also emphasize those skills – customer service experience counts!
Through experience as a health information technician, you can move into other health information technology careers like Health Data Analyst or Healthcare Security and Privacy Specialist. You can also move into Health Information Management roles.
This is by no means a comprehensive information technology careers list, so explore your options – there are many types of IT jobs. But if you're a problem solver drawn to new technologies, an IT career might just be for you. The good news: the DOD considers careers in IT "portable," meaning they're eligible for MyCAA scholarship funds. We've been providing online vocational training to military spouses for over 20 years. We're a MyCAA-approved training provider, and in fact, all of the courses we linked to above are eligible for MyCAA funds. Contact us today to find out if you qualify!