I had one goal when I decided to leave the military. I wanted to find a job that would pay the bills, provide a good lifestyle for my family, and offer great potential for growth.
I was in the military since high school, so I knew a lot about civilian life. TAP was something I signed up for in order to learn more about my options and receive mentorship from others who had been there.
I was not even close!
I sat in a classroom for a week listening to an old man with a huge beer belly talk about how I could be a truck driver or cop.
There is nothing wrong with being truck driver. It’s a hard job. Cops can be even more dangerous than combat, but at least you know who your enemy. You see what I mean?
TAP seemed to me to be a way to help me get started in civilian life and secure my future success. Instead, I was forced to explore careers that would not allow me to achieve my goals. Truck driving may not be possible in the near future, as automation will likely eliminate it… and I didn’t want a career as a cop. Those people are required to risk their lives every single day and aren’t well paid or respected by many civilians.
You have a unique set of skills as a transitioning vet that civilians don’t have, and you can use them to your advantage. Many vets don’t realize this.
Why? You don’t know why.
You have a valuable skill set as a military veteran. You’re disciplined, coachable, results-oriented, etc. You are able to work in teams and thrive under pressure.
Do you like this?
It does! You were the most powerful military personnel on the planet. That’s a huge difference! Most civilians prefer the opposite. It can be difficult to see the difference when you surround yourself with people who have the same work ethic. Sometimes, you need someone to point it. It might seem like something you would do, but your skills are extraordinary in civilian life, especially now that people can’t spend 10 minutes without checking their social media feeds.
Your Best Option
You have two options when you leave the military: either you can go to college or you can get into a job that doesn’t require you to have a degree.
Each of these options has its own little problem. It takes typically four years to go to college. You may have your G.I. You may have your G.I., but that’s still a long way. However, those who don’t need a college degree are often not paid well and have limited growth opportunities. So, what’s the best way to go?
That would be the best thing about it! It would allow you to start your career in a field that pays all your bills right away. This offers incredible opportunities for long-term growth and doesn’t require any degree.
This field is Information Technology (IT).
It’s ideal for vets, especially if you have a security clearance. Many employers are looking for IT workers who are cleared.
Here are the basics:
Find a mentor who is an experienced veteran in information technology (someone who has held at least 200k per year).
Plan to gain hands-on technical experience and earn a vendor-agnostic certificate. This should take you between 3 and 6 months.
If someone tells you otherwise, they probably don’t know much about the traditional way to get into IT. This requires a degree. But that’s just a lot of B.S.
You can try to get into an entry-level position. These roles can be monotonous and boring at times but it is not a bad thing. You can use the time you have at work to continue learning new skills. This will allow you to learn while earning a salary and building your resume. It’s a stepping stone on your journey to advancing your career. As long as you’re hungry and willing to learn, you’ll never be stuck in this job for too long.
You can also look into apprenticeship programs. We recently partnered with Booz Allen Hamilton, LeoRose Consulting and LeoRose Consulting in order to offer an apprenticeship program supporting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Information Technology (IT). This is a great opportunity for veterans IT students to experience immersive learning and possibly a long-term job opportunity. Each apprenticeship is unique. This one, however, offers full-time W2 work (expecting approximately 40 hours per week), with potential full-time employment and over 2500 locations across the US. If you are ready to start, this application is available right now.
Once you have been promoted to an entry-level position, tell your manager that you are learning new skills and that it is time to volunteer to assist with more difficult tasks.
Ask him for any advice or suggestions regarding your career. This will help you to see the big picture and give you a better understanding of where you are going. Your managers will appreciate your dedication and hustle just like the military. You already have a remarkable work ethic so this won’t be a problem.
Information technology is a great field. If you have some experience and a certification, you can get a job that pays between 40-55k per year depending on where you live.
You could then become a network engineer and make betwee