Moving from the military to civilian work can be daunting in any field, but especially in a fast-moving industry like IT. Our free Military to Civilian IT Career Guide will help you with everything you need to start your civilian career in Information Technology — from study strategies, to resume writing, interviews and corporate culture.
Transitioning from serving in the military to civilian life can be daunting. One of the toughest tasks can be adjusting to corporate life. The structure, chain of command, and even the camaraderie, it’s all just a little different. Here are several tips to help you make a smooth transition out of the uniform.
Be Aware of Your Environment
This one sounds familiar, right? Before you start that new IT job, learn as much as you can about the organization and its people. Try to get a sense of the culture and how employees interact with each other. Or at least be aware of what to expect. For example, maybe you’ll find that dressing as formally as you did while in uniform will make you seem intimidating. Many IT environments tend to be quite casual, so be intentional about understanding the environment!
We are fairly certain that nothing compares to the consistency and routine of military life. Working in IT requires a lot of flexibility, whether you are responding to a network outage or a not-so-tech-savvy coworker. That said, develop a routine of some sort to maintain a sense of familiarity. Here’s a suggestion: because IT pros can do a lot of sitting, keep up an exercise routine. Or find a routine that will work for you!
Lean on Your Old Network
There’s nothing quite like the camaraderie you develop while in the service. A lot of those buddies end up becoming friends for life. With that in mind, as you set about building a network (social) at your new job, don’t be afraid to maintain connection with familiar faces. They can keep you upbeat as you try to break into the IT crowd.
Your time in the military has equipped you with some great experience! Put that experience to work. More likely than not, people will be turning to you for help. Conversely, if you have a suggestion that could save the organization money or make the IT team more efficient, share it with the boss. They should be open to your feedback, as long as it’s delivered respectfully and framed positively.
The military provides you with time to prepare for life post-separation, so take advantage of it and figure out your next steps. Does that Server 2008 certification need to be upgraded? Do you need to get on board with the cloud? (By the way, the answer to that last one is: Yes. Yes, you should!) Start researching what IT skills are in demand, what companies you’d like to work for, etc.
Being able to adapt is the key to success in IT, as is a constant desire to learn. At the rate technology and IT evolves, you’ll easily fall behind if you don’t make training and learning a top priority. The good news is that you already know all about discipline, staying alert, and moving forward, all of which are essential to learning new technology and best practices.
Download the free Military to Civilian IT Career Guide for more tips on how to ease your transition into a civilian IT career.
CBT Nuggets offers free training to those leaving military service for a career in IT. See if you’re eligible for the Outside the Wire program or the certification scholarship.
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