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  • #2289815

    changing from military to civilian


    by mcdowell ·

    I’m currently in the arny with nine years experience in computer repair and upgrade,LANs, PC configuration, information security, helpdesk,and telecomunictions. I’ll be leaving the army soon and was wondering with my experince what field should I be looking at. All my training is through the military or self taught.

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    • #2703905

      There is hope

      by black panther ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I left the Air Force in 1985 after a six year stint. Whilst I was in we costantly talked about how hard it might be to find employment after leaving.

      I am lucky enough now to have a Government job in IT and have no UNI degree – have learnt from the school of hard knocks.

      To tell you my personal opinion I believe that Qualifications aren’t everything — ( not saying they do not help ) but I would back experience anyday.

      Personal characteristics and attitude have just as much say as qualifications and experience.

      Good luck

      • #2703901

        Apply for IT in a government position

        by pgm554 ·

        In reply to There is hope

        Being EX miltary gives you a step up in the bid process.

        IT sucks right now in the private sector and isn’t getting any better.(Hear that GW?)

        You get gravy points for being a vet,use it to your advantage.

        Not much downsizing in the GOV these days.

        • #2703897

          One more year and then it’s all down hill to becoming a 20 yr. man.

          by sleepin’dawg ·

          In reply to Apply for IT in a government position

          Think carefully before you jump. A pension is nice insurance to have when the job markets tighten up as they tend to do from time to time.

        • #2703888

          jumping is what got me here

          by mcdowell ·

          In reply to One more year and then it’s all down hill to becoming a 20 yr. man.

          I’m sorry but I forgot to mention that I’m alrady retiring with 50% of my base paY and all my benefits not something I’m proud of because I ‘m being medically discharged do to a back injury that lead to a failed fusion. I’m still able to do the office work but physical and tactical training are not something I’m still able to do bcecause of the haerdware in my back. Believe me I’m proud to this country and will be sad very sad when come time to leave the brothers I have mad. What I’m to figure out is what would be a good field for me to go into with my skills learned in the military. I Would like to thank you for your advice alot of t hese young guys have this impression that the grass is greener if you know what I mean.

        • #3296015

          IT After military

          by jkellock ·

          In reply to jumping is what got me here

          I suggest contacting ISPs, vendors, and contractors who do military work. Your familiarity with the systems would be and advantage, as will any security clearances you have or may be able to obtain more easily with the military background. And you wouldn’t have to go cold turkey on the military environment you feel you’d miss in retirement.

        • #3295914

          Higher standards

          by ashembers ·

          In reply to IT After military

          It’s been my experience as a Ghost support tech that when I would speak to the military admins, they always held themselves (or were held by their superiors) to a higher standard than the regular certified admins. You all had more ducks in a row, thought ahead more often, and tested more. I felt envious of your environment, though it must have been stressful – it most likely taught you good habits more often than not. Be cognizant of that – it is your edge over the rest of us. Any company worth its weight in salt would see that.


        • #3296810

          Certifications may help

          by drfthompson ·

          In reply to IT After military

          I was released from active duty after 12 years and finished up my 22 years in the reserve. Without at least an A+ certification, you may have trouble getting an entry-level job in the civilian sector with the job market as it is today. If you have documentable skills in network administration and network security, you might have a shot. Especially if you know someone in the organization you want to join. According to Federal Computer Week, the government may have jobs available and will give you points for your military experience.

          On the whole, having certifications (MCSE, MCSA, A+, Network+, etc. can give you an edge over other, less qualified candidates. Use your GI Bill to get the necessary certifications.

        • #3295056

          IT After military

          by fireit ·

          In reply to IT After military

          Many of the ideas offered so far are very good points, in my opinion. I spent three years doing IT for the Army until last December, and was trying to decide between that and my current field. Believe it or not, the thing that got me hired on the DoD fire department, was my military IT skills (same as you, all hands-on experience and self learned). Yes, my fire certs helped, but they were looking for someone that knew the systems, the DOIM personnel, etc.
          That said, your military background check won’t transfer over, you will still have to re-do that at CPOC, but like everyone said, the vet. pref helps, along with the knowledge of the equip.
          Feel free to shoot me an email offline if you wish.

        • #3295055

          IT After military

          by fireit ·

          In reply to IT After military

          Many of the ideas offered so far are very good points, in my opinion. I spent three years doing IT for the Army until last December, and was trying to decide between that and my current field. Believe it or not, the thing that got me hired on the DoD fire department, was my military IT skills (same as you, all hands-on experience and self learned). Yes, my fire certs helped, but they were looking for someone that knew the systems, the DOIM personnel, etc.
          That said, your military background check won’t transfer over, you will still have to re-do that at CPOC, but like everyone said, the vet. pref helps, along with the knowledge of the equip.
          Feel free to shoot me an email offline if you wish.

        • #3296495

          Be Comforted by your skills

          by brownst38 ·

          In reply to IT After military

          As a retiree (7 years). And remaining around military installations I have been able to build a second career in IT. Having the DOD contractors pay for my MCSE educational benefits. And when the IT market was dry I have been able to fall back to my military skills for employment.

          Some areas of employment to be wary of; IT contractor at Navy sites. With current NMCI staffing the pay is not even to industry standards, although it would give you a valuable starting point to get the certification using educational benefits provided by some contractors.

        • #3295861

          The key to the jump is preparation

          by a_greiner ·

          In reply to jumping is what got me here

          Been there – done that, and I wish I had had some better advice when I got out.
          What I found is that 90% of my certs did not equate in the civilian world. I spent a lot of time getting certifications in the real world that, if I had gotten them before I got out, would have led to higher career tracks out of the gate.
          Second, get all of your transcripts from college level courses and tech schools together and get with the education office to verify as many credits as possible, so that you can get as big a jump as possible on your grad or post grad degree.
          And last, try to have a decent cushion in the bank to allow you to have the time to investigate the possible career tracks that are available (the best ones may not show up at first) and tidy up any educational or certificational loose ends that you may have. I used a resume writer and a career placement service. It took a couple of months, but I eventually found an excellent position that was well suited to my background.
          I wish you the best in your future!!

        • #3296793

          You Have Valuable Assets

          by jthomson60016 ·

          In reply to jumping is what got me here

          Sorry to hear about your injury; thank you for your service.

          When I got out in 1978 my military tech training was enough to get me several good offers from electronics companies. I think things are much more difficult now (I’ve been out of work for 2 years, so I KNOW they are more difficult!) but you do have assets that any employer would find valuable.

          Your active Security Clearance, for example. If you apply to any government contractor, or the Gov. itself, your clearance makes you a quite attractive candidate. Contractors HATE to hire a guy and THEN request a clearance for him, it can take months to get and until then the new hire is limited in what jobs he can perform.

          My suggestion, pick where in the country you want to live, then contact the potential employers located there. Also, there is a job board devoted exclusively to ex-military that you should investigate. It is a free service, run by vets for vets. I’m sorry, I can’t recall the name off the bat but Google should find it quickly enough.

          Good luck.

        • #3294994

          Valuable assest to be sure.

          by jgagnon1 ·

          In reply to You Have Valuable Assets

          “Contractors HATE to hire a guy and THEN request a clearance for him, it can take months to get and until then the new hire is limited in what jobs he can perform.” Months is on the short end of the scale… We are talking a year or two depending on the level, Background checks and Polys needed. Being a Network Admin who achieved his degree after getting out of the Marines, I can tell you that I actively LOOK for prior service especially if they hold current clearances. Get with me off line and lets see if your goals meet up with my needs.

        • #3296077

          Over the Hill

          by richards_unsubcribe ·

          In reply to One more year and then it’s all down hill to becoming a 20 yr. man.

          From the souond of it you are probably over 40 so think carefully before you jump… IT tends to be a younger mans world and you will find systemic ageism deeply rooted in the private sector. Most companies try to hire people who will “fit” into their particular corporate culture. Often a high energy fast paced environment means a culture of youg people who work hard together and to a certain extent play hard together…Christmas, the bbq’s and summer picnics. Employers look for that…and often the fit means far more than the actual job qualifications. Age and demographics play a big part in making that “fit”… just look at other countries … the Middle East or Asia. There employers often look for narrow age groupings, sometimes only 5 years wide, for their hires because they know these people will fit well in their particular organization. Ageism may be against the law, but it is rampant and uiversal in high tech. Be careful and have a good job lined up before you jump.

        • #3296000

          Over the hill bah

          by alexwelker ·

          In reply to Over the Hill

          I have to disagree slightly with you on the ageism. I have seen several 40-50 yr old men get hired over an up and comer. It’s not the fast paced environment that gets you, it’s the attitude you present to the clients when your tasked with something. As well as the personality you present when in an interview. When I’m hiring I’m looking for eagerness to learn, client support skills, experience and flexibility. I don’t worry about qualificaitons, nor do I care about age. I could care less if your interested in the company picnic, most IT professionals I’ve worked with dread that sort of thing, sure happy hours are fun but my no means neccessary. I want someone I can count on providing support, not someone that is fun to drink with. Just like I’d rather have a krusty old Gunny next to me in the hole than a boot LT. who just got out of rifle qual.

        • #3295941

          Ageism Rules !

          by alpha2004 ·

          In reply to Over the hill bah

          The problem with being an older person, anyone over 35, is not what you are capable of or even how you see yourself: itis how others perceive you.

          While I can only speak for the position in the UK I understand it is the samein other countries.

          The perception of anyone over 35 is that they are set in their ways and their knowledge is outdated; they will also find it difficult working with the younger generation.

          Similarly a person out of the armed forces will be unable to work on their own initiative as they are so used to working under orders.

          While I appreciate that the above are generalisations years of studying the job market tell me they are unfortunately commonly held.

          The best you can hope for is to work for a small company in order to prove your capabilities in civilian life and then either stay with the company as it expands or move on.

        • #3295933

          I disagree

          by fernbowers ·

          In reply to Ageism Rules !

          It is all relavtive. I’m a 44 year old woman completing a masters and working in IT. The miltary has given me a since of work ethic. Also, you learn leadership informatin. Not all folks in the milary are stupid.
          Age is no problem. If you got the credentials, education, etc… You will get hired.
          Employers will hire ex-military faster than civilians. So, please keep the faith and proclaim
          your job. Trust me, you will get hired.
          Work in the Washington DC area. Job market is soaring. As a matter of fact, I can forward your resume.
          Send it!!!! I just dont talk it, I can back it up!!!

        • #3296891


          by cdgun ·

          In reply to Ageism Rules !

          You are misinformed about the military, I have 14 years in and seldom does anyone tell me what I must do. Initiative is what makes the US Army the best in the world although I can?t speak about the UK. Also military technologies are the fore front of the industry and if you think about it I now work for the largest security company in the world and also provide internet service for a more than a dozen of my fellow soldiers in a remote location of the world through a personally owned and operated satellite system in my free time, by the way I?m 35 and a CCNA, in six years I will be retired hold a CCIE and be starting my own business. But then again I have no initiative… As the saying goes “Old Age and Treachery will overcome Youth and Skill” – Unknown.

        • #3297345

          You obviously have not dealth with the military

          by leikam ·

          In reply to Ageism Rules !

          “Similarly a person out of the armed forces will be unable to work on their own initiative as they are so used to working under orders.”

