Transitioning from the military into civilian life is a time of uncertainty for most service members. Besides leaving behind a familiar environment, you will have to find well-earning job opportunities for survival. Fortunately, IT is one of the emerging industries for veterans. Most military skills can easily be transferred into tech jobs, especially with the surge in payment options, incentives, and scholarships for veterans looking to venture into the tech industry.
Why Veterans Do Well in Tech
Over time, the tech industry has emerged among the top lucrative fields, fueled by designers, developers, software engineers, data analysts, and more, working on various tasks beyond coding. Besides, there is a surge in demand for technology and computer skills on the market. Veterans retire with essential skills that are applicable in the civilian IT world.
The majority of military roles involve using technology and machinery, especially with the current transformation of military equipment. Therefore, with experience working with technological stuff, switching into the tech field after retiring is a no-brainer. However, even without preceding tech experience, acquired military experience, such as teamwork, problem-solving skills, and discipline, offer great preparation for challenging jobs in technology.
That aside, the tech industry offers a wide range of careers, including software development, cybersecurity professionals, and data science, among others. Therefore, unlike the army, veterans can choose and design their preferred careers with their previous military experience.
That said, veterans looking for an almost equal replacement of their military job should consider employment in the technology industry. Besides being a fulfilling career, it provides a great opportunity to use the valuable experience gained during military service.
How Veterans Can Learn to Code
As a veteran, you can leverage several routes into the tech industry. However, you should consider the number of hours you are willing to devote to studying and your preferred job type. Among the options include;
Attending a coding Bootcamp is among the popular ways of breaking into a career in technology. Likened to a military Bootcamp, coding bootcamps are short yet intensive training programs that equip learners with a specific skill set. Unlike college degrees that focus on theory, bootcamps only teach the practical skills required in the labor market.
Coding bootcamps are a great option for veterans as they take a few weeks. As such, veterans can start earning shortly after retiring from active service. Besides, most bootcamps provide comprehensive support that helps graduates land well-paying jobs. The support includes career counseling, interview practice, and resume services. This explains why bootcamps have a high-job replacement rate.
Bootcamps emphasize programming languages and other fundamentals that graduates will most likely encounter as they transition into a full-time job in tech. They are also cheaper than other alternative routes into tech. However, you should find a coding Bootcamp that provide training aligning to your specific career in tech.
Going for a college degree is a comparably traditional method of getting into tech. Most people prefer computer science degrees as employers favor graduates and can command higher salaries than those without university qualifications. It is also generally a safer path to a successful tech career since most tech executive jobs require degrees.
Key differences between a coding Bootcamp and college degrees are in the price and the study period. Coding bootcamps can cost an average of $13,500 and takes a maximum of 15 weeks. On the other hand, university degrees cost between 60,000 and $70,000 annually for four years. While some community colleges offer cheap programs, they cost as low as $20,000. That said, veterans retiring from active duty might not afford such huge payments.
Learning how to code by yourself is possible. So to say, most successful programmers are self-taught, having learned their skills through online coding courses, books, and tutorials. Veterans can consider this alternative if it suits their preferred learning style. However, it is disadvantageous since there is no official accreditation.
How Veterans Can Find their First Tech Job
With the necessary coding skills, veterans can find tech jobs through one of the following ways;
- Demonstrating skills – being a veteran, you don’t have the traditional background that other applicants looking for tech jobs have. As such, you should demonstrate your skills to potential employers through projects and portfolios.
- Networking – connecting with veterans who successfully transitioned into tech can help you land your first job. You can learn from their experiences and advice on scaling higher in tech.
- Believe in your skills – veterans should also be confident in their skills, abilities, and experience. They shouldn’t be intimidated as they transition from the military to the civilian world.
Opting for a career in technology is an excellent choice for veterans. All military personnel have great interpersonal skills required to thrive well in technical environments. Veterans also have a strong work ethic and problem-solving skills, highly valued in the technology sector. That aside, veterans can leverage several methods to fund their training in technology skills. The G.I Bill benefits is a common option as it exclusively helps veterans looking to transition from active service into civilian life.
Veterans can also apply for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship or VET TEC funding to cover their learning costs. Beyond these veteran-specific financial aids, other payment options include applying for a college scholarship, Bootcamp scholarship, and personal loans to fund their education.