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Businesses The Military IT

Why Military Personnel Make the Best IT Pros 299

Nerval's Lobster writes Every year, approximately 250,000 military personnel leave the service to return to civilian life. When the home front beckons, many will be looking to become IT professionals, a role that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is among the fastest growing jobs in the country. How their field skills will translate to the back office is something to ponder. With the advent of virtualization, mobile, and the cloud, tech undergoes rapid changes, as do the skill sets needed to succeed. That said, the nature of today's military—always on the go, and heavily reliant on virtual solutions—may actually be the perfect training ground for IT. Consider that many war-fighters already are IT technicians: They need to be skilled in data management, mobile solutions, security, the ability to fix problems as they arise onsite, and more. Military personnel used to working with everything from SATCOM terminals to iPads are ideally suited for handling these issues; many have successfully managed wireless endpoints, networks, and security while in the field. Should programs that focus on placing former military personnel in civilian jobs focus even more on getting them into IT roles?
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Why Military Personnel Make the Best IT Pros

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  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:12PM (#48074407)

    In my field (systems engineering,) discipline, troubleshooting skills and attention to detail are pretty critical. I would think an ex-military person would be the ideal antidote to the cowboy sysadmins you see at a lot of places. Those guys get a lot done, but can cause a lot of damage by not thinking through things to their full conclusion. Good military people (and I'm not one) aren't just rule-followers -- they're good at seeing where they fit in a bigger picture, something that really is lacking in a lot of folks' skill sets.

    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:18PM (#48074461)
      On the other hand, bad former-military people were cogs in a machine, and don't see past their prescribed task at all.

      I don't think that having been military or not really gives much of a sign of how one will work out.
      • by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:23PM (#48074527) Journal

        After this comment, there is no further need for discussion.

        • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @02:05PM (#48075025)

          After this comment, there is no further need for discussion.

          The article is dumb. It is asking "why" something is true, yet providing no evidence that it actually is true. I have worked with lots of ex-military, and am one myself, but I have never seen any reason to believe they are better or worse than anyone else at anything. I haven't even found them to be particularly good at "following orders". Well, I suppose I could beat most of my co-workers at field stripping a machine gun, but that is not a useful skill in most civilian occupations.

      • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:27PM (#48074571)
        I am less worried about the 'cog' people since they probably will not get very far in IT due to lack of, well, being useful..

        The military people I have had trouble with in the past were ones who had really internalized hierarchy and protocol then have trouble when others do not fall into line with their expected behavior and deference.
        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          The military people I have had trouble with in the past were ones who had really internalized hierarchy and protocol then have trouble when others do not fall into line with their expected behavior and deference.

          The only real problem with military people are those who still have a "command" mentality - who believe they are the be-all-end-all person. Especially when they get to be management and insist on everyone following their way dammit (or drop 20 - and yes, there have been a few that forced their civi

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by nolife ( 233813 )

            From my experience, the "military" or command mentality is this:
            Follow my orders, questioning things is a sign of subordination, obey my guidance because I am right, just do it, and you don't have enough info to make your own decisions.

            We have all worked for those people.

            The one thing I have found without a doubt from every person I have met that has some or all of those characteristics is a person that is not truly comfortable with what they are doing. They are afraid of people digging in deeper into the

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This.

        Unfortunately, most of the vets that I've interviewed or worked with were NOT well-suited to the types of fast-paced environments I work in. Maybe I've had experience with a bad sample.....

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by s.petry ( 762400 )

        On the other hand, bad former-military people were cogs in a machine, and don't see past their prescribed task at all.

        Sure, generalizations are usually bad. That said, the Military does provide training that Civilians do not get, so what you should be asking is "what does the Military training focus on?"..

        I don't think that having been military or not really gives much of a sign of how one will work out.

        I'm guessing that you are not former Military and/or lack exposure to veterans (intentionally pluralized), so let me give a few things that all military people will have.

        1. Self motivation. If you don't have it, you won't get out of boot camp. There are plenty of people that get out during boot camp under various hard

        • While I agree with what you are saying and those skills are necessary to being successful in IT, it doesn't mean that being in the military makes one proficient in the field --- unless they had actual training in IT related assignments. Yes, today's soldier uses a lot more technology than 20 years ago, but then again so do our kids. Just using technology doesn't mean one has the aptitude for an IT job. It is unlikely that all of the 250,000 people leaving military life each year, as mentioned in the arti

          • by Sepodati ( 746220 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @04:53PM (#48076897) Homepage

            As a soon-to-be retired job seeker, all I want is what's in your last statement. Being military doesn't make me more or less suited for the job. Evaluate me based on my experience, achievements and skills I can bring to the job in question.Just give me a fair chance in the interview so sink or sell myself.

