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Transitioning Your Military Skills into a Rewarding IT Career

June 2017, by Jay Hicks, PMP, Author & Business Owner

Our clients recognize the importance of mirroring the markets in which they do business to remain competitive and reach new consumers. Utilizing our 47 proven certified diverse partners within our Associate Vendor Program, Apex is equipped to support companies in their goals of engaging technical professionals with a variety of backgrounds.

Apex is especially successful in employing military veterans. We are proud to be a Virginia Values Veterans V3 Certified company, which was earned through our efforts to hire veterans in Virginia. In addition, Apex partners with organizations that focus on hiring veterans and military spouses, including V3, MSEP Military Spouse Employment Partnerships, Hire Heroes USA, local military base transition assistance programs, and the Professional Diversity Network. In 2016, Apex placed 1,127 veterans. In an effort to assist veterans, we asked author, veteran, and frequent Apex speaker, Jay Hicks, PMP, to relay a few key ways military experience can translate into a thriving technical career.

Are you a military serviceman or veteran seeking a career move into commercial information technology (IT)? Good news; many military occupations require significantly trained or inherent technology skills.

Your skills are invaluable and with some preparation, you will readily apply these to your future career in the commercial IT industry. Fortunately, companies and organizations such as Microsoft, Cisco, Hire Our Heroes and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) offer free or low cost training to military and veterans desiring to transition into the IT, Cybersecurity and Project Management career fields.

What are your next steps? There are six basic functions performed by most IT workers. Fortunately, they are aligned to many of the skills already obtained during your military service. The IT functions framework below provides a basis for your transitional decision into the commercial IT field. You should align these functions to your capabilities, likes and dislikes as you analyze your target future direction.

The first four functions provide technical services and support within the IT industry. These functions are very diverse; consisting of numerous planning, design, administration, and break fix activities. Cybersecurity and management represent the other two important functions within IT. These two functions span all IT functions, and have an embedded, cross functional nature and are shown vertically.

If you are already well versed in IT, you should pursue one of many occupations in the cybersecurity career field. However, if your NCO or Officer leadership experience is in information technology, IT management is a great transitional career field and certainly one to aspire to.

One of the key methods to prove your knowledge obtained during your military service to a future employer is through certification. Should you decide to stay in the Department of Defense (DoD) environment as an IT contractor, you will need to obtain commercial certification in accordance with the approved baseline from DoD Directive 8140.01.

When starting out, it is a good idea to get a few IT certifications that cross multiple functions. Broad-based certifications will enable a higher return on invested time and money, enabling you to compete for multiple entry level IT positions. You will boost your confidence and quickly enhance your resume by having an industry-recognized certification.

As your experience and knowledge grow, you will want to seek certifications with greater complexity to remain competitive. As stated in “The Transitioning Military IT Professional”, advanced certifications will increase personal credibility and prove advantageous for both hiring and promotion. If you do decide to go the IT management track, obtaining management certification such as the Project Management Professional (PMP), provides recognition of your project management knowledge, skills, and abilities, leading to greater earnings, career opportunities and potential for advancement.

About the author
Jay Hicks is an author, instructor and consultant, with over 30 years of business and government leadership experience. After a distinguished Army career, Jay developed multiple project management organizations for several defense contract organizations. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful military transition. Finding his noble purpose, Jay has published “The Transitioning Military Information Technology Professional”, along with multiple other books and articles, assisting numerous military personnel in their personal quest for a successful and lucrative post-military career.
“The Transitioning Military Series”, by Jay Hicks, is now available at AAFES and on Amazon!

Jay is also a writer for Clearance Jobs, and many of his articles are around how to effectively transition from the military into your next career. Visit his profile via

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