          You have got to be kidding me. You obviously know NOTHING about the military. What makes you think that soldiers simply follow orders all day? I guess this means you have no one over you and you are all knowing and doing? Just because soldiers have supervisors (like almost EVERY other field) does not mean they aren’t self starters. As someone with almost 20 years in the military I personally take offense.

        • #3318549

          Ageism Rules??

          by novicenovice1 ·

          In reply to Ageism Rules !

          Although I can’t agrue much with your years of studies with the job market, I don’t necessarily agree with you on the point you made of a retired servicemember’s option in IT is a small company or of the sort. I find numerous veterans on just about every American military base around the world working hand-in-hand with active IT administrators in the service. Unfortunately, some of stereotypes for older veterans circulate the private IT sector. A number of factors equate to the success of any future IT pro. Anyway, good luck.

        • #3295936

          Can I work for YOU

          by fernbowers ·

          In reply to Over the hill bah

          Alex, you sound like a great Leader. However, not all mangers are like you. I worked at
          a Corporation that was exactly the what was previous describes. I had a female boss, no degree
          and not technical. She like to smoke and do drinks
          after work. Although, that was not my thing, she supported and gave raises only to people that hung out with her on smoke breaks, etc.

          I was an ex-military female with Unix experiance working on all sorts of projects. Even, going beyond the call of duty to give extra support, on the weekends, to my projects. For four years she did not give me a raise. She took care of all the
          people that were smoking a drinking with her.
          Needless to say, I have moved on. I have jumped leaps and bounds in my career after leaving that sad place in Delware. So, Alex, you are exception to the rule.
          I too am an ex-Army. So you can understand my work ethic.

        • #3295927

          36 yr old student hoping against ageism

          by aceskaraoke ·

          In reply to Over the hill bah

          I hope ageism isn’t so rampant as you say it is. Chose IT as a career field hoping to avoid that. I was under the impression that experience and education would weigh most heavily. Luckily, I am a very young 36, but I hate to see ageism affect anybody in any profession. McDowell, good luck in the private sector. A friend of mine had the same misfortune of stepping out of a heli and finding out that the human body will bounce more than once upon landing, though it is not recommended in the owner’s manual. He has extensive experience with communications and networking, and is now an instructor at ITT (and very happy about it). Thumbs up for giving your all to your country, too few do. Sorry, you have to leave your brothers in arms, but know that there can be life after the military and hopefully you’ll meet up with them over a beer after their time is done. Can’t imagine there aren’t several companies in the private sector who wouldn’t be willing to take a chance on a nine year veteran with your experience. Good Luck.

        • #3295913


          by fernbowers ·

          In reply to 36 yr old student hoping against ageism

          Your correct Aces. Education and experiance does
          weigh heavy. However, if your in the military
          it is hard to see what is evident out side.

        • #3295904

          Probably Best

          by aceskaraoke ·

          In reply to 36 yr old student hoping against ageism

          Probably best thing that military men are unsure of life in the private sector. Wouldn’t want ’em all jumping ship or focusing on life after and getting a limb blown off. Would be nice if military would address their disabled about future avenues they may pursue. McDowell probably wouldn’t be asking us if they did and would have several fear alleviated by this. Of course, it is hard to seek advice about a change you don’t want to make from the people you don’t want to leave.

        • #3295888

          Over the hill – Bah!

          by datorman ·

          In reply to Over the hill bah

          I fully agree with Alex. I was 57 when I hired into the I.T. Dept. of our local school district and I had been retired from a large telecommunications corporation for nearly two years. I had no certifications, only experience and a strong customer-oriented attitude.

        • #3296803

          Definition of Ageism

          by projectworker ·

          In reply to Over the hill bah

          The problem here isn’t a few manager’s hiring policies but the general trend. Ageism is not just that an exceptional older person is overlooked in favour of a mediocre younger person (this is probably not that common – though there have been heated discussions of being eliminated for consideration of a job because of over qualification) – but when there are two candidates where the elder is better – but not amazingly better, the younger candidate will get the job despite being less qualified because of ‘fit’. The ‘fit’ argument has been use for justifiying other things such as racism, sexism, classism – i.e. ‘just not one of us’. I know colleagues who despite being older have no problem getting jobs but this is in a large part due to their networking skills, strong personalities and exceptional skills – i.e. they are stars in their areas. Not everyone is a star and many good competent people are overlooked in favour of the ‘fit’ argument. In many european countries it is perfectly legal to advertise jobs with an age range attached. Richard Bolles in his book “What colour is your parachute?” covers this – the non-standard candidate and how to address the hiring manager’s hidden worries (i.e. could you work for a manager younger then yourself etc). Work has always had a social component – and is some companies/departments – this is one of major drivers in deciding who get’s hired/promoted.

        • #3295940

          Great Advice

          by fernbowers ·

          In reply to Over the Hill

          Richard, your 100% correct in what your saying.
          On the commercial side this is very true.

        • #3296679

          18 + 9 > 40?

          by stress junkie ·

          In reply to Over the Hill

          Arithmetic sure is tough isn’t it?

        • #2703893

          depends what you mean by downsizing

          by black panther ·

          In reply to Apply for IT in a government position

          Have of the Gov in IT are Contractor’s and seems to be getting worse. That’s the bit they don’t tell you!

          I would say that it’s hard to get into IT ( in Australia ) in general. I bet they don’t tell all the UNI grads that when they are finishing their degree?

        • #3295906

          so true

          by fernbowers ·

          In reply to depends what you mean by downsizing

          It is crzay out here. The job market.
          Information Security is a good option.

        • #3296053


          by my4deuces ·

          In reply to Apply for IT in a government position

          I agree with most that taking the first step into the civilian sector, after being in the military for numerous years, can leave you feeling a bit apprehensive. But from what I’ve read of your situation, you don’t have a choice. I too left the military with medical problems and receive a disability percentage. This can work to you advantage, depending upon which avenue you choose to take. I would suggest that you first try to find a job with some governmental agency, as you get points for your disabilities and are given first consideration when being considered for these positions. I would suggest this a good starting point because of the benefits associated with your disabilities. I’ll bet that no one has talked with you regarding your entitlements, especially if your disability is military related. Just as point, if your disability is military related, you are entitled to education assistance from the VA under the Veteran’s Rehab Program. Under this program 100% or your education costs are paid for by the VA along with a monthly allowance, which is determined by the number of dependents you have. I retire after 22 years service and did not have my degree or certs, however, I was fortunate and got a job working with the government contractor in our headquarters. I am not ashamed to say that I retired with a disability and I that I used the VA Rehab Program to get my degree, these are benefits that I earned doing my military duties.

        • #3295876

          Military Disability is Two-Edged Sword

          by txtopgun ·

          In reply to my4deuces

          I can speak from experience that revealing your military connected disability, though it is supposed to be to your advantage by law, is not always a good idea when dealing with government agencies. Sure you get points for it but they also require you to provide them with the COMPLETE documentation concerning your disability. At least in dealing with the US Postal Service, I the documentation of my disabilities was quoted verbatim for their reason I was not qualified to hold ANY position in the post office; not carrier, not sorter, not counter worker, not IT work, not motor carrier, not mail handler, and the list goes on. They even quoted things that would never be revealed in any employment physical, such as irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, and obstructive sleep apnea. When was the last time someone had to do a sleep study as part of an employment physical?

          By the way, I was considered highly qualified for every one of the positions but was disqualified because of my military disabilities.

          One other thing to look out for in this regard is the fact that once you pass a 30 percent disability rating by the VA you enter a different employment approval process. Anyone 30 percent or lower can be approved by the specialist in the personnel department. Past that, you have to be approved by NO LOWER authority than the Chief of Personnel Management. In my experience, this amounted to a rubber stamp disapproval with no recourse. I went as high as the Regional Director and nobody would even meet with me.

          This first thing everyone told me was I should file an equal opportunity complaint. There were however a couple of problems with that avenue as well. First I was told that since the Postal Service is a direct government agency they did not fall under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

          Upon further investigation, the EEO laws specify that to file an EEO complaint you must first contact the agency’s EEO section and follow their procedures for filing the complaint. HOWEVER, the US Postal Service EEO section said they did not discuss complaints with ANYONE until they received the written complaint in the proper format through the proper channels. Sounded like a Catch-22 to me and that is where I decided to drop it.

          Just for the record, the USPS was not the only agency where I ran into similar rules. Also included were the US Air Force (from which I retired with 22 years experience and was told I was not even qualified for a civil service position higher than possibly a GS-3), US Army, State of Texas, City of Austin, and the City of San Antonio. I have volumes of documentation and as a result am now considered unemployable.

          Bottom line, laws are all well and good but only if you can find a way of getting around the loopholes when it comes to Government Agencies.

        • #3296001

          Three things

          by paulyj ·

          In reply to Apply for IT in a government position

          I changed from military to private sector in 01, Jobs were extremely tight then, not a great deal better now. A well written resume can be difficult documenting your military career in civilian terms. The same goes for jargon when you are interviewing. Attitude is what seemed to make it for me during interviews. Good luck

        • #3295852

          Secret Clearance+IT knowledge=job security

          by rhopper1 ·

          In reply to Apply for IT in a government position

          If you are departing the armed forces with a Secret Clearance and IT knowledge; Inside or Outside plant, TCF and/or Admin, you can easily get a job with a military contractor doing support with Iraqi freedom or Enduring Freedom. The Secret Clearance means you don’t have to compete with Indians and others, because they can’t get the needed clearance. The salary level can be high, but so can be the danger level.

        • #3255710

          You are a little misguided I think!!!

          by kevaburg ·

          In reply to Apply for IT in a government position

          The government may not be downsizing but it certainly is outsourcing! And although might get “gravy points” for being a vet, it won’t help in the Government sector. They are too close knit and almost at the point of being imbred!

          My advice: Contract yourself out. If your skills are good then you will get the work. The amount of sweat, blood and tears shed over finding work for experienced pros is unreasonable considering what they have to offer.

      • #2703843

        thanks subtropicalmist

        by mcdowell ·

        In reply to There is hope

        Those were very encouraging words and let’s me know there is still some kind of hope. I would like to say thank you for your input.

      • #3296007

        Get the certs.

        by johns ·

        In reply to There is hope

        When I left the military I thought that my experiences would qualify me for work in the civilian world.

        The answer I got more often than not was… “Sorry, we can not verify your military experience.”

        If I had it to do over, I’d get the certs through the education center on your post before getting discharged. This way the military picks up most or all of the costs.

        • #3295931

          A college degree is the deal!!!

          by fernbowers ·

          In reply to Get the certs.

          Certs are great!!! Get the degree.

        • #3296889

          CISSP is a particularly good cert

          by r.f.hanlon ·

          In reply to Get the certs.

          I notice that you’ve done some data security in your travels. Around the DC area, that’s a hot skill, especially if it’s backed up with a Certified Information Systems Security Professional certificate, issued by (ISC)2. Have a look at the ISC-squared web site for details. That plus a security clearance ia a real meal ticket in these parts, and age doesn’t matter.
          Good hunting!
          -Bob Hanlon, CISSP

      • #3295840

        My experience

        by lytlejeva ·

        In reply to There is hope

        I retired over 10 years ago from the Air Force. Although my specialty wasn’t IT, I picked up experience in the do-it-yourself category, and lending assistance categories. When I retired, one of my job options was to explore IT as a career. I was picked up by a major company not just for my IT experience but also for my Senior NCO qualities. Seemed the company needed that for the position I was to fill. I started out being a junior tech, but quickly learned and am now a senior tech, and still with the same company. My point is, don’t dismiss your leadership and management qualifications, regardless of the career path you eventually take.

