Would you believe that the tech industry is the top employer of veterans? According to a study by Findem, veterans and military service members constitute 32 percent of the industry’s labor force. Among the leading companies actively hiring them are global names such as Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Cisco, and Boeing.
So what makes them suited to work in the tech industry? For one, they bring soft skills to the table that are essential to the tech industry. These include grit, leadership skills, agility, the ability to work in teams, and the capacity to withstand high-pressure work environments—skills that recruiters often struggle to find in civilian applicants. Not to mention, many military service members come from IT and cybersecurity-oriented roles in the military, making them even more qualified for work in the tech sector after discharge.
But, how exactly can veterans and military spouses break into the tech industry? The answer: QuickStart.
3 Ways to Change Careers from Military to IT
QuickStart is an online IT skills training platform that seeks to bridge the talent shortage in the tech industry by helping interested learners, including military service members and military spouses, build their tech careers. QuickStart is approved to participate in three programs designed by the Department of Defense to make IT training more affordable and accessible to soldiers, airmen, and military spouses.
1. Army CA Program Overview
The QuickStart Army Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL) program aims to help soldiers upskill or reskill in tech through programs approved by Army Credentialing Assistance (CA). These include bootcamp programs and training courses that prepare you for industry-recognized certification exams in cloud engineering, cybersecurity, AI and machine learning, data science and analytics, IT management, and project management.
An eligible soldier could spend up to $4,000 per year on education linked to their current Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) or on developing new skills that could help them get a job in the private sector.
Who Is Eligible for the Army COOL Program?
Enlisted and officer military members of various ranks are eligible for the program. If you are an Active Duty Army, Army Reserve, or National Guard personnel, you could qualify for financial assistance of up to $4,000 from the Army Credentialing Assistance Program.
What QuickStart Programs Can You Enroll In?
- Cybersecurity Bootcamp
- Cloud Engineering Bootcamp
- Data Science and Analytics Bootcamp
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Bootcamp
- Certification Programs
- CompTIA Security+
- CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)
- AWS Solutions Architect Associate
- Microsoft Azure Fundamentals
- Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst
- ITIL 4 Foundations
- Essentials of Project Management (PMP-V6)
A complete list of the bootcamps and their respective certifications can be accessed here!
QuickStart is a certified tech training provider enabling military spouses and Army and Air Force service members to utilize their education benefits to upskill or join the tech industry.Learn more here.
2. Air Force COOL Program Overview
QuickStart Air Force COOL program is designed for airmen to advance their tech careers by utilizing their Air Force COOL education benefits to enroll in tech training and earn industry-recognized certifications. They can use $4,500 annually as part of their education-related costs related to their current MOS.
Who Is Eligible for the Air Force Cool Program?
The program is open to active-duty airmen of regular Air Force, United States Space Force, Air Force Reserves, or Air National Guard under Title 10 or Title 32 active-duty orders. The Air Force COOL program is a Total Force enlisted program.
How to Apply
- Schedule a call with a military admissions advisor.
- Create an AFVEC account.
- Choose which credentials to pursue.
- Select QuickStart as your provider.
- Get approval to start learning.
What QuickStart Programs Can You Enroll In?
The following are only some of the bootcamps and certification programs approved for the Air Force COOL program. To see the complete list, click here.
3. My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) Scholarship
My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) is a government initiative for military spouses to obtain free education and certification for job progression. Qualified military spouses are eligible for up to $4,000 of their education costs to be covered by the scholarship.
Who Is Eligible for MyCAA?
An applicant must be a spouse of a service member in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard. During enrollment, your service member must be active-duty or in National Guard or Reserve status and be one of the following ranks: E1–E5, W1 or W2, O1 or O2. In addition, you must have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
How to Apply
- Complete your MyCCA registration.
- Schedule a meeting with a QuickStart Military Admissions Advisor.
- Get your education and training plan.
- Get approved.
What QuickStart Certifications Programs Can You Enroll In?
