Looking for a job? Tech companies need military veterans

Matt Saintsing
November 15, 2018 - 3:23 pm

Wrightstudio | Dreamstime

As companies vie for competitive talent in growing IT and cybersecurity fields, military veterans are vital to filling these crucial jobs, especially if they already have active security clearances. 

Contrary to popular belief, those with a military background don’t need any cyber experience. They just need to be on the hunt for their next career.  

The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA), for example, is an 18-week program that provides everything from technology training to resume writing and even interview skills to veterans. And they’re expanding the practice to 14 locations nationwide looking to recruit vets. 

“What we do is create conditions for success,” says Chris Cortez, vice president of military affairs at Microsoft and a retired Marine Maj. Gen. “By the time this program is completed, the individual participants stand a really good chance of getting not a job, (but) a career in the IT industry.”

Cortez says the program has a 93 percent graduation rate and a 95 percent employment rate, with an average starting salary of $70,000. 

He stresses that applicants come from all walks of military life, not just those with cyber or technology military jobs, and he encourages veterans interested in these career fields to apply. 

So far, 1,100 veterans have graduated from the program over the last five years, but with the addition of the new sites, Microsoft hopes to graduate 1,000 per year going forward. 

Charles Hodges, an Army veteran and senior director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring Our Heroes initiative, says the program has been immensely successful in placing vets into meaningful careers, with applicants coming infantry and transportation jobs in the military. 

 He says Microsoft transforms them into true “IT warriors.” 

And as more industries and government agencies move their operations to the cloud, there’s a growing need of IT professionals with current, active security clearances. 

“That combination of the skillset and the clearance can be like looking for a needle in a haystack out there,” says Laura Schmiegel, head of military programs at Booz Allen Hamilton. 

But one hang up can be maintaining the highly-sought after and potentially lucrative security clearances. 

For cleared vets looking to enroll in college after the military, Schmiegel says Booz Allen Hamilton has several cleared internships to keep their clearances from expiring. Once they’re gone, it can take up to 18 months or longer to renew approvals, further delaying employment. 

“If you have an active Top Secret SCI clearance right now, literally, that alone is enough to work for many, many companies,” adds Hodge. 

     Contact us about this article or share your story at gethelp@connectingvets.com.