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Computer Systems Officers


The military uses computers in almost every aspect of its operations. Military computers are used to process payroll and personnel information, control the targeting and firing of weapons systems, account for money, and make it easier to communicate around the world. Computer systems officers direct the operations of computer centers and are involved in the planning and development of computer systems.

What They Do

Computer systems officers in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

Physical Demands

No information available.

Special Requirements

A four-year college degree in computer science, computer or industrial engineering, business administration, or a related field is required to enter this career. Some specialties require a master's degree.

Helpful Attributes

Helpful attributes include:

Helpful School Subjects

No information available.

Helpful Fields of Study

No information available.

Work Environment

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

Services offering this career:

Hiring Practices

To serve in the military, a person must be at least 17; the maximum age for enlistment varies. To enlist, a person must pass a physical exam and an aptitude test. An enlistee must also meet military standards of discipline and be a US citizen or permanent resident alien.

This position is for officers.


The military is competitive with the civilian world when it comes to pay and benefits. All branches offer the same basic pay and benefits.

Pay depends mainly on rank or grade as well as length of service. Bonuses and the situation in which the person is serving (for example: flight duty, sea duty, hazardous duty) also affect pay. 

Cost-of-living increases usually occur every year, based on inflation. The military also pays allowances for food, clothing, and housing. All these factors combined are called Regular Military Compensation (RMC). They should all be considered when comparing military pay to civilian pay.

There are two main parts to RMC: basic pay and allowances. There are also additional incentives for special abilities, training, or hazardous duty.

Check out the RMC Calculator to calculate your RMC based on your inputs.

Training Provided

Job training consists of five to 18 weeks of classroom instruction. Training length varies depending on specialty.

Course content typically includes:

Civilian Counterparts

Civilian computer systems officers work for a wide variety of employers, such as banks, hospitals, manufacturers, financial firms, government agencies, and firms that design computer systems. They perform duties similar to those performed by military computer systems officers. They may also be called information systems directors, computer systems managers, software engineers, or systems analysts.

Related Civilian Careers

Employment and Outlook

In peace time the services have about 4,000 computer systems officers. In times of military action the number may be different, depending on the type of specialties required. Each year the services need new computer systems officers due to changes in personnel and the demands of the field. After job training, computer systems officers are assigned to units where they work in teams of engineers, systems analysts, and computer programmers. With experience and demonstrated leadership, they may advance to senior management or command positions in the computer systems field.