            Although this is a crap dice propaganda article and many of the comments scare me, they are enlightening, also. You guys are helping me prepare for interviews.

        • Military or civilian, the individual would still be evaluated based on skill and culture fit. Period.

          If the candidate shows good problem solving skills, aptitude, and knowledge/experience as well as a personality which shows positive signs of communication, teamwork, accepting criticism as well as being able think independently, then they make good candidates.

          Many of the traits listed above (1-5) are good traits to have. No argument there. But fitness for one organization does not imply fitness for another

        • I'm guessing that you are not former Military and/or lack exposure to veterans (intentionally pluralized), so let me give a few things that all military people will have.

          1. Self motivation. If you don't have it, you won't get out of boot camp. There are plenty of people that get out during boot camp under various hardships, they can't handle the training. Self motivation is essential for "good" IT people, we usually call it "self starter" in the civilian sector..

          I've been to boot camp, and AIT for the Army Infantry, and you don't need self-motivation, you do what everyone else does when they do it. Self-starters will advance in the military, maybe get squad leader in their training platoon, but basic training itself only weeds out those that really can't handle the military.

          2. Perseverance. Same with above, even when things get tough you learn to cope in the military (or you exit). As with above, this means that Military people are less likely to give up on a problem, and will continue debugging for a much longer time.

          This is a trait I see more in those that rise in the military, there were many instances where I've seen someone say, "Screw it, good enough for government work."

          3. Understanding of Hierarchy and chain of command. No need to teach this to a Veteran, we know what it is and how it works. Give a Military person a flow chart, and be amazed at how they can follow the proper chain of command for any department in your company.they can follow procedures

          I agree in general the military

      • Which is perfect. Being a cog in the machine is exactly what most businesses want. The only thing better is a cheap easily replaced cog.

      • by nucrash ( 549705 )

        I have had the luxury of dealing with the cogs in the wheel. I am thinking about larger pieces of the puzzle when some of my compatriots are thinking of fixing the task at hand. Many times I would have to follow up with their work to fix problems left behind. After years of work, some of this cog mentality has been worked out of them, but we are talking almost a decade a year later.

      • On the other hand, bad former-military people were cogs in a machine, and don't see past their prescribed task at all. I don't think that having been military or not really gives much of a sign of how one will work out.

        I think that's the nice way of saying "This article is just wrong."

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:19PM (#48074479)

      In my field (systems engineering,) discipline, troubleshooting skills and attention to detail are pretty critical. I would think an ex-military person would be the ideal antidote to the cowboy sysadmins you see at a lot of places. Those guys get a lot done, but can cause a lot of damage by not thinking through things to their full conclusion. Good military people (and I'm not one) aren't just rule-followers -- they're good at seeing where they fit in a bigger picture, something that really is lacking in a lot of folks' skill sets.

      Ah, but how to tell the good military guys from the ones who have had any imagination or scientific rigor beat out of them? I know a lot of good ex-military IT guys, and a lot of so-so ones that simply repeat what's in the manual because hey, it's the manual, it's never wrong (until it is, and then the manual is shredded since it's worthless if it has even 1 minor mistake in it.) If you have a very rules-oriented IT department then military guys can fit right in, just don't ever think about assigning them to supervise any non-ex-military staff, it will blow up like a claymore.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tc3driver ( 669596 )
      In my personal experience, ex military IT pros are far too rigid for coming up with solutions that are outside of the norm. This is a good thing when you need NOC jockeys. Not so good when a service goes down at 1 AM and you need to get that service up, and an unconventional manor is the only way. It may be less than ideal, but it buys the time necessary to fix it correctly. I cannot say this is only ex-military that have this problem of rigidity, I have seen it in a lot of other people as well. Especi
      • I don't know about "military IT pros" but if you pick people from combat specialties, and yes some of them know IT, you will find many quite adept at going outside the norm and improvising while lacking the proper equipment and support. One of the favorite IT admins at a previous employer spent time as a door gunner on a blackhawk.

