After dedicating years of your life to serving your country and overseas deployments, you’re finding yourself transitioning out of the military and entering the civilian world. You’re likely ready to find a job and start making some money. Maybe you’re interested in what the tech sector has to offer. Luckily, there are many routes into the tech industry and millions of job openings projected over the course of the next decade.
The beauty of tech jobs for veterans is the low barriers to entry. You don’t need a specific degree (or a degree at all) and the skills you need to enter the field can be gained in six months or less. Not to mention, with the increasing prevalence of tech jobs and the high demand for qualified professionals, the jobs are plentiful and the pay is attractive, especially as you grow within your area of expertise.
As a transitioning veteran, picture this pathway for yourself. Your unique military experiences put you in a prime position to garner sought-after tech skills and enter a thriving job market. With a strategic approach, you can break into the tech landscape quickly and start generating income in a role that allows you to grow, upskill, and increase your salary throughout your career.
Doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Keep reading for a complete veteran’s guide to getting a job in tech with no experience or traditional college degree.
The Post-Military Journey
Let’s be honest: the reality of post-military job prospects can sometimes feel discouraging and some of these jobs can downright suck. Veterans often face challenges when transitioning into the civilian workforce, and the job market can be competitive, especially in traditional roles. But here’s the good news: tech careers offer an exciting alternative that’s well within reach, even without prior experience.
But why tech? Tech careers are booming, and the demand for skilled professionals continues to grow. Moreover, tech companies increasingly recognize the unique value that veterans bring to the industry. The discipline, problem-solving abilities, and adaptability developed in the military align perfectly with the demands of tech roles.
One of the most accessible ways to break into the tech industry is through coding boot camps. These intensive, short-term programs equip you with the practical skills needed for tech roles, from software development to cybersecurity. They’re designed for beginners, meaning you don’t need a tech background to get started.
The Appeal of a Career in Tech
Tech companies are renowned for their workplace perks, work-from-home opportunities, high-salaries, forward-thinking culture, and career advancement opportunities. If you’re a veteran considering a transition to the tech industry, you’ll find that these benefits can significantly enhance your work experience and quality of life.
Work from home (WFH) and hybrid work environments
The tech industry has been at the forefront of embracing remote work. Many tech companies offer flexible work arrangements, including the option to work from home. This flexibility promotes work-life balance, accommodates various lifestyles, and allows you to spend more time with family by cutting out commute times.
Positive workplace culture
Tech companies often foster inclusive, innovative, and collaborative cultures. They value diversity, encourage open communication, and provide opportunities for career development.
Tech companies are known for offering competitive salaries, stock options, and comprehensive health, dental, and retirement benefits packages. These financial perks contribute to a comfortable and secure lifestyle:
Tech companies understand the importance of work-life balance. They offer policies and programs to help you maintain a fulfilling personal life while excelling in your career. This includes flexible hours, generous paid time off, and parental leave.
Tech company offices are often designed to be both functional and enjoyable. You can expect state-of-the-art facilities, ergonomic workstations, free snacks and beverages, and communal spaces that encourage collaboration and creativity.
Pathways to Enter the Tech Industry
For veterans seeking a career in the tech industry, the traditional path of enrolling in college may seem like the default option. However, it’s essential to understand that college isn’t the only—and often not the most practical—way to enter the tech world. If you’re looking to jumpstart your tech career, consider coding boot camps as an effective and efficient alternative.
While college can provide a comprehensive education, it comes with its own set of challenges, particularly for veterans. Pursuing a degree can take years, and require a heavier commitment than something like a bootcamp. Rather than being tied to a full schedule of classes that leaves little room for your personal life and family, coding boot camps offer the flexibility of a part-time schedule. This means you can strike a balance between your training and personal time, all while benefiting from a housing allowance during your program.
Coding Boot Camps: A Faster Route to Tech Success
Coding bootcamps offer a more streamlined and targeted approach to tech education. These intensive, short-term programs focus on equipping you with the practical skills needed for tech roles. Here’s why they’re an appealing option:
- Speed: Boot camps can typically be completed in a matter of months, allowing you to enter the workforce sooner than a traditional college program.
- Cost-Effective: Boot camp tuition is often more affordable than college tuition, and many programs offer financing options.
- Practical Skills: Boot camps emphasize hands-on learning, preparing you for real-world tech jobs from day one.
- No Degree Required: Boot camps are accessible to individuals with various educational backgrounds, including those without college degrees.
Utilizing the GI Bill and VET TEC
If you’re a veteran, you have the added advantage of potentially utilizing the GI Bill or the Veterans Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program to fund your coding boot camp experience.
- GI Bill: The GI Bill can provide financial assistance for education and training, including coding boot camps, making it a valuable resource for veterans pursuing tech careers.
- VET TEC: VET TEC specifically focuses on helping veterans transition into the tech industry. It covers the cost of high-tech training programs, including coding boot camps, and offers a monthly housing allowance while you’re in training.