The following are the certifications approved for the MyCAA scholarship:
- CompTIA A+
- CompTIA Network+
- CompTIA Security+
- Healthcare IT Specialist Certification
- Cybersecurity Analyst Certification
How QuickStart Helps Military Service Members and Spouses Enter Tech
Patrick Adcock, Director of Military Programs at QuickStart, says the bootcamp for veterans and military spouses helps remove barriers to tech careers. Patrick was in the military once and has experience working as a VA certifying official at Georgia Southern University. Now at QuickStart, Patrick works on creating a military and government education support program.
At present, QuickStart is approved for MyCAA, Army Credentialing Assistance (ArmyCOOL), and Air Force Credentialing Assistance (AFCOOL) and has many partnerships with leading American universities with additional approvals. QuickStart also seeks approvals for the GI Bill, VETTEC, VR&E, and future approval for the possibility of VRRAP.
Relating his experience with military service members in the program, Patrick shares that some common concerns are skepticism and fear [with transitioning to the civilian workforce]. He says many of them do not believe they can start a new career without spending four years in college. “But not everyone needs a four-year degree to be successful,” assures Patrick, “What I love about the IT world is it’s very much: ‘Do you have the skill or not?’”
One way to resolve this is through counseling sessions, which he conducts with active duty service members, veterans, or military spouses. Yet, for military members, it might be difficult to find the drive and determination after having done something big for the country.
“Whether you loved or hated what you did in the military, you’re still going to miss something about it. It can be the structure, the people around you, or the lifestyle. That’s why finding importance is very difficult,” says Patrick, noting that he felt the same when he first left the service. That’s why he still works with military service members and veterans to ensure they do not make the same mistake as he and others did.
Patrick says the tech industry considers military members’ years of service or experience, knowing well that they are capable of being a professional. QuickStart gives them credentials and in no time, they’re off making a good living without having to complete a four-year degree program.
For instance, veterans coming out of the military with cyber or IT training already have soft skills, so all they need to walk into mid-level jobs are certifications. “I think that’s a better win than biding your time in a four-year course. That’s another reason why I really like what QuickStart can really do for military service members,” Patrick says.
For active-duty military, QuickStart’s programs are HR-certified, which can help IT specialists in uniform. Assuming they enroll for certification, that would count towards their existing certifications in their current job. So, QuickStart is not only helping transitioning service members but also educating and certifying active service members involved in ethical hacking in cyber or IT management.
Not just that, QuickStart also helps military spouses to break into and diversify the tech workforce. “Military spouses in tech should be considered a vast, untapped, and obtainable market,” says Patrick. “The STEM fields, mainly IT, are consistently experiencing incredible industry growth and are prone to the highest starting salaries without degrees. More to the point, military and veteran spouses often qualify for partially and fully paid benefits, meaning their certifications often come free of charge to them. Additionally, benefits like MyCAA cover many certifications and are relatively easy to use.”
“Here at QuickStart, next year in 2023, we will be looking to support the Women in Tech movement and get better-paying, highly competitive jobs through our bootcamps and certifications. Essentially, we are here to help everyone we can and go further to help our Military and Veteran families with their professional needs.”
In the meantime, Patrick and his team, composed of military spouses and people from the military world, ensure that they keep in touch with students, surveying every military-affiliated student they have at QuickStart.
For veterans and military members starting at QuickStart, Patrick says it is not too late to switch careers. “In the military, they preach courage…If you fear that it’s not going to work out, you are not giving yourself the opportunity to let it work out,” Patrick says. His advice: keep an open mind, ask for help and guidance, stay motivated, and understand that things change.
Advance Your Tech Skills or Enter the Field with Military Education Benefits
The tech industry has employed a large number of military service members, particularly those with expertise in cybersecurity and IT-related tasks. The soft skills veterans gained while serving can make their transition to the tech world seamless. Businesses hiring military people benefit from their grit, leadership, agility, and capacity to work in teams and tolerate high-stress situations.
Although new, QuickStart has helped active duty service members, veterans, and military spouses gain certifications via their military programs such as Army CA, Air Force COOL, and MyCAA.
If you are excited to make that transition to a tech career, take the first step today! Learn more about QuickStart military programs and certifications.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.