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Jason Pawlak

Me and my Internet

Husband, Dad, Navy Officer, Coder, and Tinkerer. I have many interests and am always looking to learn something new. This site is a launching point to the many areas of the Internet that represent me.

Phone Interview with an IW Officer

I just got a phone call from an LCDR Information Warfare Officer stationed in San Antonio who went through OCS with my recruiter. I have started to wonder how much information I should really be putting into this blog, so from now on I’m going to leave names out.

My recruiter gave the IW Officer my information yesterday along with sending me an email saying to have some questions ready. I jotted down six or so questions on a post it note, and stuck it in my wallet, because I didn’t know when I would be getting a phone call. My phone rang this morning with an area code I didn’t recognize, so I knew it was him. I stepped out of the office to talk to him for a little bit (Brrr it was cold out there, I hope my voice wasn’t shaking, hah).

I think the best way to do this post is for me to write my question I asked, and then give his general answer without specifics. At the end I’ll summarize my opinions.

Can you tell me about Family/Home time? There is a lot of time that you will be away. Out of 24 months I would say sometimes you are upwards of 12 months being away. Not necessarily all at the same time, but maybe two months home, then one month away. With seniority comes more say in what you do.

What sorts of places do you go? Anywhere and everywhere from California, to Texas, to Hawaii, to Europe, and other places overseas. If you like to travel, it will be nice for you.

What sorts of things do you do, that you can tell me of? Are you heavily into IT work? There is some IT work, but most of that is done by IW Technicians, who are the enlisted guys who get into IW. As an IW Officer you might be in charge of an IT project at some point, but you won’t be sitting answering support calls.

What specific skills would be good going into IW? Your resume looks great, I’m not sure there’s much of anything that I would change. Maybe I would recommend getting some training in Cisco systems. Other than that I think you are right on track

Are there specific classes that I should be looking to take? Again, your resume looks very solid, I would just stay on the same track you are on. Maybe look to see if any Cisco classes are offered

Are most IW Officers computer science guys, or really from a broad field? Everyone is generally from a very broad field. It is easier to come into this community with a technical/’hard’ degree, but they don’t deny you for the sole reason of having a ‘soft’ degree.

Is an IW Officer something I am able to make into a career, or are some people ‘forced’ out when they get a little older? You can definitely make a career as an IW Officer. I’ve been in for 17 years (6 of which were before OCS) and I am taking home $96,000 a year. That’s not what I am making total, but what I am taking home. The money is great and the job is exciting. If you show good leadership and smarts, you can put in your 30 years and retire as possibly a Captain or even Admiral. If you are a good asset to the military, they will keep you.

I feel my weak spot is my cumulative gpa of 2.924, is there anything I can do to make that less noticeable? That is actually not all that bad. If you are questioned about your classes, just tell them the truth; you are in a very tough degree and taking very tough classes. Your ASTB scores are very excellent and should be looked at more than your gpa. If you can retake classes you could do that, but I’m not sure it would really be worth the effort. This is also a question you might want to point more at your recruiter.

The LCDR then ended saying something along the lines of…. You have a very strong application, and you just have to weigh your options. If you want to be more of the person in charge, you have to be a civilian or in the military. The other option is to be a contractor. If you want to be more technical, but be told what to do, go to the contractor side of things. If you want to be the person in charge, going to the contractors while also delving into projects of your own, go the military route.

I then thanked the LCDR and told him I really appreciated him answering my questions.

The LCDR was very friendly and accommodating to all my questions. He went to college for a communications degree. He told me to go ahead and call him back if I ever have any questions.

Hopefully if you are looking into IW, this post might be a little bit of help and insight for you.

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