      • #3294938

        You can do it

        by s_hunnicutt ·

        In reply to There is hope

        Sorry for the Title, but whatever you want you can get. I left the navy in Japan around the end of 2000. I have somtimes had a problem trying to change jobs, but only from the language at some places. I have had friends become Military contractors from connections made while in the Military. You should not have any problems, unless they are personal ones.

    • #2703891

      Think before you jump

      by franktech ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      OK which Army.
      If I were you I would try and get some type of university qualifications through the Army before leaving. Your probably getting decent pay while your still in the forces.
      There are so many unemployed qualified people looking for IT work (in Australia)
      With your experience and some legitimate quals you would have the advantage over most people.

      • #2703890

        I Agree

        by black panther ·

        In reply to Think before you jump

        I agree – unless you have to get out for some reason consider staying in.

      • #2703867

        Back when I got out…

        by skidoggeruk ·

        In reply to Think before you jump

        If you do some research, you may find that you may be able to get some credits towards a degree through “experience points”, I recall that some places would do this with documentation from your service schools and, I believe, some would require you sit some exams to prove your experience. (If I remember right, some would kindly let you pay the full credit fee for the sake of you sitting said exam. Which is kinda fair enough, I suppose.)You may find that you may be due some form of funding for further education as part of your leaving package. If you are talking about the U.S. military, you could check out for advise. Speak to your chain of command for advise, you might be surprised. Well, you never know.

        For what is worth, I managed to create a career, without any creditation, through some years of hard work and determination. This was back some time ago now, when the IT market was booming however.

        • #2703844


          by mcdowell ·

          In reply to Back when I got out…

          just like to say thanks to Skidoggeruk for the advice and positive note. Also for just being honest.

    • #2703762

      Steps to Employability

      by delbertpgh ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      First, if you have any opportunity at all, take a course in accounting. Any elementary Accounting-101 will be fine. A course in project management would be very helpful. Half of all the programming that happens (and most of management) is about accounting. Whenever programmers and engineers work in groups toward achievement of common goals they define the work to be done and the schedule for doing it and the way they will know they are successful in terms of project management. If you have accounting and PM under your belt you are much better prepared to meet the unknown. Guys who hire you, no matter what the job, will appreciate that. Even guys who do no programming, but set up the networks and servers, are essential parts of project teams.

      If you get a bachelor’s in comp sci or business some day that would be great, but any major at all is good. Don’t worry too much about what courses you take, because nobody’s going to look at your transcript. Degree beats no degree, and experience often trumps the degree.

      There are so damn many jobs out there that I can’t say what you should try to do. The same job can be very different from company to company and industry to industry. Try to narrow it down, by looking at a company you’d like to work for, and a job you’d like to do. Then find out what they look for in a candidate. If you go looking for something that will make you happy, you are much more likely to be pleased with what you find.

      To some extent you can do this when you go out for job interviews. Don’t just be interviewed; interview the company. Ask the interviewer, if he’s in the computer department and not just a Human Resources guy, what he does and what his department does, and what the company is like, and keep after him until he’s ready to throw you out. Actually, if you behave like you’re genuinely interested in what he’s saying and encourage him to talk about himself, he’s likely to conclude that you’re a pretty smart cookie. He might even hire you based on that.

      There’s a pretty high tide of patriotism and kind feeling toward sevicemen these days, and you may find that people are happy to help you out. See if you can talk to people from firms around your base, and tell them: I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, I want to know how to package myself so I can get a job, and I’m starting from this. You may get interviews and good advice, even where you don’t expect to be hired.

      • #3296013

        Its not as bad as it appears

        by itadmin ·

        In reply to Steps to Employability

        I left the military after 22 years. I worked on weapons systems, not many of those in backyards. Used my VA benefits, got a few Certs and have been working in the IT field. My advise is to narrow your training or find something you like and focus on that. The IT market is tight, so focus on an area of IT you like and become an expert. You might start out at a position below your skill level but its your foot in the door. Start networking with your peers and everything will work out, it always does.

    • #2703291

      Reply To: changing from military to civilian

      by neger ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I have a similiar experience of yours. I just got out of the Marine Corps with 5 years experience in Network Admin. and have been trying to find a job for a couple of months.

      I will say this if you have any kind of secret clearance, and depending where you plan on relocating to, there are lots of jobs with the requirement of having a clearance.
      I never got mine. There have been tons of jobs I’m qualified for, but no clearance, so no job.

      I got a buddy I worked with that was a unix administrator who had his TS clearance got a job interview from Lockhead Martin after just posting his resume on for a couple of weeks.

      good luck

      • #2703644

        Clearance thing

        by skidoggeruk ·

        In reply to Reply To: changing from military to civilian

        Agree on clearance thing, friend of mine got out and moved directly into another post, as a civilian (GS), at a listening post in England. And no, we were not crypto-type ratings, but we did have a little clearance. Again, this was back in the early 90s. Maybe internal gov is another avenue? Good luck.

    • #3296081

      When to Jump

      by arthurp ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Whilst everyone can provide advise, only you can choose when and where to jump into the civillian sector … I did this four years ago now, and have not regretted it …

      I’ll admit that when I made the decision to jump I was apprehensive, & considered signing back-on .. if only for the comfort zone .. but decided to bite the bullet & take the leap into the unknown.

      I was lucky, & found my break … don’t place all your eggs in one basket also look towards the “hidden” skills that are held by Mil Techs, (project awareness, reliability, management awareness ect), because these will also stand you in good sted … the downside is that many potential managers will see you as regimented – which is not always a bad point.

      I took the decision to enter the IT world as a Junior Desktop Engineer – as you’re starting the career path again from scratch .. and brought many of the military traits to the job, (3 broken pc’s make one, maybe two good ones ect); but also learnt the commercial approach, whilst willing to go the extra mile, that the other engineers wouldn’t – working extra hours to ensure a project could be achieved.

      Promotion was initially slow, but within 3 years I had moved into 4th line support, with the added benefits.

      To be honest there is never a good time to jump, and adjustment can sometimes be difficult, but whatever you decide I wish you the best.


    • #3296079

      Defnitely opportunities

      by thompme ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      The IT community and business in general is on the mend. Get your resume together and post it on Monster 1 year out. Filter through the responses carefully focusing on what you want to do and where you want to live. Clearances are a great help as well. Keep updating it after interviews. You would be amazed at your worth on the outside. I did my 20 with no college and 3 years later I am Senior Regional Technical Manager with a major outsourcing company. The only problem with getting out and not having a job at this point is you. Strive and demand what is rightfully yours! 20 Years of hard work and dedication is normnally recognized as having a lot value!!! P.S. as long as you are a go getter!

    • #3296076

      Good Luck!

      by rdunn ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I left the Army in 1999 after 23 years, the last 12 of which were spent in IT. I was a Systems Administrator for a logistics project for last 5 years. The most important step is to have your CV written in line with our civilian equivalents and avoid using specific military jargon which they will not understand! Any formal training is good although experience is what is more often required. A good step would be to get some qualifications as part of your resettlement grant.

    • #3296068

      Reply To: changing from military to civilian

      by langstonha1 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I’d say you should get a BS degree and some certifications. Be prepared to start at $7-9 per hour. Market in Florida is bad right now. You could try to start your own business in the right area and the VA will help. I’m just working part time and fixing pc’s on my own.
      Hope this helps.

    • #3296066


      by mewert ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      As a hiring IT manager also responsible for security at a major healthcare company, I guarantee you that your military background and nine years of solid experience is far better than any degree or certification. We are always finding it difficult to find IT pros who understand the big picture and who also truly understand security. I’ll tell you this: some Western companies will be silly enough to outsource their security to China or India – the rest will have jobs for yourself.

      p.s. Thanks for serving our country!

    • #3296063

      Write a REAL good resume.

      by davesims2 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Hey! First off Thanks for your service to our country.

      Your experiece and military background makes you a shoe in for a host of beginning and intermediate jobs. You could land something like that readily.

      However, you are likely in some type leadership role and you are qualified to do more. You should take a few days right now and develope your resume.

      Read “What Color is Your Parachute” I read this book for a college class I took after becoming a “Proud Fine Civilian” almost 20 years ago. It has served me WELL. There is also a sample book called 101 cover letters. If you are suffering from writers block this is a real help.

      Overall pick a direction, write a story about yourself in your resume, and head there.

      One last thought; I view resumes like golf clubs resume and cover letters should be aimed directly at the company, or sector of industry, you are selling yourself to. Write several of them, in different stiles. As you write you will find you sharpen the story about yourself, and your interviews will go better too. Remember to practice interviewing, and loosen up and have fun.

    • #3296062

      Certification, certification, certification

      by psifiscout ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I too made the transition from military to civilian life. I had years of experience and a two year IT degree. Every job interview asked the same questions…”Are you A+/Net+/Security+/MCSE/CCNA Ceritified? I got a lot of rejections until I got the certifications. A degree means little if that is all you have, and experience means even less.

      • #3295997

        Not from what I have seen.

        by kcrabb ·

        In reply to Certification, certification, certification

        I find it interesting that some still spout off about Certifications. I am in charge of hiring and have seen so many come through looking for a job based on their certifications that is the lowest thing on my scale. I would MUCH rather have some one with the 2 years of hands on experience then the 2 years of experience that a certification is supposed to be equal to. I have seen too many paper MCSE that were good at spouting facts on a test, and had never dealt with a “real life” problem.
        A degree is always nice. It does not have to be in a CS type field; just a degree will always take you up. I have seen there is a pay variance in this field for people with degrees and those with out. In general a degree will push you up over those with out one (and yes way above those with only certification)
        If you want to get some certifications to help fill in some of the gaps in your knowledge, that is great. Certifications in addition to experience, equals a well rounded person.
        On a side note, if the companies you are being interviewed for are asking about your certifications; the people doing the interview either don’t know any thing about the IT field or have the certifications them self?s and are looking to justify that. Either way be ware of what they are really looking for. If you still want to work there, tell them you were certified by the US government to work on state of the art equipment that defends our nation. If it is good enough for Uncle Sam, it should be good enough for ANY company.

      • #3296677

        not by me

        by dgelect ·

        In reply to Certification, certification, certification

        Sorry, but I retired and found the experience was far more important than the certs. Make sure that your experience is well documented though. I beat out 3 college grads and several with pages of certs. Because they had no practical experience.

    • #3296061

      Lets be frank..we are talking about “Certification Equivalency” here..

      by mobileit ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      As a forces member in a similar situation I can only pass on what I have noticed in recent years. A quick browse of online IT job opportunities will show that they all require some sort of Certification.

      However, in recent years I have noticed the added caveat; “or similar on-job experience”.

      I believe that is directly speaking to the volume of training and expertise we in the military obtain over the years, through formal coursing and application in demanding and unique environments. For myself I can attest to the fact that we receive the same training and credentials as any civilian IT specialists, stopping just short of writing official certification exams. We are allowed to write them if we so desire, however the Forces will not fund that, but they will reimburse us on successful completion. More and more it is becoming known in the private sector that certain military rank levels, trades and employment taskings will translate into specific IT skills and expertise.

      That satisfies the “similar on-job experience” caveat I would think (and hope, as my time is also approaching as I am now on my 18th year).

      Good Luck and see you on the other side..

