Are you smart enough to get a job in tech? After a military career, everyone tells veterans they should really be looking for a job in IT -- information technology. Sounds like a great idea. So many jobs. So many great employers. So much earning potential.
Are Veterans Smart Enough for a Job in Tech?
Then there comes the niggling doubt: Are you really smart enough to get a job in tech? Don't those jobs require a computer science degree? Or a profound love of calculus or differential equations? Shouldn't you be able to at least spell "differential equations" or recognize one if it popped you in the mouth?
During my research for our transition master class, "How to Get a Tech Job Without Tech Experience," I found plenty of veterans and spouses and military in transition who were, in fact, what you could call "tech curious." They knew there were plenty of tech jobs out there. According to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), there are currently 12.4 million tech jobs in the U.S., with nearly a quarter of a million new jobs being added this year alone.
The tech curious had also heard there were plenty of options for veterans and spouses to get some of the most desirable tech certifications from free programs, like Onward to Opportunity, SkillBridge, Microsoft Software and Systems Academy and Amazon Technical Apprenticeships, etc. But would they be smart enough to do the work, or would it be a total waste of time?
No One Wanted to Ask.
So I asked for them. For every interview I did for the master class, I asked the big question: How smart do you need to be to get a job in tech, especially if you don't have a tech background or a tech-related degree? There was no definitive answer, because there are so many different kinds of jobs in tech. I did hear seven signs that you should look into getting a job in tech.
7 Signs You Are Smart Enough for a Job in IT
1. You Like Math.
I was surprised to find out that most tech jobs involve very little math. Instead, a preference for math is an indicator that you like to solve problems. It shows you can understand a system, and you can think of logical ways to get the right answer.
2. You Google.
When something goes wrong with your phone, computer or dishwasher, do you Google to figure out how to fix it? Do you look up videos on YouTube to understand what went wrong? When it comes to tech, you can find the answer on Google a lot of the time.
3. You Are a Troubleshooter.
One of the things I heard over and over from hiring managers, recruiters and transition professionals is that the trait that marks you as a tech person is that you have experience on the job as a troubleshooter.
If you have equipment and it breaks, do you understand how it works and then figure out how to fix it? Then you are a troubleshooter.
So in addition to ITs, cyber, nukes and cryptos doing well getting tech certifications, I heard stories about aircraft mechanics doing well in tech. Aviation technicians. Boiler repairmen. Wheeled vehicle mechanics. Heavy equipment mechanics. Operations. Logistics. You name it. If you were good at troubleshooting, you might be great at tech.
4. You Are a Lifelong Learner.
Some people pick up new skills easily. They master one thing and quickly move on to the next; that is one of the things that made them excel in the military. Tech is an industry that is constantly changing and growing. The preference for learning new skills is a kind of an intelligence that would serve you well in tech.
5. You Can Touch-Type.
This is one not everyone thinks to mention. If you are planning to code, you need to be able to type without looking at the keyboard. Hunt-and-peck just won't cut it when it comes to coding.
6. You Can Imagine the Evil Mind.
People in IT handle so much sensitive, confidential and restricted information. It is an irresistible target for the evil mind. If you are a person who can imagine how that mind might think, you can start to see the vulnerabilities in a company's cybersecurity and plug the gaps.
7. You Took Our 'Tech Jobs Without a Tech Background' Master Class.
If you are truly curious about whether a tech job is right for you, watch our FREE Transition Master Class: Tech Jobs without a Tech Background. We not only explore the opportunities in tech, we match you up with the entry-level tech job that would best suit your personality. Then we demo where you can get all those tech certifications for free.
If you have five of these seven signs, you can be sure that it is worth your time to look into the programs that will help you get your first civilian job in tech after military service. You are good enough. You are smart enough. And, doggone it, you can spell differential equations.
Jacey Eckhart is Military.com's transition master coach. She is a certified professional career coach and military sociologist who helps military members get their first civilian job by offering career-level Master Classes through our Veteran Employment Project and on her website SeniorMilitaryTransition.com. Reach her at Jacey.Eckhart@Monster.com.
Learn More About the Veteran Employment Project
To get more tips on how to make a successful military transition, sign up for one of our FREE Military Transition Master Classes today. You can view previous classes in our video library. Questions for Jacey? Visit our Facebook page.