        To be honest I'm skeptical about your "military IT pros" appraisal. Are you referring to people working at the Pentagon or something more like people at a Battalion HQ who kept
        • I have worked with IT professionals at a military installation. Their improvisational talent is amazing when it comes to figuring out a way to get something done within the crazy rules they have to follow.
      • and an unconventional manor is the only way

        So, you'd call in Batman? I mean, Wayne Manor may be stately, but it's also pretty unconventional.

    • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:33PM (#48074643) Homepage Journal

      Up until 2001 the USMC had computer programmers (MOS 4067) and IT Specialists (MOS 4066). We built our own networks, pulled our own cables, congifured our own servers, wrote our own SQL, built our own apps, cursed at IBM for the pain and suffering that was Lotus Notes, ripped on the old Chief Warrant Officers that were still writing green-screen crap. The whole nine yards.

      Most of the guys/gals in those fields were actually pretty smart, creative, and had no problems converting to civilian life.

      Unfortunately, Clinton started, and Bush Jr finished privatizing all of the 4067s and the vast majority of the 4066s (I think the handful of positions kept were lat moved into a new MOS in admin).

      One of the guys I worked with, a Cpl, got out making $14.4k a year (base pay for an E4 in 2000), got hired by a contracting firm and started back up at HQ MC, in the exact same role and desk and his pay rate was $140k a year (bill rate was probably $200k+ per year).

      So massive money savings move there...

      I think the Air Force still has enlisted/officer software and network techs though. If I hadn't gotten out, I would have transferred that way.

      -Rick

    • The problem the employer will have is when they get called back to active service and now your key personnel is gone. As I understand it this especially applies to USMC who are NEVER free from service and can be called back any time.

      • You do not understand this correctly. Unless things have changed since I enlisted, served my time and was honorably discharged, the USMC signs the same contracts as the other branches of the armed services. You sign up for X number of years, where X is equal to a Y active component and a Z inactive component. In my case, I spent 4 years on active duty, and 4 in the inactive ready reserve, where I could be called back to duty.
      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @02:29PM (#48075307)

        As I understand it this especially applies to USMC who are NEVER free from service and can be called back any time.

        Ex-Marine here. When I left active service ("transferred to the 1st Civ Div" in milspec lingo), I was given an option of converting to reserve, or being completely discharged, free of any future obligation. I chose the reserves mostly because I needed the money (I was going back to college), but also because spending one weekend a month riding helicopters and shooting machine guns didn't seem too bad.

        In 1990 my reserve unit was mobilized for Desert Storm. Of the 120 Marines, 119 showed up on the mobilization date. But 18 ex-Marines showed up, because they heard about the mobilization on the local news. We interviewed them, re-enlisted 16 of them on the spot, gave them a haircut, handed them a rifle, and put them on the bus to Camp Pendelton. So we shipped out at 112% strength. When we returned stateside, I decided I was getting too old and was likely to be assigned to a desk job, so I dropped out and became a 100% civilian.

        Semper Fi

    • I think they're great for that. Cowboy sysadmins are great at certain things, but you need people who will think things through to balance things out. It also works well when there's good chemistry between the people who fill each role.
    • ability to put up with bullshit, understanding when all plans go to shit, and great at improvising.
  • by rebelwarlock ( 1319465 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:12PM (#48074415)
    Former military person seeking IT job.
    • Re:Alternate title (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Timothy Hartman ( 2905293 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:21PM (#48074509)
      or Dice Clickbait Cancer
      • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

        or Dice Clickbait Cancer

        I saw the headline and then moused over the link thinking "Yep .. its a dice click bait story"

        Dice a company that runs a market matching candidates and employers, promoting that a large group of people are well suited as employees. And doing so on a website that they own.

    • by RingDev ( 879105 )

      Where are you looking and what are your skills? I have some positions that are about to be posted in software development and project management.

      -Rick

      PS: Also a former military guy ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lars5 ( 69333 )

        ~40% of the IT dept where I work is ex-military. We run circles around the other IT depts in our company (where the ex-military % is 0 - 10%).

  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:13PM (#48074421) Journal
    ...than most people who haven't served in the military.

    In the military there are no excuses for failure, yes - everyone can get it wrong, but if you're a military man...you don't complain, you get it DONE!
    That attitude alone solves a LOT of problems. I've been working in the IT Sector for a LONG time and no matter what field you're in, I could spot a former military man MILES away, because they have a positive go-getter attitude, and I've yet to ever hear an long boring attitude related discussion about an issue with such a man, they listen - and work until the problems are solved.