    • #3296059

      I did it, so can you

      by indyron ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      If you understand, or can learn, configuration management and the software development lifecycle, I think you’ll find lots of opportunity in areas like technical writing, software testing, hardware qualification, change management, validation, etc. It also helps if you can write well. Regulated industries (pharma, financial) need people accustomed to working with standards and who understand the need for procedures. I landed my current job, after 23 years in the Army, because I was familiar with MIL-STDs and understood the software development lifecycle.

      Good luck!


    • #3296052

      My experience making the change!

      by leftd5 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I made the change quite some time ago and found that it was my “Diagnostic” skills that were my best asset over those not having the military back groud. I will also add, get your certifications and degrees if you don’t have them already as most employers place those first when selecting candidates. I have heard and seen many say that it’s unfortunate to not get to the experience level without having all of the “degrees” first!!

    • #3296051

      You’re worth more than you think!

      by ex-military nut ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I retired with over 23 years service in the US Army. Just a few points: Be specific when communicating on a global site (“US Army” vs. “Army”); Do a personal assets inventory (Military experience counts for quite a bit – so do your “extra” jobs); Convert the military jargon into the industry language (good start with TechRepublic!); Get certified (enough said).

      Bottom line: Do your research and “target” prospective employers. Customize resumes and use all available resources (ACAP is a good start).

      Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

      Note: ACAP = Army Career Alumni Program. It is a program designed to help military and family members transition back to civilian life.

      • #3297571

        Taking what is said ….

        by arthurp ·

        In reply to You’re worth more than you think!

        Taking what everyone has said, please do ensure that you can convert your experiences into “commercial value”. You should be able to achieve one good resume, even if it is sanatised – this is easily noticed by another someone else who is ex-Mil …

        Agreeing with & one point of advise on from ex-Mil Nut … talk to any organisation that is willing to help your transition … it’s not just you but the family that will take the pressure & it’s often harder than you might think … also see if you can find a job that will give you experience in the commercial world – even a job working with a charitable organisation … some experience is better than none

        On your resume, I recommend that you just state “Security Clearance Held” if anyone is interested then they will ask for the certificate/reference number

        Otherwise Good Luck … it can be hard … there are a lot of people who have been here before …

        Look at the possitive side … no-one’s going to be sending you into a warzone or trying to kill you – unless you kill their system !!


      • #3255724

        Might work sometimes, depends on the employer

        by psifiscout ·

        In reply to You’re worth more than you think!

        One of the jobs I applied for was as a project lead on a network installation. I have all the tech qualifications to handle the task and the employer agreed, but when they asked about “leadership experience”…well I guess 22 years of military service with 20 years of that time being in charge of personnel, to include training and evaluation of performance as well as maintaining all ot the admin data on them, combined with personal and professional counseling of subordinates from 12 different specialties…

        …wasn’t enough experience to suit the boss.

    • #3296050

      not a problem

      by ristau5741 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      A good way to transition is to do contract work for the federal government, look for a government contractor that specializes in Army military contracts, that way you would be in a familiar surrounding. Look around where you are, are there contract personnel there? what companies do they work for. It is possible to get a job doing the same thing you were doing as a contractor.

      Since 9/11 most of the Federal IT jobs have been classified, so if you’ve got a clearance you will be in good shape. If you’ve got a Bachelors degree, even better shape.

      Stick to locations with large concentrations of Government presence.

      If in doubt check out Washington DC there are a lot of classified IT jobs in DC.

    • #3296049

      Use the benefits

      by Anonymous ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      You have a large jump on many people.

      You will have a pension and medical coverage, even without another job. Even though Tricare only pays 75% of medical expensess (vs 100% on active duty), it will still get you billed at the insured rate and not at the huge rates billed uninsured people. Although Tricare insists any other insurance pay first, it can be a boon when you’re hit with all the co-pays & deductibles.

      Did you complete any education towars a degree while in the military? If so, build upon it. Many schools will also give some credit for military schoos. I trust (depending upon when you entered and what you contributed) that you are eligible for one of the GI bills.

    • #3296044

      Use the benefits (Cont.)

      by Anonymous ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Be aware that entering a civilian company is different than transfering to a new assignment in the military. In the military, you arrive with a certain rank and are treated accordingly. In the civilian world, you need to prove yourself because there are not the common experiences, cutlure, mores, and customs shared among military members.

      Be prepared to start at the bottom, but also be aware that you can ask to start at a higher position. You need to translate military jargon and terminology to what a civilian might understand. For example, “I was NCOIC of a large shop” may draw blank stares from a civilan employer.

      If you decide to shoot for something, other than an entry level position, you need to be especially careful about differences in terminology.

      All that said, I learned a lot (in the Air Force) and am glad I have a monthly pension and Tricare to fall back upon. Unfortunaely, I leve too far from an active military installation to benefit from the exchanges, commissaries, clubs etc.

      • #3296022

        Geographics Play an Important Part in Job Hunting

        by adamme ·

        In reply to Use the benefits (Cont.)

        Having spent 15 years in the military, the *biggest* change you’ll have is adjusting to the culture of a civilian job. In the past 14 years, I’ve graduated from a technician to a Director but it wasn’t easy.

        Lessons I’ve learned:

        1. GO TO WHERE THE JOBS ARE – look at the IT jobs available in your area. If the demand is different than your skill set, *move*. I can’t stress this enough. Some areas of the US demand more of a specific skillset than others. If you don’t know, call a headhunter or consulting firm and ask what is in demand where you live (or plan to live). Don’t wait for the jobs to come to you. You’ll only be unemployed or seriously underpaid.

        2. Skills mean *everything* – Translate what you did in the military to “civilian speak”. Remove all military jargon as much as possible in your resume. Make it brief and professional. I read dozens of resumes a month. If the first couple of paragraphs are either hard to read or poorly written, I file 13 it…immediately. I just don’t have the time or patience to read a badly written resume.

        3. Your resume is your billboard – I can’t stress this enough. No matter how good you are, if your resume reads like a novel or has obvious spelling errors, it won’t be read and you won’t get the job. If you’re unsure how to write a resume, get recommendations from friends/colleagues for someone who can write it for you. The $100 or $200 it may cost you is peanuts in comparison to the damage you can cause yourself writing a poorly written resume. A bad resume is like going to an interview without taking a shower or wearing proper clothing. No one will take you seriously. You didn’t so why should they?

        4. Expect your first job to last a year (or less) – It’s true. A majority of ex-military people are so anxious to get a job that they will take the first offer that comes to them. They’re under a deadline to get a job before their enlistment is up. Most military folks don’t make enough to “float” several months while looking for that “dream job”. Having said that, many military people are of the mindset that they aren’t worth as much as their civilian counterparts. On the contrary, they’re usually worth *more*. The decipline and training you’ve received is the best in the world..don’t sell yourself short. However, it’s *your* job to make that fact known to a potential employer.

        5. Culture shock – The civilian workplace isn’t like the military. Don’t kid yourself. You can get fired, laid off or reassigned at a moments notice. Prepare for it by putting money away in a savings account or smart investments. Even big companies lay people off. If it happens, keep in mind that it’s not *you* personally they’re targeting. Also remember that more of your paycheck will go to paying taxes. That $50k a year job may *look* good at first, but remember that a big chunk of it will go towards paying taxes you never had to deal with in the military.
        Sit down and realistically look at how much you *need* to make to maintain your lifestyle. There may be a big diffrence in what you *need* to make and what you *want* to make. What you *want* to make will come in good time.

        6. Don’t waste time job hunting on your own – Submitting resumes to job search engines (like Monster), is fine but don’t rely on it exclusively. Less than 10% of people who submit resumes to job sites actually land a job through them. The best jobs are rarely advertised. They’re offered (or discovered) by people who are on the inside. Companies will create positions for people they really want. If you know people within companies you want to work for, get them to have you meet the decision makers. Apply to specific companies through position openings *at their company site*.
        Getting a referral from someone already in the company usually carries a LOT of weight. Use it to your advantage.

        And finally, going to a new job is always a scary experience. Couple that with moving from a vastly different cultural environment like the military and it’s even more traumatic. Just keep in mind that YOU are valuable to MANY companies..they just don’t know it yet. It YOUR job to let them know. Thousands of military folks do what you’re going to do every year. You’re not alone! Feel free to email me privately if you would like insight into the DC metro area. I may even have some leads for you if you can provide me details.

        Good luck!


    • #3296039

      Best Ops in Defense contracting

      by rocket-mon ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      If you are ex-mil, IT savy, have a NSC, check out many of the defense contractors in the US. Many of the military bases IT support are staffed by contractors while supervised by civilians. There are many ops with the small or disadvanted contractors too. If you miss with a prine contractor, ask who their “subs” are and apply with them.

    • #3296026


      by dotxen ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I’m not sure if you are US or UK military personnel. Both military establishments have a Resettlement process. So, if you are in the last two years of your service you are entitled to use government funds to pay for a training course. You should do this. Military training and technologies have some similarity to civilians systems. But the way they are supported (Usually by some less-than-useless support company that refuses to allow military IT folk to have the passwords etc and to enlighten them as to what is really going on!) is very different. This means that your experience is somewhat less than an equivalent person working on similar systems in civvy street. Not your fault, of course.

      Your own experience is valid and helpful. But, I have to advise you, strongly, to get yourself organised with a professional training company and utilise your Resettlement grants to pay for it. You need this training, not only to get you up to speed in the technologies, to get your internationally recognised certification. The certs will get you the interview. You will get the job. Don’t get confused about this. Some will say that you MUST have an MCSE or some such expensive and long-winded certification. I say, forget that. You only need a couple of ‘core’ certs and a positive attitude to get into a rewarding career. My advice is to go for ‘global’ networking certificates. Those that cover the basic technologies and are well known by employers. No point training for some esoteric exam if no-one knows what it’s about. Keep things simple and effective. You can upgrade your knowledge and certs at your new employer’s expense if you play your cards right. So don’t sign up for some endless and expensive course that is not accepted or understood by your potential employers.

      My next bit of advice is not particularly contentious, but needs to be said. There is no future or decent money in general hardware support. It’s a cut-throat market and companies are fighting for 2% margins. They are unlikely to be able to pay a decent salary. You must concentrate your efforts on the software support sector. I mean operating systems. Windows and Linux distros are the key areas to concentrate your efforts. You must have a working knowledge of these two first, before you start to fly off into security, communications, data warehousing, web servers and goodness knows what else etc. Get your basic knowledge solid before you start specialising. No company can afford to have an expert (with one specialisation) standing around waiting for something to go wrong. leave Cisco, SANS and all the other stuff until later. Unless you know there is a vacancy in one of these technology areas, and that you can definitely get that job when it comes up. But, don’t hold your breath!

      Sort out your Resettlement, get your basic certs, get into a career structure and then look at which direction you would like to go. Get that first year of on-the-job training and experience out of the way and you will be able to be a bit more picky in your career path.

      Please visit my web site for more information – We are a Resettlement training company. We have a lot of good, solid, information for those leaving the military and transitioning to civvy jobs. You can e-mail me for more help, advice, support and information if you can’t find what you want on our web site.

      Good luck

      Robb Kimmer
      MilMates Training Company.

    • #3296025

      Go see a PRO-VET

      by a-vet ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Check and see if you have a state veteran’s rep assigned to your base. If you do; check with them and see what they can do for you. They may have ways for you to get more training or certs. They may also have job openings that you may or may not be aware of. In any case; they can lead you to a path that should meet your needs. Good luck and may you find the job of your dreams. From a Vet who helps Vets.

