Air Force to IT Professional : Sean Giberson’s Story
“To be honest, I went into the military because I had no clue what else I wanted to do. My father and a few of my uncles had been prior Coast Guard or Navy, but one uncle of mine was Air Force. When I would go visit him on the Air Force Bases he was stationed at (including Colorado Springs, where the Air Force Academy is located), I got a feel for what the Air Force was like more than any other branch, so that seemed like the best fit for me. I re-enlisted for the first time because I still was not sure what else to do. After that, I fell into a groove with the Air Force and decided to continue, as I was getting more and more comfortable with the military and had the opportunity to transfer to a couple of different positions that I really enjoyed. I was with the Air Force for 22 years.”
“The Air Force refers to our Job Codes as AFSC’s (Air Force Specialty Code). Mine was 2M0X1: Electro-Mechanical Missile Maintenance. I spent my first 11 years in Montana working on Minuteman II and Minuteman III nuclear missiles, then moved to the Central Coast of California and spent the next 11 years launching satellites on the Atlas II, Delta II, Titan II, and Titan IV rocket systems.”
“The hardest part about transitioning out of the military, was leaving something I knew very well. After spending 11 years working in Spacelift, I was VERY comfortable with what I knew and what I was doing. I did have a plan for myself and my family. We did a bit of research, chose what we felt was a good location, and planned out how to make the transition work. I also completed an online Pharmacy Technician program before retiring, to get a head-start on what my second career was going to be. My plan was to go to Pharmacy school and become a Pharmacist after the military.”
Transitioning from the Air Force to IT Professional
“My first job was as a Pharmacy Technician, so I could get my feet wet in that industry and gain some good on-the-job training, while also completing the prerequisite schooling need to apply to any Pharmacy School (science, math, chemistry, etc…) at a local Community College. Unfortunately, after about 4 years, as I was just ready to apply to schools, family considerations necessitated a change in plans.”
“I went back to school, got a bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies and tried to begin a legal career, but after 19 months, that was not panning out so a friend of mine offered an opportunity for me to work physical security at a Nuclear Power Plant. Once again switched career tracks and became a Nuclear Security Officer. After 11 months, I was laid off. Needless to say, that FORCED me to again look elsewhere for that elusive second career. I saw MyComputerCareer at a veteran’s career fair, came in for a consultation, and the rest is history!”
How does it feel to be where you are now?
“GREAT! I have a solid IT foundation now and, coupled with my electronics background, I feel very comfortable with growing my career and being successful with it. I went thru a few different career choices after I left the Air Force before I finally found the IT Industry, but I am so glad that I have! This career will provide me with many opportunities than what I might of had before.
Why are veterans good candidates for careers in IT?
“I think veterans are good candidates for ANY career! I look back at myself and my own experience. When I left high school, I was friendly and smart, but naive, a bit immature, and directionless. The military gave me the chance to grow up and really begin to understand what it meant to be on my own and have to take care of life myself.”
“As far as IT goes, I think veterans have a good start on this career choice because most of the jobs you might do in the military can also translate into a facet of the IT industry. I was an electronics maintainer, so that helped me with hardware.”
“Also, you can NEVER underestimate the advantage that having a security clearance will give you in this industry. There are many, many opportunities I see every day for veterans who have ANY type of clearance and who are just beginning their IT career to jump in at a much higher pay rate than might be expected and gain some valuable experience as they begin their IT career that otherwise might not present itself.”
What advice would you give someone who is transitioning out?
“Make sure you have a plan before you transition out. Take the time to know your interests and passions and look for the opportunities that will put you with them. If IT is where you want to go, do not wait! MyComputerCareer Information Technology Systems Administrator (ITSA) program will give you that solid foundation to not only allow you to confidently get into the IT industry, but it will also give you the tools to grow and the assurance to choose the avenue that fits you the best. There are many options available in the IT industry-explore as many as you can to find the best fit!
About The Author
Sean lives in Angier, NC with his wife Robin, daughter Rosemary, and their small zoo of 3 dogs and 2 cats. He enlisted in the Air Force straight out of high school, serving for 22 years (stationed in Montana & California) as an electronics maintainer before retiring in 2008 and moving to North Carolina. He spends time with his family outside of work by hiking, camping, and searching for North Carolina Culture events.
His main off-work specialty is Sports Officiating, which he has been active in for over 30 years in various sports, having officiated 5 National Championships in Fast-Pitch Softball and Football; currently, he is focusing on Fast-Pitch and Slow-Pitch Softball, Basketball, Volleyball, and Soccer throughout the year. Sean has held different electronic and IT positions over the last couple of years before, during, and after completion of the MyComputerCareer ITSA program, including desktop support, help desk, Technical Support Agent for Neonova, and Surgical Laser Technician for Fortec Medical. His current position has him as an Instructor at the Raleigh, NC campus.
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