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How To Start An IT Career As A Military Veteran

How To Start An IT Career As A Military Veteran

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, around 250,000 veterans transition to civilian life each year.

Unsurprisingly, many of these service members experience difficulties transitioning from military to civilian life.

One of the veterans’ biggest challenges during this transitional period is finding employment. However, they may not know that the skills and experiences gained during their military training are transferable to careers in the tech industry.

There are plenty of career paths veterans can take after leaving active duty and finding themselves successful. One industry that veterans can excel in is information technology (IT).

IT positions are particularly suitable for veterans because those who have served in the armed forces already have experience working with technology. Additionally, IT job positions are in demand and fast-growing, and most are high-paying.

How to transition from a military career to an IT civilian career?

Military veterans who are thinking of making a transition into careers in technology will have to consider a couple of things. They will need to assess their existing skills and how they pertain to different IT positions, get appropriate training, and leverage various programs that help veterans secure a job in this expanding industry.

1. Assessing your transferable skills

It is very important to understand the hard and soft skills gained during your military experience and how they may apply to your future IT job.

For example, suppose you have previously worked in the military as an Information Technology Specialist. In that case, you have plenty of skills like monitoring and maintaining networks, software and hardware experience, and testing programs directly related to corporate IT demands.

The military hones and accelerates the development of the skills employers look upon favorably, and veterans are uniquely positioned to leverage them. Some of these skills are:

  • Integrity
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Teamwork

In the business world, these skill sets are transferable to a variety of technology roles.

2. IT training and certifications

Certifications in IT can help veterans stand out from the competition during the hiring process, as it demonstrates their dedication and motivation to a specific IT field. 

Certifications can also hold weight on resumes because they show a candidate’s knowledge of the newest practices and technologies of an ever-evolving industry.

Given their prior military experience, obtaining a certification may be all that is necessary for veterans to get employment.

Here are some certifications that can help you gain the credentials you need in information technology fields to jumpstart or further your IT career:

  • Microsoft Certified Fundamentals

Earning the AZ-900 credential demonstrates that you have a fundamental understanding of cloud computing and how to use Microsoft’s Azure platform. 

Students who pass this certificate program get a firm grasp of cloud computing concepts and are familiar with Azure’s services, workloads, security, privacy, pricing, and support.

SC-900: Security, Compliance & Identity Fundamentals certification is a great starting point for entering the Microsoft security industry.

Earning the SC-900 credential will give students a comprehensive understanding of the solutions that Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 provide that are related to cybersecurity.

Those who earn these certificates may work in technology roles as IAM Consultants, Product Specialists, Cloud Operations Engineers, Security Analysts, MS Azure Cloud Architects, and more.

  • CompTIA certifications

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) offers entry-level and advanced certifications in cybersecurity, IT networking, cloud computing, and more.

CompTIA certificates open the door to various career paths, including IT Support Technician, Network and Systems Administration, Data Analyst, Field Service Technician, and more.

  • Cisco certifications

Cisco offers training and certification at the beginner, associate, and expert levels. Cisco certifications and education include CCNA routing and switching, CCNP Data Center, DevNet Associate, and many other IT sectors.

Students who earn Cisco certificates can work in such positions as Network System Engineer (from entry to senior level), Helpdesk/Service Desk Engineer, NOC Technician, Network Engineer, and more.

  • Linux certification

Linux is an open-source OS, it can be altered to suit the needs of individual users. Due to its flexibility, Linux is quickly replacing Windows and macOS as the operating system of choice for businesses and government agencies.

Getting certified in Linux demonstrates that a person has mastered the fundamentals of this open-source platform, its technology, and servers and has extensive experience working with it. 

More and more businesses are adopting Linux, and the knowledge of it will make a candidate stand out to potential employers.

Earning this cert opens the doors to career paths like Server Administration, Network Engineering, and System Administration, among others.

  • Ethical Hacker Certification

Strong cybersecurity is more important than ever, as high-profile cyber attacks target huge corporations, resulting in massive data breaches and losses.

Candidates with the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker certificate demonstrate to employers that they have the knowledge and technical skills necessary to prevent and respond effectively to cyber-attacks and other data breaches.

Those who earn this certification can work as Security Analysts, Security Engineers, Security Consultants, and Network Engineers.

3. Employment programs for veterans

Many organizations and schools understand the importance of the smooth transition of veterans from military to civilian life and work with them to get them on the right path.

  • GI Bill: Veterans can utilize their GI Bill benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs to support their IT education.
  • VA for Vets: This website is provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as a transition center for VA careers. Veterans can use this site to find virtual job training, career and employment support, crisis line, and other services.
  • VETS: The Department of Labor provides the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) program to veterans to find training and employment. Here vets can also get career advice, find resources for spouses, and get in touch with military-friendly employers.
  • MYCC: MyComputerCareer is a military-friendly school that helps veterans transition to IT careers. The school accepts financial aid options for vets who qualify and provide career guidance, industry connections, and job opportunities.

Conclusion

As a military veteran, you have many valuable skills in the IT field. You are disciplined, motivated, and able to work well under pressure. These qualities will serve you well if you opt for this industry.

One of the best and fastest ways to get started in IT is to earn an IT certificate.

The demand for IT professionals is growing rapidly, and companies are increasingly looking to hire military veterans. With an IT certificate, you will have what it takes to stand out in a competitive job market.

If you think it is time for a career change and need more information on getting started in IT, feel free to contact us or take our free career evaluation.

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