After serving in the military, life does not end there. You’ll probably want to learn a new skill and change career paths. Understandably, moving into civilian life after serving your country can be a daunting task. Fortunately, you can move into IT and apply your communication, teamwork, and management skills. With this guide, you can transfer your problem-solving skills into information technology and continue serving your community.
1. Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
TAP is a program that helps members of the U.S military service transition into civilian life with their spouses and families. The program provides necessary information and training to help you conduct your life as comfortably as possible after service.
What’s more, the program has a virtual course to help veterans that cannot attend in-person classes. The entire program happens over 12 months and is divided into five parts.
Counseling: The initial counseling starts before you retire to give you an idea of what to expect from TAP and help you acquire as much as possible from the program.
Transition counseling: This is a pre-separation briefing that happens at least one year before you retire from military service. In this session, you learn about available veteran benefits, including education and employment benefits.
DoD transition day: This session focuses on helping you ground yourself and handle the military transition to civilian life. You also learn how to translate your military skills into your new career.
Specialized transition training: Since each veteran chooses a different path, this session helps you transition into your career or chapter of choice.
TAP capstone: After you’ve gone through the entire TAP program, you’ll receive certification.
2. Transferable Skills
When getting into IT after military service, it’s hard to imagine how your skills translate to a civilian job. However, your U.S military experience teaches you crucial transferrable skills you can use when finding employment.
Fortunately, the Credentialing Opportunities On-Line program, also known as the COOL program, exists for this purpose. This program is available in every military service branch and supports you through every phase of your education. You can access training manuals, textbooks, study guides, processing, and testing fees. Also, because you need more than one credential to qualify for jobs, COOL helps you obtain various certificates at a subsidized rate.
If you’re unsure of the credentials you need, the program provides advisors who guide you toward your new IT occupation. The advisors also help you identify gaps in your training and find the right resources to update you.
3. Take Advantage of Accelerated Traning Programs
Remember that you’ll be competing for jobs with civilians that have a headstart in IT. Catching up and training should be a top priority when venturing into information technology. Accelerated training boot camps, especially those sponsored by G.I. Bill, can help you acquire the right skills in a limited period.
What’s more, you enjoy tuition coverage and a stipend for your books and housing. The coding boot camps work well for anyone with a military background because they require discipline and problem-solving skills, which you already have. Be sure to get CompTIA certified to get the upper hand.
4. Explore Various Positions in IT
IT is a broad industry that requires various skills. You can train in the basics, but ensure you identify what you’d like to practice and grow with. You can start as a help desk technician and eventually develop into a support specialist and a network administrator. You can also become a coder and grow into a software or web developer.
Fortunately, the IT industry changes rapidly as new technologies and challenges evolve daily. This means that there are numerous opportunities for learning and growth. Once you dive in, you’ll always have something to look forward to and problems to solve.
5. Find Veteran Friendly Employers
After your training and transition into civilian life, your next challenge is finding a job in IT. The best way to find a job is to seek military-friendly employers. Several employers in IT appreciate the transferrable skills from military service. You’re also likely to find other veterans in the company, which makes your transition easier.
Don’t be shy about highlighting your military experience during your IT job hunt. Several companies such as Home Depot, Proctor & Gamble, and General Electric have programs that hire veterans.
Be sure to connect with recruiters that work with veterans. Such recruiters are more likely to recommend you to hirers. Also, network with IT professionals and other veterans in IT. They can mentor you through your transition and guide you to employers.
6. Change Your Talking Style
During your interviews, be sure to address civilians differently. The military has a high level of professionalism and strictness that you don’t have to carry on to your IT job. For example, you don’t have to address all seniors as Sir or Ma’am when using their names is preferable. You can also use the 12-hour clock system instead of the 24-hour clock system used in the military.
Finding The Right IT Career
With several military and veteran assistance programs, you can find the right information and tools to venture into an IT career. After training, find mentors, and accelerate your job search by networking and meeting military-friendly recruiters.