    I'd hire people like that in a heartbeat!
    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      I don't think that this is necessarily correct, especially with the infusion of private contractors into specialized roles. Systems are delivered ready-to-use, and the military personnel are there to follow the book to keep them running, not to innovate. Military branches are generally conservative in nature because they must stick with what works. Theirs is not develop new doctrine, but to follow the existing doctrine until it's replaced for them.
      • by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:36PM (#48074679)

        Systems are delivered ready-to-use, and the military personnel are there to follow the book to keep them running

        Not even close. Former Marine, and current defense contractor here. DoD systems need constant work, and work-arounds. Finding ways to get things done, despite the systems provided, is part of daily military life.

        Military branches are generally conservative in nature because they must stick with what works

        Not in today's world. What worked in the last war won't work in the next one, and everyone recognizes the need to innovate and be flexible.

        Theirs is not develop new doctrine, but to follow the existing doctrine until it's replaced for them.

        Doctrine is ever changing, and if it doesn't work, it's abandoned.

        You clearly have zero experience with the military. We'd all appreciate it if you just kept quiet instead of using your outdated stereotypes and things you've seen in the movies.

        • by Trepidity ( 597 )

          I don't have any experience with the military, but I do have experience working with defense contractors on DARPA projects, and in that context I have not been very impressed.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )

          You clearly have zero experience with the military. We'd all appreciate it if you just kept quiet instead of using your outdated stereotypes and things you've seen in the movies.

          I just call them as I see 'em, based on my experiences with about a dozen former-military coworkers. Half a dozen were worth their salt, half weren't. That was about the same ratio as everyone else.

        • Systems are delivered ready-to-use, and the military personnel are there to follow the book to keep them running

          Not even close. Former Marine, and current defense contractor here. DoD systems need constant work, and work-arounds. Finding ways to get things done, despite the systems provided, is part of daily military life.

          Here's a practical example. Many people would be surprised at the number of changes being made to the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft that are not coming from degreed engineers but rather from a corporal or sergeant who works on the aircraft. Boeing is routinely sending engineers out to get feedback and suggestions the people who fly and maintain these new and incredibly complicated machines.

          And to be honest, this is not really something new. There are similar stories going back to the 50s and probably ba

          • This describes my work reasonably well. I'm a civilian, but I work almost exclusive for the military and my work can be summed up to get all their ideas, organize them into something cohesive, trim the loose ends and fill the gaps with my own ideas when necessary. Then present the results and together with them I'll trimming the edges until I have the best possible outcome that meets their needs.

            And the best part is that political struggles are virtually nonexistent: If you show them that one idea will n
    • by jythie ( 914043 )
      One the other hand, I have had trouble with ex-military people keeping quiet about problems and generally being unwilling to bring up issues when the project would really benefit from knowing something is wrong. Some also seem to have difficulty either standing up to their superior at times when they really should, or not seeing their boss as superior and switching into 'leader' mode. They can be really frustrating to have as subordinates sometimes since they have had a whole set of triggers instilled i
      • My experience as well. There are some organizations where "they said to do it, so I'm going to do it, I'm going to it as well as I can until the 5PM bell rings, because that's when they said I should leave" works really well.

        "But that request is insane."
        "Not my call."
        "It'll do the opposite of what's intended"
        "That's above my paygrade."

        are the kinds of conversations I've had.

        I've learned over time I'm not cut out for those places, but those places surely do exist.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      "That attitude alone solves a LOT of problems."
      solves or bury's.
      Which is fine for a crisis, but not for regular work,

      "and work until the problems are solved."
      mostly work until they get the results you wanted; which is afar cry from fixed.

      " I could spot a former military man MILES away"
      yeah, and I bet you think you can judge someone on their handshake.

  • They Don't (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I haven't had good luck with ex-military I.T. people. They want a manual that they can follow step-by-step for every little thing. "Figure it out" is not something they want to hear.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      I've worked with ex-military people and have had no complaints but you are right on about the military approach to being a technician. Everything is spelled out in minute detail. No thought process is required. You just follow the manual.

      There's only so much independent thinking that the military tolerates.

      Although IT (as opposed to software development) tends to be a lot less about being creative anyways.

