Army Job: MOS 35Q Cryptologic Cyberspace Intelligence Collector

AT SEA - DECEMBER 30: Cryptologic Technician 1st Class, Steve Reed, prepares leaflets for distribution to Iraqi military personnel in Iraq December 30, 2002 while onboard the USS Constellation. Coalition aircraft are dropping leaflets like these primarily over southern Iraq. According to the U.S. Navy, this is the first time leaflets of this type have been printed and prepared aboard a U.S. Navy ship. Messages on the leaflets provide the Iraqi military personnel with radio frequencies to listen to for Coalition information. Other leaflets warn Iraqi antiaircraft batteries not to fire on Coalition aircraft.
Richard Moore / U.S. Navy / Getty Images

The Intelligence Occupational Specialty Career Field (35) in the Army is part of a wider Intelligence gathering group known as Military Intelligence (MI).

The jobs on this team vary from the Human Intelligence Collector who is deeply involved with gathering information directly from the enemy to the Geospatial Intelligence Imagery Analyst who observes anomalies on enemy movement and locations in video and photographs. 

The entire career field works together to create intelligence packages that help make the Special Operations and ground and air combat units easier and safer.

The Cryptologic Cyberspace Intelligence Collector/Analyst, which is military occupational specialty (MOS) 35Q, requires a highly intelligent soldier capable of finding hidden or secret messages within a computer, written, voice, or video communication. The term "cryptology" is derived from the Greek word, "cryptos" meaning "hidden or secret."

Duties of MOS 35Q

To be successful in this job, an understanding of foreign culture, language, and mannerisms of enemy communications is important. Skills and experience in computers, wireless communications, and secure networking databases also are critical to MOS 35Q 

Some of the day-to-day work in this job includes operating automated data processing (ADP) equipment for both remote and local collection. These soldiers develop and maintain databases of information used to locate and identify potential targets, and they prepare time-sensitive reports in support of cryptological network warfare operations

Training Information for MOS 35Q

Job training for this very intense role includes ten weeks of Basic Combat Training (commonly referred to as "boot camp") and 26 weeks — almost six months — of Advanced Individual Training (AIT). This training takes place at the Naval Air Station Pensacola Corry Station, which is the home of the Army 334th Military Intelligence Battalion.

Eligibility for MOS 35Q

As you might imagine, it's not easy to qualify to be a crypto analyst. First, you'll need a minimum score of 112 in the skilled technical (ST) area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests. 

You'll also need to be able to qualify for a top secret security clearance, due to the sensitive nature of the work performed by MOS 35Q. You have to be a U.S. citizen and have a record free of felony convictions or arrests, or a history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Top secret applicants fill out the Department of Defense questionnaire, which requires a detailed history of employment, former residences, and any overseas travel. Your finances will be investigated, and you'll be expected to provide references who can vouch for your character.

And finally, to get that top secret clearance, you'll be subject to medical and psychological exams, which may include a polygraph test. You'll be tested for illegal drugs as well. 

Similar Civilian Occupations to MOS 35Q

Much of the work you'll do in this Army job is specific to the military. But the top-secret security clearance will help you qualify for a career with government agencies such as the National Security Agency or the FBI. Note that DoD top secret clearances are good for five years before they need to be renewed (which involves another investigation).