Think about when you first enlisted in the military, the excitement, the nervousness, the fear of the unknown. While these feelings have surely changed since your first deployment, the end of your military career marks the beginning of a new chapter in your life and the renewal of those same feelings. While this may be intimidating, we want you to know that you have a partner in moving forward.  Our goal is to help veterans navigate the maze of opportunities ahead of them by means of education and information in order to help them choose a career that will serve them for years to come.

We discussed the advantages of certifications over degrees in Degrees vs. Certifications and in Your Military Transition we discussed how to navigate your transition and assesses your military benefits, but in this blog we would like to explore why exactly entering the IT industry is such a great fit for military veterans and why you should consider a career in IT.

Don’t know what IT is or would like to learn more about IT? Check out our blog What is IT (Information Technology) and Why You Should Know

IT Worker Shortage

While you were deployed the amount of open IT positions has increased tremendously. From 2014-2018, more than 450,000 IT job openings have been added to the market. The U.S. workforce is desperately trying to keep up with demand, but there are not enough qualified individuals to fill these positions.

The sector that has the hardest time keeping up with demand also happens to be the sector that favors military veterans, cybersecurity. By 2021, there will be an estimated 3.5 million open cybersecurity positions worldwide.

Even with cybersecurity salaries in the U.S. averaging $116,000, or approximately $55.77 per hour, cybersecurity is still having problems filling positions. Want to see for yourself? Google, “What is the demand for Cybersecurity jobs in the United States” and check it out.

What does this mean for you? Entering the IT industry can lead to great opportunities at an accelerated rate. Veteran Christopher Jaskoski was earning $70k just nine months after his separation from the military; read The IT Training Success Story of Christopher Jaskoski to learn more about Chris. At our last check with him in March of 2019, he was earning over $120k. A lot of veterans don’t know this but time in the military can be a significant advantage when seeking a career in IT.

Your Military Experience = Your Advantage

Skills you develop in the military like teamwork, leadership, and problem solving are just a few of the qualities that you can utilize in the IT industry. Exceptional problem-solving skills alone are a great indicator for an entry-level job in IT were troubleshooting and problem-solving are large parts of the job roles. Entry level roles like Computer User Support Specialist are earning on average 52k a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On top of basic skills that can help veterans get a head start in IT careers there are also many MOS’s that have direct correlations to jobs in the civilian workforce.

Networking and communications positions are a great example of this. Have you ever seen CISCO equipment in the field? There is a good chance that this equipment has had a large impact on your military career. Many of their devices are deployed all around the world with the U.S. military and are the exact same devices used on the civilian side of things.

From Cryptologists to Network Defenders and Signal Specialist to Systems Maintainers there are hundreds of positions in the military that can translate directly into civilian IT positions. Want to see if your skills and experience would translate to an IT job? Download our Veteran Skills and Interests Assessment below.

Download the Veteran Skills and Interests Assessment

Security Clearance and the Department of Defense

Do you have a Secret Security Clearance?

Having a secret security clearance and being in the field of IT can lead to a 5.8 percent average pay increase over time, and top-secret security clearance can lead to a 12.8 percent pay increase over time according to the Human Resource Association of the National Capital Area. Certified individuals with a security clearance are sought out by defense contractors, and generally have a very easy time getting hired.

Are you interested in working for the Department of Defense (DoD)?

Becoming 8570 compliant with single certifications from LeaderQuest can also boost your earning potential as well as make you eligible for a position in the DoD.

What is DoD 8570 Compliance? DoD 8570 establishes the policies and responsibilities of Department of Defense information assurance, including training, certification and workforce management. It is a baseline requirement for employees to access DoD IT systems.

How do you become 8570 compliant with LeaderQuest Certifications?

For a complete understanding of DoD8570 compliance check out our blog Making Sense of DoD8570 and DoD8140 for Your Cyber Security Career

By combining your Secret Security Clearance with 8570 compliance you can significantly improve your chances of getting hired into an IT position for a defense contractor.

What is the advantage of working in IT for the DoD or a defense contractor?

You get to continue your to serve your country while leveraging your security clearance to make more money, the average base salary for IT specialists in the DoD is around 78k according to glassdoor.com.

How Important are Time and Money to You?

Entering the workforce through a certification path can save you years and help you build the necessary experience to advance your career and make a decent living.

When looking at college degree programs you will find that a bachelor’s degree will typically take around 4 years to complete. This translates to 120 college credits and around about 40 total classes, not to mention the additional time it takes to get hired after completion. After this time you will still be entering the workforce as an entry-level candidate making entry level pay.

In comparison our entry-level certification program, the Computer User Support Specialist program, you are looking at around 3 months from training to hire and a total of 4 certification courses.

The earning potential of these different paths can be illustrated in the table below.

