If you were to believe the recruitment videos, there are only two kinds of jobs you can do in the military: combat and the kind of slick, high-tech work.
In the real world, most of us don’t do either one of those jobs. Most military jobs are in support, and often have no direct civilian equivalent. Most skill sets require a bit of adjustment when it comes time to apply them to the civilian workforce.
The good news is that it’s pretty common for even nontechnical military jobs to have at least some technical skills that can be useful to fill out a résumé or help justify a raise or promotion. Here are five skills learned in the military that veterans can use to help them in IT jobs.
Even distinctly nontechnical job fields are often tasked with assembling statistics and project updates in the audiovisual presentation software. These presentations are valuable assets to a variety of companies, mainly office and technology. PowerPoint presentations are incredibly common, and if you’ve got the skills to create a killer layout, it can make you a real asset to your company.
2. Hardware Deployment
This is a big one for jobs that spend a lot of time in the field. The modern military has become incredibly technical. That means there are plenty of jobs that require lots of packing and unpacking of computer gear. And while much of the specific hardware in question doesn’t have civilian equivalent, it is actually quite helpful if you just know the difference between a USB cable and an AC adapter.
Since almost every business in America is running some kind of computer system these days, it can really help you stand out if you’re the person who knows how to get the machines up and running.
3. Network Configuration
Not everyone in the military gets to set up and administer data networks, but if you’re one of the lucky few, you have an in-demand skill. For the average person, networks are mysterious things. Few understand the sorcery used to get computers to talk between themselves, but having someone around who understands the technical mysteries can save employers loads of time and effort.
This can mean advancement, pay raises or simply avoiding the axe when layoff time comes around.
4. Operating Systems
There are a shrinking pool of jobs and positions in the military that don’t use computers in some capacity in their day-to-day job. There is a great opportunity for veterans who were assigned similar duties. If you have figured out the finer points of using common operating systems, you’ll be able to work that much more efficiently on your civilian workstation.
Databases can be funny in that there are lots of different types of programs, but they all essentially perform the same function. A database is a program that stores and manages data so it can be recalled as needed. If your military experience includes experience in managing popular civilian databases, you’ve probably got a pretty good career ahead of you. But even if all you did was use a proprietary database to manage supply or track DinQ lists, you’ve got a skill that employers want.