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Veterans Transitioning into The Technology Industry: Part 3

Posted: Nov 2023

In our ongoing series highlighting the transition of veterans into the dynamic world of technology, we are thrilled to bring you an exclusive interview with Cat Trevino. A true testament to the adaptability of veterans, Cat’s journey from military service to a thriving career in the tech industry sheds light on the unique skills and experiences that make veterans exceptionally well-suited for this fast-evolving field. Join us as we delve into Cat’s experiences, insights, and the valuable contributions veterans bring to the tech sector, as we continue to celebrate the remarkable stories of those who have served our country and are now serving the digital future.

Interview with Veteran Cat Trevino

  • What aspects of your military service have helped you build a career in tech, and what are some new skills you have developed since you left the service?

My transition from Former U.S. Marine Veteran to civil life took place in 2012. Growing up in Texas, I knew my return to the state would be inevitable after my service. I based my decision to San Antonio due to the availability of local colleges in the city. I began professional work in the career of IT in 2015. Along the way I learned people skills, technical skills, and knowledge retention through documentation. The military taught me to take initiative and assert yourself when possible. The IT roles I took on involved firsthand troubleshooting and I would need to apply initiative to see an issue all the way through. The process taught me to take ownership of the issue reported from end users, and I used empathy to put myself in their shoes. Another trait I learned in the military was to be aware of your environment for threats and other factors that influence your goal of helping the customer. This translated to correctly identifying issues to escalate to the next tier of IT. I would use my communication skills to review and replicate the reported issue. By listening and applying awareness, I would find the root of the issue. 

2. What advice would you give to fellow veterans who are looking to build a career in the tech sector?

Building a career in IT is like building a home. The first step is write down your long-term goals and steps to achieve those goals. For me, that was to work towards a formal education in Information Technology. I took completed an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree with a concentration of Cyber Security. To work in the Cyber Security field, one must have a basic understanding of how IT works, and basic information is vital to troubleshoot end user issues. Just like building a home, your foundation will be your education or your firsthand experience with an entry level position such as helpdesk technician. I worked as a helpdesk tech for 5 years and received exposure to all facets of IT including, networking, cabling infrastructure, server management and PC onboarding and management. Additionally, a certification in IT can be valuable. The first certificate to aim for in Comp Tia A+. This exam ensures you have a foundation knowledge in supporting IT infrastructure. After A+, the next recommended certification is the Comp Tia Security +. To supplement the certifications, networking with Security professionals is a fantastic way to learn about new opportunities and trends within the field. A degree or formal experience is not a requirement to join a local Cyber Security group. I highly encourage you to spend time with a security professional and ask about their journey to their position and gain insight into what education or experience was necessary to reach their goals.

3. Tell us more about how you served your country, and your current role at Bridgehead IT.

During my service in the Marine Corps, I worked on in Aviation Supply. My daily tasks would be to inventory a warehouse, maintenance logs of outgoing inventory, receive and process deliveries and report on any discrepancies to management. My current role at Bridgehead IT is a Security Analyst. A Security Analyst is an advance role in the career of IT. In an enterprise environment, IT departments depend on the Security resource to provide insight on how security standards and policies. My current role will respond to threats, malware remediation, and secure cloud and local networks. I work with Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, Microsoft Sentinel and Azure Cloud environments. Additionally, I collaborated with a team for Incident Response to stop a threat as soon as reported. The basics of what a security analyst does is to assess active threats, prevent spread of threats and secure a network. We use a wholistic approach to IT security with the goal to secure networks against vulnerabilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a job growth for Cyber Security to increase over 35% over the next 10 years. Cyber Security is in high demand the most professional resources are needed to respond efficiently to threats.  

Conclusion

In conclusion, the tech industry stands as a welcoming avenue for veterans seeking to transition into civilian life. Leveraging the invaluable skills and principles cultivated during their service, veterans emerge as inherently equipped individuals poised for success in the technology sector. Fortunately, a wealth of resources exists, facilitating access to essential training, education, and networking opportunities for veterans embarking on this journey. The fusion of their unique experiences and the vast possibilities in tech not only enriches their own professional paths but also contributes to the industry’s diversity and innovation. It’s a powerful convergence, where the past meets the future, creating a landscape where veterans in tech thrive and make an enduring impact.

Check out part 1 and part 2 of our series to learn more!

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