    • #3296024

      Work for the government!

      by the_punisher79 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      You might not want to keep working for the goverment but it’s always an option. As others have said, your militay service will definintely give you a HUGE headstart over any civilian applying for a goverment job. If you are a veteran, you’ll get even more special treatment, in the VA, at least. You said you have Information Security experiance, apply for an ISO job. Here in Fort Leavenworth there are IT jobs opening up all the time. I’ll tell you man, I’ve seen some people with little or NO IT experiance get goverment IT jobs right out the military and they get pretty much get trained by the goverment to do their jobs. is a great place to start looking. Like they say, it’s almost impossible to fire a goverment employee. With all the Iraqi Freedom personel coming back soon, I’m sure there will not be a shortage (and funding) for jobs in the goverment.

    • #3296023

      You have much more than you think

      by chazcu ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      You have more going for you than you might think. You will already be getting part of your pay when you get out. True 50% isn’t the same but it helps. Also, you will eventually receive your VA disability that should be higher than your pay and the law has changed on concurrent receipt. My disability and retirement from the military allow me to live better than others in the same position at work. As an IT manager, I get more resumes than I have time to look through but those that get my attention at the ones with experience and troubleshooting skills. Cert and degrees are nice but proven experience is important. Read the book from green to gray at your transition office that will help with your resumes translating military jargon to “civilianese”. I made the change 3 yrs ago and I’m glad you are getting all this advice. I started as a computer technician at 40 yrs old (not over the hill) and worked my way to supervisor in 1 year.
      Do use your benefits that the government offers you, you deserve it. But also look at what the state you are moving to offers. Get help and advice on the services from some of the services organizations such as the VFW, American Legion, DAV, etc. I can go on and on about his but I?ll get off my soapbox for now. Good luck

    • #3296021

      military to civilian can be done

      by alexwelker ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I remember when I transitioned from the military to the civilian sector. I had no certs and no college, the only qualifications I had were those that I earned through training in the Marine Corps. It took four months (including my 30 days terminal) to find a desktop support position that paid slighty more than what I was making when I got out.

      Two employers later, I’m now a network admin. Still no certs, and no college. So it can be done, you just have to be up for the struggle. Something else I’ve learned is that it’s amazing how far my customer service skills have helped me climb the ladder. How you deal with support issues on a personal level with clients can get you very far in terms of raises and job security.

      • #3295922

        You were lucky

        by fernbowers ·

        In reply to military to civilian can be done

        Although you were blessed to get a job, that was during a different time. This is a new dayl.
        Getting those job like back in the day in no longer the way. He will need considerly more with the outsourcing going on. It is tight out

    • #3296020


      by ddissent ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I ETS’d out of the Army in 1995 – Less than 10 years later, I am a network administrator for a large (worldwide) engineering company. My MOS in the Army? 31C – For thos non-miliraty types, the 31C was the antequated RATT (Radio and Teletype – Single Channel Radio Operator). My secret to success? I wasn’t expecting to have my first job pay me what I am making now – I knew I would have to work my way up … so I did and I opened myself up to learn everything and anything I could to further my career. One thing I have ALWAYS done is to carry on the work ethics I learned to establish for myself while serving as a soldier. I would say the best field for you to START in is PC/Network tech support and then grow from there. As a soldier for 9 years I’m quite certain there’s an employer out there that would feel blessed to have an individual of your caliber.

    • #3296018

      I did it.

      by bhdorr ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Hey McDowell: I made the transition in 2001 after 7.5 years in the Navy and 3 yrs experience in IT (LAN/Desktop Support). What I found helped me was my combination of certifications and experience and having great “people skills”. This combination allowed me to get more experience by working for a major tellecommunications company and now the largest technology consulting firm in the world. I have only a 2 year degree and now over 5 years experience and now hold the role of Tech Lead on my current project. Employers do look for prior Military because they tend to know what they are getting. I really don’t think you’ll have a problem..I would see how you could leverage your information security experience and maybe work on a cert in that area and if you already have a security clearance that will help also. Good luck.

    • #3296014

      Good News

      by wsaconsult ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      My nephew left the Marines earlier this year and went directly to a civilian job. He found his job by attending a job fair before leaving the military.

      I served in the USAF and found a job shortly after leaving the service, as well.

      Your military will help you find a job, employer find the military training to be a good thing!

      Post your resume on, they have a security clearance job search engine.

      Good Luck!

      Carol Wheeler
      Senior Peoplesoft SCM SME Consultant.

      • #3295919

        Excellent Advice Carol!!!

        by fernbowers ·

        In reply to Good News

        dice is a great place. I got my positions from
        that site as well. Military experiance is
        the best!!!

      • #3297569

        True …

        by arthurp ·

        In reply to Good News

        I find that when working with ex-Mil personnel they have a different approach, and multiple skill sets, whilst Strawberry Mivies, (Civies), have the approach “this is my job set, and I’m protected” … Remember the comment fromt he RSM .. “Stand Tall .. Stand Proud”, it works … that first impression lasts & laced with a confident manner but will achieve more than exams and pieces of paper.


    • #3296012

      Hang in there

      by jpeyton ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      You have 11 years to go, The Army is a secure job to have. dont get out. I made that mistake in 1988. You know once you get out, you will not go back in and you have 90 days to keep your same rank. STAY IN. BE ALL YOU CAN BE.

    • #3296011

      Advertise your other skills and knowledge

      by nicknielsen ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      In addition to the other good suggestions here, advertise your other skills: management, supervision, troubleshooting, etc. One of the biggest advantages you will have is that your military career has provided you with basic supervision and management skills. Not only that, but your technical training (unless they’ve changed it drastically) taught both equipment knowledge and troubleshooting skills.

      When I retired, my first employer asked a few questions to verify my technical skills, then grilled me closely to determine if I had any troubleshooting ability. I did and got the job.

      Then we lost the contract…oh, well!

    • #3296010

      transitioning out of the service

      by rlopez_ramirez ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      the fact that you are prior service gives you a leg up. I was a Marine for 6 years in the aviation field (helicopter airframe repair). I got out and taught myself PC troubleshooting and went to school for networking. I have been in the IT field for 4 almost 5 years. With you having PC and networking experience in the service, discipline and work ethics you would be an asset to any IT company or department.
      best of luck to you and thanks for your service.

    • #3296009


      by toucan ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I would have loved to see your resume cross my desk when we were looking for technicians. Most of the certified technicians had nice paper qualifications with no experience in real world troubleshooting, very limited ability to work independently and misreable personal skills. You will find a warm reception in most technical companies especially those that touch the defense/government market. The diagnostic skills that military techs have are far superior to those learned at the certification mills.

      Follow up with an agressive campaign to gain some key industry certs to make yourself more marketable and valuable.

      Find a company that specializes in placing tekkies, they should be able to help market your resume, they will be drooling to place you in a slot that could leverage any security clearance if that is applicaple.

      Good luck!

    • #3296005

      I made the transition

      by michael.nixon ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Sergeant McDowell,

      I retired from the AF in Aug, starting my terminal leave in June. I had 22 years in the AF and 13 of it was as a workgroup manager while being in the career field of Photography. The Photo career field went digital back in 92 and that gave me the opportunity to develop my IT skills as the troops who were actually IT troops didn’t have time for the Photo computers. I was hired on my 5th interview as an Information Technology Consultant II for the state of Kansas.

      It’s all about how you market your self.

      Good Luck!

      Michael R. Nixon, MSgt, Retired, USAF

      • #3293307

        I’m about to make the transition, advice?

        by mattlieblong ·

        In reply to I made the transition

        MSgt McDowell,
        I am about to follow your lead, somewhat. I spent 5 years working in aircraft structural maintenance, and managed to snag a job in the SQDN computer section for the last year of a 6 year enlistment. I’ve been from my start there, one of the lead workgroup managers for a 600+ person SQDN. All of our good WGM’s are from other AFSC’s/maintenance jobs, and we are so much better at the WGM job than the comm people we have to deal with up the hill, or the information managers we work with.

        Question 1: What title should I use on my resume to fully describe the wide range of duties that my position filled? I am a workgroup manager, however, we do half of the network infrastructure guys’ job (all of it if we had the keys), all of the tech support-help desk job, all of the physical machine setups/ maintenance/repairs/upgrades, software maint and support, we learn every new piece of software well enough so as to teach our users, we are network security specialists to boot. Add high security wireless network management to that and that is why I have trouble finding a suitable all-encompassing title for my experience in this one position. I hate to sum up such a diverse job experience with “workgroup manager.”
        Question 2: How much value do most IT departments, and companies in general, give to military experience as an above overqualified workgroup manager? Granted I only spent a year in the position, however, I surpassed and was training those who had been doing it for years within my first month in the office. So what experience level could I claim?

        Any help would be appreciated, and congrats on retirement.

        SrA Matthew A. Lieblong

    • #3296004

      Get your certifications

      by jtakiwi ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I did the same thing four years ago, although I only had three years of LAN support experience in the military, the rest of my Army time was in, well other things. I was offered positions by military contractors, but turned them down for a variety of reasons, usually location. If you have a TS clearance and some certs relating to your field, go to DC and apply with the major and minor contractors. If you interview well and can write a good, concise resume, you should find employment. You can even drop me an email w/ your resume and I will forward to some contractors and GS people in the field. One of the most valuable things I did while still in the military was shore up my contacts on the “outside”. If you’ve been in the PC suport arena for 9 years, you must know dozens of contractors and GS people who you could turn to for assistance in job hunting.

    • #3296002

      Reply To: changing from military to civilian

      by dokai ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I got out of the submarine Navy after 8.5 years because there was no amount of Selective Reenlistment Bonus possible to make that kind of lifestyle worth it once it was no longer “fun”. Now I’m 44 and sometimes (infrequently) wish I’d stayed in. BTW, I’ve had a good career, including a management stint at Big Blue, so this isn’t somebody who “couldn’t make it” on the outside. Think HARD about leaving.

      IMHO, if you still want to get out, the best way to do it is by spending a few years working for a defense contractor. You have skills, clearances, perspectives and attitudes that are hard to come by in the civilian world, and the defense contractors will pay a premium for that. Additionally, with so many of your new co-workers being ex-military, you won’t have as much culture shock as you would going straight to some corporate giant where people routinely blow deadlines and where “accountability” and “camaraderie” are just a couple of words in the dictionary. Do a FEW years there, just so you can show it on your resume, and then move on to somewhere else, as defense contracting is notorious for burn-out and salary compression. Exploit the hell out of education opportunities while you’re at it. Grab some certifications as quickly as you can, since you didn’t mention having a degree in CS or similar. MCSE and A+ would be where I’d start if I was in your shoes. Get them NOW, and it’ll help a lot with your job hunt.

      Just my two cents. Good luck!

    • #3295995

      TS Security Clearence

      by joecolly ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Get the Army to pay for this. If you can get your TS (Top Secret) security clearence, more doors will be open for you. However, if you expect a company to pay for it, you better have more certificates under your belt for their time in the matter. Also, if you want to pay for it your self, it can be expensive. Bottom line, get the TS, get the Army to pay for it, and more doors will be open with that then with the Certs.