*Salary factored in is based on Robert Half’s technology salary guide. We used Low-End Conservative 50th percentile salaries for years 1-3. Years 4 & 5 are based on the average of  2,250 Cyber Security Analyst salaries from Glassdoor.com.

Timeline Bachelor’s Degree LeaderQuest Training (without pay raises factored in) LeaderQuest Training (with pay raises factored in)
Year 1

Studying: -$9,970

Training AND Working = +$16,287
(-$12,775 + $29,062)

Calculation:
1st yr Tier 1 Helpdesk annual earnings = $38,750
12 mos of work – 3 mos of training = 8 mos of work ($29,062)
Minus Training Costs ($12,775) = +$16,287

Year 2 Studying: -$9,970 Working: +$38,750 Working: +$40,000
(2nd year Tier 1 Helpdesk Earnings)
Year 3 Studying: -$9,970 Working: +$38,750 Working: +$45,750
(1st year Tier 2 Helpdesk Earnings)
Year 4 Studying: -$9,970 Working: +$38,750 Working: +$59,610
(1st Year Entry Level Cyber Security Analyst Earnings)
Year 5 Working: +$38,750 Working: +$38,750 Working: +$65,000
(2nd Year Cyber Security Analyst Earnings)
TOTAL Total: -$1,970
Total: +$38,750 (With G.I. Bill Funding)
Total: +$171,287 Total: +$195,498

As in any field, your pay is dependent on your experience and effort to move forward. To make the step from a Help Desk Associate to a Cybersecurity Expert it typically takes 2-4 years of IT experience and can be supported by next level certifications offered by LeaderQuest like the Certified Ethical Hacker certification or the Certified Security Analyst certification.

Why IT Certifications and Why LeaderQuest?

In general, certifications verify that you have specific skills or knowledge. They are a great way to show employers that you have put in the time to learn your craft. While certifications are great to have, they won’t always land you a job by themselves. Here at LeaderQuest, we have recognized this and have gone to great lengths to bridge the gap from certification to employment.

The LeaderQuest Difference

A large portion of our staff are military veterans, and it has pushed us to go beyond what one might expect from a training facility and inspired us to create a world-class training center that cultivates success for veterans from training to employment.

Training

LeaderQuest Training Process

  • Instructor Mentors: Each LeaderQuest campus has an Instructor Mentor specifically dedicated to the success of all students. The Instructor Mentors will organize study groups, create personalized study plans, and tutor individual students who need the most help.
  • Expert Instructors: All of our instructors are required to have industry experience.
  • Day or Night Courses: We offer day and night courses to fit your schedule. Full-Time courses run for 5 weekdays at 8hrs/day. Part-Time courses run for 10 weeknights at 4hrs/night.
  • Learning Portal: Carefully curated online tools including study and practice test tools are included in each course.
  • The LeaderQuest Learning Guarantee: You may re-sit any course that you have taken at no cost if it’s within 2 years of your course date. (If the certification version has changed you may have to purchase new materials.)

Employment

LeaderQuest Career Services Department

  • One on one resume/Cover letter writing.
  • One on one interview coaching.
  • One on one LinkedIn profile creation and optimization.
  • One on one application coaching including how, when, and what kind of jobs to apply to.
  • Meet and greets with industry professionals.
  • LinkedIn Tech Professionals groups to network and ask questions to LeaderQuest alumni in your area.
  • Access to LeaderQuest’s job boards curated by the career services Employment Development Managers.
  • Access to LeaderQuest’s employment partners. LeaderQuest has partnered with DoD and private companies across the country to help fill their entry-level to advanced-level positions in a wide array of IT sectors.

Learn more about LeaderQuest’s Employment Services in the video below.

As you can see, LeaderQuest has poured copious amounts of time and research into perfecting the formula for a concise education that produces results. That being said we are continually evolving and are constantly adjusting to the market to ensure a top-level education for anyone who chooses to walk through the doors of LeaderQuest. We listen to our students and support our veterans in and outside of the company.

Is Entering the IT Industry Right For You?

Whether you are looking to continue your service to the country through the DoD or are simply wanting to make money as quickly as possible, the IT industry may be a good fit your you! Your skills from the military combined with LeaderQuest’s proactive approach to training is designed to get you from training to employed as quickly and efficiently as possible, all while providing the necessary tools to help you do so.

Considering that a large portion of our employees are military veterans, we empathize with what you are going through and want to aid ease this process. This life-altering decision does not have to be one that you make alone. Here at LeaderQuest, our goal is to partner with you in making this decision and guide you throughout the whole process.

If you are interested in transitioning into the IT industry please click the button below, fill out a contact form, and a Career Adviser will contact you about your future. Thank you for your service and good luck!

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