Choosing the Right Bootcamp
When selecting a coding bootcamp, it’s crucial to opt for one that accepts the GI Bill or is part of the VET TEC program. Ensure that the boot camp’s curriculum aligns with your career goals, and research the outcomes and reputation of the program.
Remember, college isn’t the only path to success in the tech industry, especially for veterans looking to jumpstart their careers and start earning sooner rather than later. Coding boot camps offer a faster, more cost-effective, and hands-on way to acquire the skills needed for tech roles. With the support of the GI Bill or VET TEC, veterans can access these valuable training opportunities and quickly insert themselves in a high-paying tech role.
The Coding Bootcamp Enrollment Process
- Research: Start by researching coding bootcamps that align with your goals. Look for programs with a strong track record, experienced instructors, and positive alumni reviews. Education providers such as Promineo Tech are a good place to start.
- Apply: Once you’ve found the right program, complete the application process. Some bootcamps have prerequisites, such as a pre-assessment, but they’re not as stringent as those of traditional education. VA programs such as VET TEC provide the funding for these tech bootcamps so that you can attend training at zero cost while receiving a monthly housing allowance giving you security and stability while you build your career.
- Prepare: Prepare for the bootcamp by brushing up on basic coding concepts. Many bootcamps offer tips to help you get up to speed.
- Immerse: Once you’re enrolled, be prepared for an immersive and challenging experience. Bootcamps typically last for about six months and require your dedication. Much like military training, it can be a firehose method of receiving information, but that is something you are already trained to do.
Addressing Common Doubts
It’s common for veterans transitioning to civilian life to grapple with doubts and uncertainties, especially when considering a career in tech. One prevalent misconception is the belief that “I’ve never worked with computers” could be a deal-breaker. However, it’s crucial to understand that your military background has already equipped you with invaluable skills, like perseverance, that are highly transferable to tech roles.
There are many coding bootcamps designed for beginners, and that’s precisely where you can bridge the gap between your military background and the tech industry. Here’s why a coding bootcamps and a career in tech are perfect for transitioning veterans:
- Structured learning: Bootcamps provide structured, hands-on learning experiences, mirroring the regimented training you received in the military.
- Problem-solving: Bootcamps emphasize problem-solving and critical thinking, skills you’ve honed throughout your military service.
- Intensive training: Like military training, bootcamps are intensive, immersing you in the subject matter and fostering a quick adaptation to new skills.
- Teamwork: You’ll often collaborate with fellow boot camp participants, fostering teamwork just as you did with your military unit.
- Mentorship: Many boot camps offer mentorship, akin to the guidance you received from experienced veterans during your service.
- Discipline: Military training instills discipline and a strong work ethic, traits that are equally crucial in the tech world where meeting deadlines and maintaining focus are paramount.
- Attention to detail: Precision and attention to detail are non-negotiable in tech, just as they are in military operations. Small errors can have significant consequences.
To overcome the “I’ve never worked with computers” mentality, you must shift your mindset. Instead of focusing on what you haven’t done, think about what you have achieved in the military. Recognize the parallels between your military experience and the skills needed in tech. Many veterans have successfully transitioned to thriving tech careers, and you can too.
Post-Bootcamp Career Outlook
After completing your bootcamp, you will have gained valuable, practical skills the tech industry looks for in job candidates.
Here are some of the roles within tech you’ll be qualified for after finishing a coding or tech bootcamp:
- Web developers create and maintain websites and web applications. They are in demand across various industries, and job prospects are generally favorable. Common roles include front-end developers (working on the user interface) and back-end developers (managing server-side operations).
- Data engineers design, build, and maintain data pipelines and infrastructure. With the growing importance of data in business decisions, data engineering roles are in high demand. Companies are seeking professionals who can handle data storage, processing, and analysis.
- Digital Marketers are responsible for promoting products or services online. They use different strategies, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), and social media marketing, to reach and engage audiences. This field offers a wide range of roles, including SEO specialists, content marketers, and digital advertising managers.
While these roles have strong market demand, competition can be fierce. Networking, showcasing your skills through projects, and continuously updating your knowledge are essential for success in the tech industry post-boot camp.
Veterans possess a unique and valuable skill set that allows them to thrive in the tech industry. While the path to a tech career might seem daunting at first, just remember that it’s a journey worth pursuing. Tech jobs offer not only financial stability but also a fulfilling sense of purpose.
You’ll have the opportunity to create, innovate, and solve real-world problems. The collaborative nature of the industry aligns well with the teamwork and adaptability honed during your military service.
If you’re a veteran considering this transition, you’re not alone. There’s a vibrant community of vet-to-tech individuals who have successfully made the leap. They’re there to offer guidance, share their experiences, and answer your questions. You have already done some of the toughest things in your previous field, and have gained the experience to streamline the next chapter of your life. Now you can shift your focus to building a smart, stable, and ever-growing career in tech.