    • #3295990

      I did it!

      by data-ware ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I retired with 20+ years from the military as a electronics specialist. I was trained on high tech weapons control systems, Data centers, radar control systems, A+, etc. We had to maintain all the computers that controlled these systems. And these computers are not your average $499.00 of the shelf computers. My experience and training in the military was my ticket in civilian life.I wasn’t out a month and i landed a great job. I had a professional resume written before i left the military and it made a world of difference. I wrote my certs after i left the military, but they didn’t get me the job. I was told that they would have hired me on my experience and training alone. So don’t sell yourself short, military training is some of the best training you will find anywhere. Take the same approach you had in the military and apply it in civilian life and you will go a long way! Employers love people who can solve problems on their feet.

    • #3295989

      Location is everything

      by haydt1 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I got out of the Navy in 93 with 9 yrs experience in computers and networking. I also had an active TS/SCI clearance. The IT market then was the same as now at least here in Pennsylvania. I found that nobody cared about the clearance and very few employers gave my military training the full weight it deserved.

      How well you do will depend on where you choose to relocate and what the local supply and demand is for IT. I can say that PA is lousy with the exception of maybe the Camp Hill area in my opinion. Both in terms of pay scale and opportunity.

      The other thing I had to get used to was working for people who no longer cared aboutt quality and only focus on quantity. It’s all about money.

      Good luck.

      • #3295986

        Gotta agree with haydt1

        by johnboync ·

        In reply to Location is everything

        Retired in ’94 as Navy E9 Electronics Tech. Location is the key. I retired in Eastern NC, near some great Marine Corps bases (for the medical bennies). Struggled to find decent paying job in that area, but got on with a startup ISP within a couple months of retirement. When the ISP was “acquired” in ’99, went into contract IT work in RTP/Raleigh. The weekly 150 mile commute sucks, but the money’s at least double what I can make around home. It’s all a trade off. (and befoe you ask, the wife and I lived in 20 different houses/apartments in the Navy and she refuses to move again)

        A current TS/SCI clearance is worth its weight in gold these days. Just do a Google. BUT, location, location is all important. It’s not worth anything if you’ve retired to the Boonies.

        Bottom line, you’ve got the training to do the job. Just carry the “whatever-it-takes” attitude that’s been ingrained by the military with you. It’s in VERY short supply out here.

        Welcome aboard.

    • #3295969

      Military Transition

      by viennamicro ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I also transitioned from the military to civilian IT roles in 1990. I found that the federal agencies in my area refused to recognize any of my military training as directly job related. I received this notice on a Thursday. The following Monday I was at work in the offending agency as a contract trainer through the local community college)teaching federal employees how to do the job I wasn’t qualified to perform.

      I now work for a Fortune 50 corporation as an IT Specialist making considerably better income than any of the IT positions in the local (federal, state, county) government arena.

      My recommendations to you:

      – Get all the professional certifications you can while on active duty (MCSE, etc.).
      – Get a college degree in IT. Even an Associates degree can help open doors. A Bachelor’s degree is even better.
      – Do use the services available now to transitioning militery personnel. Have a polished resume ready as soon as you can possibly do so.
      – Use on-line job services such as Many HR folks are now using this source extensively, especially for IT jobs.
      – Don’t expect the civil service community to welcome you with open arms. Expect petty jealousy and commitment only to the minimum standards required by law. You’ll make a much better living elsewhere in due time.
      – Consider teaching if you have the credentials. It’s a great way to make contacts in the community, stay in touch with current technology, and keep the bills paid. You may even find a long term career here.
      – You’ve invested a significant part of your life in military service. Don’t loose the potential retirement you can still earn. Many Reserve and Guard units will accept you into their fold immediately, even services (Army, Navy, Air Force) other than the one you are currently in. Most unit headquarters now have IT positions.

    • #3295948

      Re: changing from military to civilian

      by tnissen ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I was in the Air Force for 8 years as a “techie” and decided to get out during the .(dot)com boom in 2000. I was fortunate enough to have gotten out and employed prior to the decline. I would say there are still jobs out there although right now I think the market is saturated with “so called” IT people. There still is definitely a need for quality individuals who actually know what they are doing. The hard part will be to get your foot in the door. There are a lot of “old school” independent telephone companies and coops out there that need quality IT people. That’s where I would start looking and if you know someone, that always helps as well. I cherish my 8 years of experience in the Air Force, it was very valuable but am very glad that I made the transistion. Best of luck to you in your search and in your transistion to civilian life.

    • #3295944

      Your in a great position!!!!

      by fernbowers ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Sounds like your in a great position. You have the skills necessary for the federal sector.
      If you have a top secret security clearance, there is no reason or anything to stop you from
      moving up.
      Also, if no degree, begin work on that asap.
      Government contract for Degree personel.

      In any case forward your resume to me, I will submit it for two companies to get you going.
      AT&T and Advance Concepts Corp.

      My email is

    • #3295937

      Military experience a plus

      by awagner ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I have stayed with government position since I left the Marine Corps in 1985. Find people who think like you and respect what you have done. Then prove to them their inclinations about you were correct with a good work ethic. Don’t expect civilian life to mirror the military. It does not. Be a self starter and be the best that you can be. Semper Fi – Autumn Rose

    • #3295935

      Military to Civilian

      by jeff.lefever ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I made the same transition back in 1995 when I retired from the Army with twenty years and with less experience than you have in the field of computers. I went to college for an AA in Computer Science, this helps but the experience you have is invaluable. I would suggest that you have a good resume outlining all of your skills. judging from what experience you have now you could go on the market as a Network Engineer to begin with and then move to a network Administartor position. Cisco router skills are good to have an d some sort of Microsoft certification as IN an MCP to MCSA or later the MCSE for 2000 or 2003 schema. because of the military and having to go before promotion boards and the like it really refined my interviewing skills as military boards are far more stressful than a job interview. So you have alot going for you right out of the military. Be positive, have good resume, grab a couple of quick certs and then go hunting.

      • #3296885

        Be confident and know your value

        by t-cally ·

        In reply to Military to Civilian

        Well I hope you get to read this before you get out.
        I had four years active in an admin field and now I?m 19 plus years Air Guard in communications which lead to my current 7 years in state service as IT.
        The biggest thing in the mil to civil transfer was not understanding the market and not understanding your value. Don?t think your skills are lesser most IT people are self thought even if they have a degree. Experience can be in your favor but I?m not undermining educational degrees, but it more so depends on the company. In the war we accepted what was given to us, in the private sector you need to negotiate for your salary and the public sector usually have a set figure. Try and also DISA just hired a friend of mine to go to Germany as a civilian working on the red swith. He was released by MCI after 15 years of service and unfortunately his retirement fund was in the MCI scandal. Check the web and see what companies are paying for your skills in the area you plan to live. Send out resumes before getting out and this will help relieve the nervousness that you are probably feeling. If you have family you want to know about the medical benefits and how much it will cost you. Examine your take home pay and understand what it will take for you to maintain your current living style. Do this based on the state you plan to live in. The south is still cheaper to live. A lot of companies like ex-military people from an experienced/discipline point. There are a lot of corporations out there that you simply don?t know the name of because they don?t advertise. Once you pick the state you plan to live in, check the stocks for companies, and check the local library and news papers there to get a heads up. But I like places like monster becuase they are looking for you rather you for them “to some degree”. Self confidence matters in the interviewing process. Good luck and believe in your self.

    • #3295934

      You need to fit in now adays

      by lupster ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Being on interviewe boards and so on. I found that military folks are to wound up. Make sure your a team player and not afraid to ask others for help. Just because you have experience does not mean you will get a job now adays. Way to many companies have found that individuals need to fit the group not just know their stuff. Also during the interview make sure you wow em. And yes I do work for a government agency.

    • #3295930

      military to civilian?

      by februarie02 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Forget about it!
      There are no suficient jobs already for the laid off worker from previous years.
      If you can take it stay in the army for now.
      I’m old enough to know and give advice, I’ve seen a lot of people without jobs after leaving the military.
      Good luck!

    • #3295926

      From the other side of the hiring table..

      by dfriou ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Over the past three years, I have hired one 9 yr Marine and “adopted” one 4 year Marine to fill desktop support roles. From a supervisor’s perspective, here are some of my views former military employees.

      For the upside, they’re attitude when following instructions and requests is great. I do have to keep some instructions very clear and exact — no gray area — to bring out their best in their work. They’re usually very punctual which is a plus also.

      For the downside, they tend to be harsh on users. They’re working with a new type of customer than what they’re used to supporting. They sometimes do not perform as well when they have opportunities to make leadership decisions; seems like they’re too used to having structure built for them and not as skilled at creating or modifying the business structure or working on their own ideas.

      Maybe keep this in mind when interviewing — promote the strong work qualities the military teaches and be open minded to the customer service needs of the corporate environment.

    • #3295924


      by m_howley ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Your strengths need to be highlighted in your resume. For example, if you are strong on experience (as are most former military) then emphasize that over education. Make sure your detail supports the job you are looking for (e.g. Lan Admin, HW/SW, etc).
      Now, target companies that are run or were created by former Military. Ross Perot is a HUGE military fan, so Perot Systems should be a starting point.
      Understanding that many companies are outsourcing now-a-days, you can also consider “temp agencies” that support industry (examples are Zero Chaos, Intelllimark, etc). Do not be afraid of companies that talk of moving support centers overseas. Many of those firms still rely heavily on local talent in the second/third tier.
      Hope this helps.

    • #3295910

      You have an edge!

      by camboro computers ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I, myself, am a SSG in the PAARNG. When I left active duty a few years ago, I decided to open my own business. As an Infantryman in the U.S. Army, I really didn’t have a whole lot of military training in IT. However, I am pretty computer literate, so I decided to teach myself programming. The military gave me the leadership skills and the discipline that it takes to start a business, and I am happy to say that I have been open since February 2001! It was, and still is, a huge challenge to transfer into civilian life. But it is not impossible! I suggest going into your AKO account and looking for links that will help your transition. Unfortunately, I do not remember the web site, but there is a link in AKO somewhere that will look at your MOS and tell you what it translates into the civilian side. You can receive college credits for military experience, depending on your MOS and pay grade. I hope this helps you. If you need any help, please feel free to email me at any time!

      SSG John Stuttler
      B.Co. 1-112th INF (M)
      Owner, Camboro Computers

      P.S. – Send me a resume! I prefer working with Vets!

    • #3295909

      by fernbowers ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Mcdowell, while your waiting to retire, go to the web site to sign up for online classes with strayer. You can complete your BA degree before you exit. My picture is in the slide show presentation on that site. My name is fern bowers. Check out the information, get your degree, and I can help you to find a job.
      If you can, change your MOS to military Intelligence. You can get your clearnce thru the Army and come out working.

    • #3295899

      Use your advantages

      by cweb ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      The IT market is very bad right now. Having gotten out of the Army a few years ago and gone through exactly what you are asking about. Your Army experiences and age are not helping you at this time. You have kids with numerous Certs or college degrees flooding the IT market right now. Your chief advantage is a security clearance, (the higher the better) and your knowledge of the military and government environment. Find a position either in the government (GS) or get a job with one of the many Government Contractors. They all need people with clearances and a military background. is a good place to start looking.

    • #3295878


      by vltiii ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      With your background, the simple solution is to continue working with the government in general and if possible the Army specifically. Consider that you already have the requisite skills and corporate knowledge required to function in the organization and won’t require any retraining. The only difference will be that instead of wearing a uniform you’ll be wearing civilian clothes and probably making more money.

