The transition from military to civilian life can be daunting, but starting a career in the ever-growing technology industry can offer a wealth of opportunities to veterans. With the skills and values gained from their service, veterans are well-equipped to succeed in the tech sector.
Why Tech Careers Are a Good Fit for Veterans
Tech careers are a good fit for veterans for several reasons. First, they are lucrative and offer opportunities for advancement. Second, they are in high demand, with many companies struggling to find qualified candidates. Third, tech jobs often involve teamwork and problem-solving, skills that veterans are well-versed in.
So how can military veterans initiate the move into tech? We asked some of our on-staff technology experts about their journey from the military into the tech space.
Read our other article in this series found here (please insert link)
Interview with Veteran Nick Hammack
In 2007, I made the decision to put my pursuit of a college degree on hold and server my country in the United States Army. Initially I wanted to get into a technical, computer-related field in the military, but opted to change my Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) to 31B – Military Police, which was an in-need MOS at the time.
I served in Iraq from 2009-2010 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), where I had the privilege of serving as a team leader and truck commander during our mission supporting Iraqi Police in Diyala Province. It was an experience that not only propelled my growth as a human being, but as a security-minded individual. Following my deployment, I served primarily in a law enforcement capacity, with several special training exercises and special weapons testing. The culmination of which a wealth of experience and exposure that many veterans benefit from that had no one-to-one practical application to the post-military (read as: civilian) world.
After my military service, I was able to attend (and, more impressively, afford) college and immediately after started my career in IT with zero technical experience. Six years later and looking back, one might expect the college degree in software programming might have served me better in my current role, but I wholeheartedly hold that my military service – unrelated as my MOS was to tech – has served me far more substantially.
Something I see many veterans take for granted from their time in the military is the core training and values that are bestowed, grilled, and impressed upon us during our service. The attention to detail, ingraining of values like integrity, duty, and respect, and ability to stay calm in high-stress situations all adapt greatly not only to the tech field, but to the civilian world in general. When our peers are learning introductions to psychology and mathematics, we are learning patience and level-headedness in the most stressful situations we’ve ever encountered. The capabilities I gained during my military service to this day still greatly serve me in my position as a Security Engineer in a way the programming and technical classes from college never could, and I can attest that teaching the latter is far easier than the former; I am unaware of any instructor better at it than the United States military.
If you are a veteran interested in tech, my recommendation is to lean heavy into the skills and qualities granted to you by your service – skills you already have mastered today, because these are the characteristics that are more desirable, beneficial, and – especially – hard-to-find in the tech industry. If you have a passion for tech, I have no doubt that you can excel in the field. From my passion for security, I have been able to become a subject matter expert on a large list of security solutions, direct thoughtful and efficient implementations to reduce security risk, and help other security professionals grow in their own positions. Finding opportunities to mentor and teach others what you know, and to learn from the other professionals in your career, will help you excel even further.
Starting a career in tech can be a great way for veterans to transition to civilian life. With the skills and values gained from their service, veterans are well-equipped to succeed in the tech sector. There are many resources available to help veterans get the training and education they need, and to network with other veterans in tech.