    • #3295866

      Stay in or at least join a reserve unit

      by petervanness ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Nine years in: My guess is that you are about 30 years old. I am a long time naval reservist. Been a Commanding Officer of a three tech units of guys like you. Advantage: you keep your security clearance, commune with folks like yourself regularly, network for job opportunities, and stay current with latest technology. You also keep growing your leadership skills and keep serving your country. Good luck.

    • #3295862

      Lots of Good Advice

      by jdgretz ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      McDowell –

      I’m now 56 a former US Army Officer currently running my own IT business.

      I got off active duty after the Viet Nam war, went back in on the AGR program and got off of that in ’85 and went right to work at Northrop Advanced Systems Division where my military background and security clearance opened the doors for me.

      There are a lot of places where you can walk right in and make a salary that will allow you to keep your standard of living. Remember when looking at job offers, you have to include the cost of housing, clothing, and food. Many of the things we enjoyed while on active go away, but that does not mean you completely lose out.

      Don’t discount someplace like JPL and the contractors who staff that place – that is a fun environment; government related work and a college attitude.

      You didn’t say where in the states you wanted to locate. Drop me a note is you are going to be on the West coast and I’ll see if I can forward your resume out here.

      You can make a living doing what you enjoy – the trick is finding someone to pay you well to do it.

      Remember, you can get anything you want in life by helping others get what they want.


    • #3295849

      Start your own Business

      by lansche ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Short and sweet, start your own business out of your home. Start slow get a few clients and bingo your on your way to success. Unless of course that is not an option for you. However, I’m sure the army taught you well and you should be successful in anything you put your mine too..

      puterbill, good luck with your decision!

    • #3295845

      Use Your GI Bill

      by sql guy ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I just recently got off Active Duty, have 10+ years experience with SQL, Programming and some hardware. I was just offered a job that pays 60% more than my current job. Here’s a couple hints that (hopefully) will help you get the best deal at the perfect job:

      -If you don’t have a degree yet, enroll in school and start using that G.I. Bill. Even if you don’t have your degree, you can command greater salary and better positions if you can demonstrate that you are working towards it.

      -Certifications! A lot of people disparage certifications, but more and more IT employers are requiring them. From A+ to Network+ to Microsoft and Cisco, employers are declaring certification a job requirement. By getting certified you can demonstrate some level of competence, and with your experience to back it up, you’ll be a step ahead of non-certified people applying for the same positions.

      -Re-write your resume. I re-wrote my resume 5 different times before deciding on the most recent format. No need to necessarily go that route, but a well-designed resume can get your foot in the door. If you’re not sure your resume fits the bill, you might invest in a professional resume writing service.

      Best of Luck! And thanks for serving!

    • #3295842

      Ex-Military finding IT job

      by dubois95 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      It is not easy finding an IT job when you’re ex-military. I retired in April 2001 as an IT from the U.S. Navy. At the time, I had just received my CCNA certification and thought this would help me land a decent job.

      The prospects were non-existant for about the next 2 years and I have gone into the field of sales. Civilians, generally, have no idea of how to relate military occupations to the counterparts in the private sector.

      Good luck and I hope you land your job.

    • #3296875


      by pepperh ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      You’ve heard complaints about lost IT jobs. I guess it’s true, but probably no more than any other field. Don’t get discouraged, IT is still hiring.
      You should consider where you will live after leaving the Army. If you want to find a job with a Government Contractor, know where they are concentrated. Are there IT jobs where you are now? Are there IT jobs in your home town? You mentioned a hurt back from jumping in, Can I assume you are in N.C.? LOWES Inc had sever jobe in N.C. last week, I’m not looking to move.
      I came back to my home town after retirement, and was lucky to get a job with the State after about 6 months. I worked a couple temporary jobs while I looked for something better. Many states give hiring preference to veterans, of course you still have to be qualified, and experience, as others have said, often is a better qualification than education or certifications. Both would be better, so get what education and certifications you can, but don’t feel inferior because you ” only have experience.”

      Best of luck.

    • #3296871


      by ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Look for positions to leverage the most important part of your military background and seek supervisory or management positions. Many jobs both commercial and government want people who know how to command and hold people accountable.

    • #3296866

      Remember your strengths

      by fat man ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      You should also remember that you have a lot of strengths that others cannot prove about themselves. For example, most ex-military are:

      1. Punctual
      2. Professional in appearance
      3. Willing to put up with more BS than others
      4. Dedicated and loyal

      These are generalizations, I know. However, many employers look for those qualities.

      To pick your field, think about where your skills lie, and what you like doing. For example, I don’t like staring at a monitor all day so I started in support instead of programming. Once you decide the field you want, network with others if possible, and get their advice for how to succeed at that.

      Schools will tell you that they will help you, but generally they produce paper MCSE’s or teach you outdated programs. But there is definitely a benefit to getting a degree at some point, and most schools will give you credits for your military experience.

      Good luck, and thanks for serving these past years.


    • #3296823

      making the move?

      by marquis ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      So, you want to leave the military and land a job in civialian IT? You had better be a pro at either programming or security, or know how to drive a cab, cuz there ain’t mich out here for a tech jockey, unless you can find an entry level job for $10 – $14 an hour. Since 9/11, and then the dot-com bust, techs are a dime a dozen. In the kansas City area alone, over 30,000 people in the IT industry have been laid off, with more going every week. Sprint (the King of the layoff crowd) has just announced another one, and it ain’t over yet. And these are mostly guys and gals woth degrees and lots of letters behind their name. The grease monkeys with an A+, and maybe some other certs, and even a bachelors or a DeVry’s just don’t stand much of a chance.
      Go security or programming, or go elsewhere.

    • #3296817

      Dont Get OUT!!

      by kaptkos ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      1) The military is behind the times by at least 2-3 Years.
      2) If you get out; go to school under your GI Bill and get at least your Associates.
      3) I worked with the Navy’s EPOS II, SUADPS, and
      SNAP II systems which was its supply systems. They were definitely behind the times when I got out of the Navy.
      4) You only have 12 years to go to retirement;
      Stick with it. I would have 19 years now if I
      would have stayed in and could retire next year to begin a second career in IT.
      5) Right now, the economy is getting somewhat better; however, jobs are scarce and you better
      be willing to move to where the jobs are
      available. AND At a lower than expected pay scale.


    • #3296791


      by howard894 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      You bet. In fact employers frequently hire retirees because they know they bring experience, a solid work ethic, and typically a clearance. I retired from the Air Force recently and work for a company in the D.C. area and they are ALWAYS looking to hire ex-military. I would be surprised if you didn’t have several job interviews before you started terminal leave.

    • #3296785

      Translate military job descriptions

      by dave.schutz ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I went through this issue after 20 years in the military. The biggest issue I had was telling people outside the military what I had accomplished. You need to translate what you did in the military into civilian terms. No more military slang or terminology.
      People in the civilian world aren’t interested in missions you accomplished. You need to think about how you can solve their business problems.

    • #3296784


      by troylhutchison ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I transitioned from active duty 2 years ago. The biggest thing that will help you get a leg up on your competition in the job market will be a security clearance. Attend the military transition classes they provide a lot of useful information. Internet job boards have a lot of information. My favorite is, for tech jobs. Look for jobs with defense contractors, they speak the same your language and will appreciate your experience. There is a big demand for IT guys in the D.C. area.

      Gook Luck

    • #3296768


      by phantasm32 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I’m also military retire and also have the same background as your. Let me tell you, you need to get some certification otherwise it doesn’t pay. When I retire I work in the following: Car Sales Man, work in a factory and work my self up to be part time IT, then I work as a casemanager, IBM in assembly and fixing problems that others cause to new PC, and currently in Best Buy. I was taugh by Microsoft on windows when it first came out, and like your self I was self taugh, trainning in Fiber Optical and I was in charge of diagnostic, trouble shooting for the whole installation, since I was the only Military and the rest were civilians. So my best advice to you is to get all the certification you can, and hope that it goes better for you then it has gone for me.

    • #3296761

      You have options …

      by drjones ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      What you want should determine (to some degreee) how you handle your search and preparations. If you want a work environment that is very structured and regulated, chase the paper (certs & degrees).

      I am a veteran, and when I interview, I am most interested in personal character, work traits,communication, adaptability, willingness to accept correction/training, and determination.

      In cases where I am hiring for a high-skill/position player *nix admin, DBA, developer, those characteristics are still dealbreakers; I just don’t have as much latitude about taking someone who doesn’t have as much experience.

      Figure out what you would like, and act accordingly. Grace and Peace.

    • #3296749

      RE: changing from military to civilian

      by bleon13 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Ever consider working for the Army as a civilian. The government has a special rate for IT people. I was a senior tech for them, you sound like you would fit right in. I currently work in EEO.(long story)

    • #3296721

      My transition was through certification

      by oien ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I retired as a Navy officer and used a certification program paid for by the state to land a good job in the private sector.

      Prior to retiring I had spent a good six months looking at the many options I hoped to have. I had several interviews and got close several times, but it was pausing four weeks to finish my network engineer certification, after my retirement, which lead to my first job.

      Two days after finishing my cert I had a job offer for a network position and a salary for $10,000 more than I would have been willing to accept before I finished.

      Twelve years of steady employment with three different companies later I completed a couple more certs, am making six figures, plus my retirement, and am thoroughly happy with my path.


    • #3296712

      It’s a Dynamic Career Field – Have YTour Ducks Lined Up

      by jmpayne56 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      After reading all the inputs, my suggestion is to follow the advise from He pretty much sums it up though everyone had good comments.
      Personally, experience isn’t always the ticket in the door. I’m a retired military vet and found that MOST industries/companies are looking for a quality individual at a low cost. They’d like a well-rounded person with education, experience and a certification that supports your edeucation and experience.
      I strongly suggest that wirh your experience, look at the CompTIA certifications. They’re recognized world-wide, they don’t expire, and it’s worht the investment.

      Best of Luck…

    • #3296687

      Any language skills?

      by expatjohn ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      If not, go for it and get some. I’m fluent in Japanese and that’s my edge. Shop around and learn a language you feel comfortable with. Even if you can just talk shop in partial phrases, that’s a major sales point.

    • #3296665

      go for it

      by tom ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I am retired 20 years usaf. Some good advice I was given at the time of my retirement was don’t rest on your laurels. A great day yesterday doesn’t count for squat unless you are having a great day today.

      Although your (presumably successful) experience in the military is part of you and is valuable background, that’s all it is. Your new employer will hire you and pay you based on what they think you will do for them (future tense), not what you did for someone else last year.

      Hire a professional resume writer. Pay money, get a pro. Your wife doesn’t count.

      Visit a real haberdasher. If you were an officer, I know you easily spent more than $1500 on clothes before you were even commissioned. Likewise here. Spend $2000 on good quality clothes.

      Repackage yourself. Retool yourself. When you meet a veteran in the workplace, make a deal with each other that, “If I ever say, ‘Well the way we did it at StratCom …’ or ‘The way we did it in the Corps of Engr` kick me hard.” You can think this way, just don’t ever say it. It sounds pompous and arrogant, it belittles your civilian coworkers.

      Make sure your resume doesn’t have you applying for your last position. Make sure you emphasize the things we *all* learned in the military:
      organized planning
      managing all 5 kinds of resources
      respect for others, wether higher rank or lower
      effective communications
      an understanding and appreciation of ‘process’

      Remove all hell, damn, shit, kiss my ass, etc from your language. period. your new work place is not going to be impressed by your ability to sound like a eighteen year old. Quite the opposite. Your career may not survive it.

      Forget your rank. Get out there and earn your new rank every day.
      Make it your business to be the best. We have a huge advantage over civilians because we know ourselves under pressure and we know how to stay on target and keep pushing. Use that advantage.

      Go for it.


    • #3296648

      Military training

      by bfilmfan ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      If you have a security clearance, I can guarantee you that it is more valuable than a certification.

      • #3296537

        Re: Military Training

        by spamthis ·

        In reply to Military training

        I agree… a higher level security clearence will go a long way compared to almost any certification. Many contractors, and government related employers look for people with a high security clearance to work on various projects.

    • #3296579

      Other things to consider

      by irish_pepper ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian


      After 20 years of military service and 10 years of civilian life I am reconsidering getting back to Goverment service. Sure you will get paid more in Civilian life however the transition is about more than the pay. If you can stay in a town that is a strong military community it will be easier. The business additude is totally different. You need to be prepared for politics and long hours with out extra pay.

      As the IT director in a company that has over 500 employees I find the IT staff is consider outcase to the company. In a goverment enviroment that is not the case.

      It sounds like your experience and knowledge would get you an IT director position if you stay with the smaller companies. In a large company you will be asked to specialize in only one area. If your telecommunitcation skills are your stonges and you don’t mind the hours right now that is a strong area to be in. Most of the telecommunication jobs will also be responsable for the troubleshooting of the network secrity and connectivity.

      Basically pick one of the skills you are stonges in and highlight that area when looking for a job with the larger companies. With the smaller companies you will want to highlight breifly every area you have knowlege in.

      Hope this helps….Good luck

    • #3297567

      Yes it is possible

      by rgarcia ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      1 1/2 years ago I made the transition from the USN (6 years PC and Networking experience) to the civilian sector. It was fairly easy but I needed to start pursing more certifications, something you should keep in mind when making the transition. Email me if you have any questions but I just wanted to pass a little food for thought.

      Reuben Garcia

      • #3297425

        Re: Reuben Garcia

        by jermaine.oldham@tempurped ·

        In reply to Yes it is possible

        Reuben, did you have any degrees to supplement your experience when you left the USN? Just curious…

        Jermaine C. Oldham

    • #3297494

      Stay Where You Are!!!!!!

      by jakcap ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      To many applicants and not enough jobs.
      Stay where you are!!!!

    • #3297426

      I need help transistioning as well!

      by jermaine.oldham@tempurped ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Have a look at my posting and give me advice/opinion on how I will do as well…

      Hello fellow IT professionals and experts. I am writing to seek advice on my soon to be transition to civilian life after 8 years active duty Air Force service. Below is a list of my credentials and I am seeking HONEST criticism on your experience/s on transitioning to civilian life and what advice you have to offer myself. Thanks for any advice you can or should offer…I really appreciate your help.

      Here are my current credentials leaving the military

      -8 years performing computer support obtaining progressively higher positions as I have gained experience. I currently perform Helpdesk, Desktop Support, System and Network Administration as well as some Network Management.
      -I have an MCP certification in Windows 2000 Pro and Server. However, have attended numerous training courses through Microsoft…following the course MCSE track.
      -I have an Associate of Applied Science degree in Information Management Technology from the Community College of the Air Force.
      -I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from the University of Phoenix
      -TS/SCI current clearance

      In addition, I have had a professional resume written, thus reflecting all of my skills, assignments, education, and training.

      And most importantly I have a great attitude, am very dedicated and motivated towards enhancing company effectiveness and accomplishing established goals. In your opinion, how will I do and what advice do you have for me. Thank you so much!

      Jermaine C. Oldham

    • #3297374

      clearence is the key

      by rc3038 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      if you have a security clearence the jobs are plentfull in the DC area all the major contract companies (saic,lockheed,boeing, northup,bae) are allways looking for former millitary with a clearence

    • #3297366

      Go for it.

      by dave.kershaw ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I came out of the Army after 22 years in the infantry. My IT skills came from my Hobbies Courses, In Civvy street and IT, Communications (Signals Telecoms) Experiance witin the Army.

      I am now senior tecnician with a newspaper company.

      My advice to you.

      1. List your skills. (You will have many)

      2. For each job application match your skills with the wants of the Job.

      3. An employer will not be impressed by the fact that you have been in the Army and I have known some old collegues receive replys like “lacking corporate experiance”.

      In your descriptions ensure that you use civvy speak to explain your experiances.

      4. Aim to be employed before you leave the Army. This period is usfull to gain a bit of job experiance without too much pressure.

      5. Evaluate your Job at regular intervals. I have given myself 5 years to adust and find the right job.

      6. If you have the time certification will help in some cases.

      Good Luck.

    • #3297272

      Look at gov’t opportunities

      by protiusx ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      If you have a security clearance then you?re in like Flynn! Post your resume on monster and be sure to include you clearance level. There is a shortage of IT folks with clearances out there so you shouldn?t have any trouble finding work.
      Additionally if you?re interested in working for the gov?t you could apply to agencies like the FBI.
      Good luck and thanks for your service!

    • #3297260

      changing from military to civilian

      by stephen.buttery ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Everything you have learned in the Military will come in very usfull in civilian life, not just the comouter stuff. You will find that your self motivation, dedication to getting the job done, timekeeping etc, will come as a very pleasant supprise to most employers. However, you will need to get some sort of recognised training in order to get yourself into interviews. After that the rest is up to you.

    • #3294932

      Be a Contractor

      by spaceghost ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      If you have a security clearance, consider being a defense contractor. You have many companies to choose from, and they often have openings. If you’re willing to relocate OCONUS, you get a big break from federal income taxes as you get to apply the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion to your salary (You qualify under the “Physical Presence Test” if you are physically present outside of the United States for at least 330 days of the year). Overseas, you also get a cost of living differential, depending on where you go. Furthermore, if you qualify for full logistical support, you still get an ID card (and the PX/Commissary privileges that go with it). If you deploy to a hazard zone like Iraq, you can easily command a six-figure salary.

    • #3294906

      I’m Impressed!

      by faith_michele ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      McDowell…Thank you for opening this can of worms. Best of luck. I grew up in MD and am currently in GA. If you decide to relocate to DC, please factor in the high cost of living.

      This is one of those times that the internet has truly impressed me. I want to thank everyone for the good, bad, and ugly advice. It helps me greatly in this time of transition. I admire everyone who transitioned 10+ years ago, when this type of discussion would not have been possible for some people.

      I am in a similar situation, retired at 21 years from the Army. When I finally figured out that I was interested in Information Technology, I went for my BS in IT. I will have it in Mar 05. Unlike McDowell, my only Army training in IT has been at the user level and 3 years in the Signal Corps. The rest of the time was spent in the Chemical Corps. My Army experience has made me very adaptive to change.

      I am currently working Admin as a contractor in a temporary job, but was able to get my IMO certificate from the Army. Even though I am in an Admin position, it requires a Secret Clearance, which was easily transfered over. I did hold a TS Clearance when I was Signal.

      I am upgrading operating systems, LAN support, updating anti-virus, and learning more everyday. Also, I have been able to make a few contacts that might lead to an IT job.

      One contact suggested to volunteer for the Red Cross at the Army Hospital to specifically work in the IT Department. That is something that I never thought about. Especially with all the HIPPA requirements needed today.

      Best of luck and thanks to all, I actually thought I was the only one in this situation.


    • #3294782

      I See I am Not Alone

      by rogeryounce1 ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      It looks like I am not alone in this situation. I have just completed 20 years of service in the USAF and currently seeking employee too. My background is in computer training, computer training development and a lot of experience as a training manager.

      From my location in North Carolina I am finding that there are many jobs available in various companies but I am not getting any good responses. I am not sure if my age (44) has a lot to do with that. I hope that is not the case.

      I have the training and experience but it is frustrating to find it difficult to land a good career.

      Anyone can get a JOB. My guess is many service members are looking for a CAREER. I am sure the right career will come along within time. I was informed that when military members do separate from the service they many have up to 5 different jobs before they find the right one. I am begining to believe the HR personnel were correct in that statement.

      I wish you all the best and hang in there

      Roger Younce

      • #3296491

        think latterally

        by arthurp ·

        In reply to I See I am Not Alone

        As I’ve previously mentioned … when I left the British Armed Forces, I took the decision to enter a saturated market where everyone else held commercial experience and a lot more qualifications than I did. My experience was based upon “it happened because it had to, otherwise people did not communicate which would cost lives”.

        Be open minded, and look at alternative positions … I’ve met too many people who leave the armed forces believing that everyone owes them a career path.

        Get REAL; The reality is that being in the armed forces is just another job, and you’ve chosen a career change, whether it happened early, or mid-life is inmaterial.

        Despite the additional benefits ect … Welcome to the new market … if a door keeps closing ask yourself why … and how can you improve your position …. be willing to take a “lower” position if only to gain the commercial experience & learn from it ….

        I’ve been lucky, having survived a cull of contractors and several massive bout of redundancies. Instead of whinging about it research your chosen area of speciality and use your skills to adapt to the enviroment ….

        “Bring it on”

    • #3296227

      Good Luck To You

      by leonard_aj ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I retired from the Navy in 97 and got lucky. I tried my own business for pc sales, repair and networking. With no dollars for support, it was destined to fail. Found a job with a marine electronics manufacturing company and got thier attention by asking to allow me to shock them with a couple of minor settings that would provide an instant performance boost. Major problem; military training usually doesn’t include system certifications which everybody must have for some foolish reason. Worked for the company for 3 years. Money ran out, got laid off. Now I drive trucks. My experience since 85 just wasn’t enough and it didn’t matter that my evaluations and recommendations were right on or better than currently employed persons. I didn’t have that piece of paper so I wasn’t worthy of thier payroll.

    • #3295687

      Three things to do…

      by benb ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      Mr. McDowell,

      I would recommend that you do three things ? determine what you would like to earn ($$$) and where you wish to work. Once you have these nailed, check out the cost of living and see if your desired amount ($$$) will allow you to live comfortably where you choose to work. The final thing to do is to understand what you enjoy most about the work you have done for the past nine years. With these three bits of information, you should start your interview process with a search for a job that allows you to do what you most enjoyed during the past nine years. You should be very honest about what you know, what you wish to do and what you would like to make ? do not back down on the amount you wish to make as well as the requirement for benefits (tuition reimbursement, medical, dental, 401K, etc). Once you get the job ? and you will ? immediately start taking coursed for certification and/or your degree. With the experience you have and the experience you will gain in your first job, I am certain you will be successful. What you wish to do now is only a start; you will determine your true calling once you have that first (or second, or third) civilian job.

      Good luck!

    • #3295665

      promote your process knowledge – translator badge required

      by budmanh ·

      In reply to changing from military to civilian

      I see a few replies mentioning military technology being 2-3 years behind. Yours may be more current, but I saw some of that in my transition 5 years ago. We were more currrent on the server, database, and imaging side. What I found is my joint military work was far ahead on process and security. While I realized quickly that my terminology was different, I emphasized my experience with project management (PMI), process management (ITIL), and any of several security standards. All this was new to the companies I ran across in the Y2K era, and I am now leading the ITIL work in a Fortune 150 company. BTW, this was after being ignored and rejected a few dozen times. I had to learn the language!

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