    • by khasim ( 1285 )

      I spent 7 years in the army. Yes the focus is on following the manual(s) for standard tasks. And we have a LOT of manuals.

      Kind of like the ISO 9000 stuff in the civilian world.

      But if they are any good then they should be documenting HOW they're doing their job. And following those same procedures every time.

      Part of the job is the expectation that you will be replaced. And the job will still need to be done, in the same way, by the next guy.

      NOT following the manual means that the next guy will need time to c

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        Which is how it should be done i the civilian world. Sadly too many IT people think they are above writing down what they do.

  • It's a mixed bag (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:16PM (#48074439)
    For every former-military IT-pro that's a true expert in their field (of whom I've worked with a couple) there's a former-military IT-pro that was trained on one very specific system and cannot handle even basic common-knowledge tasks.

    I worked with someone that was former-military that started on the helpdesk like most people in the organization, and workorders were created with descriptions like, "Computer does not start." This description meant everything from the computer wouldn't power on to the user couldn't remember their password to log-in.

    I worked with someone else that was a communications cabling specialist that probably forgot more about cabling than I ever knew, and could deal with phones, copper ethernet, and fiber ethernet without batting an eye. So at least there's that.
    • by k8to ( 9046 )

      As always, troubleshooting capacity comes, primarily, from personality type, not from training. Training can help, but it can't substitute.

    • by jythie ( 914043 )
      I think 'mixed bag' sums it up rather nicely. It is good to discuss potential advantages and disadvantages so one can look at current or potential employees with that knowledge, but as individuals how they pan out will of course vary.
  • When nerds are cool, only jocks will be nerds
    • by x0ra ( 1249540 )
      It's not much a "coolness" thing, but a money thing. When the jock discover the nerd he used to bully is making twice as he does, without getting shot at, there is some resentment starting to appear.
  • by butchersong ( 1222796 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:18PM (#48074457)
    I work with several IT guys that are former military. They're good guys and work hard but not one of them is an actual geek... If it isn't something they're trained in they just don't do very well. Small sample size in (my office) but I don't see it.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      You don't need to be a geek to be good at IT.

    • I work with several IT guys that are former military. I DM a D&D game including two of them, and one is also a massive Warhammer geek. They also had basically zero formal IT training (we all went to the same shitty night school, and taught ourselves the actual skills on our own) and yet are fully capable, so they're also big enough computer nerds to teach themselves programming at a professional level.

    • I work with several IT guys that are former military. They're good guys and work hard but not one of them is an actual geek... If it isn't something they're trained in they just don't do very well. Small sample size in (my office) but I don't see it.

      This echos what I was told by IT military instructors.

      The instructors are not allowed to choose their students. So the enlisted man who programs and built a mobile app in his spare time won't be allowed to follow a course on building mobile apps, but the officer who has no technical aptitude whatsoever has to be hand-held all the way through such a course because he will be the only one allowed to build such an app for the military in the first place.

      This is not to say that all military men aren't geeks. Li

  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:19PM (#48074475) Homepage

    I served in the Navy and trained as a cryptolinguist (Mandarin Chinese), though after my language training I decided military life wasn't for me and left for academia. I've kept in touch with a lot of my former service members who stayed in for their whole 4-year or 6-year enlistment, and it amazed me to see how almost none of them were able to transition to similar employment in the civilian world. On the language side, the sort of texts they were working with were limited and not at all like the business communications and government forms that drive the civilian translation market. On the technology-using side, they may have been whizbang operators of specialist military software, but they didn't get more experience in e.g. Office than anyone else out there. Consequently, my peers either entered whole different fields (one Chinese linguist became a marriage counselor) or entered IT only after doing a whole 4-year university degree in the civilian world to make up for what they lacked.

    The military might train you to do things, but they might not compare to what the civilian market wants. And sure, military people have a reputation for working under pressure and learning new skills, but in this day and age ever fewer civilian employers have the patience to keep paying you while they wait for you to learn new tricks.

    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:26PM (#48074561)
      A coworker's son was a medic embedded with a squad or something along those lines doing forward patrols in our current theatres of war, and he literally had to save lives while bullets were flying. He can't get a job as an EMT because the rules say that he's not qualified becuase his Army credentials don't translate into the civilian world.

      Even if they do train you, that training might not be recognized or valued.
    • by x0ra ( 1249540 )
      When the military developed slang like SNAFU, FUBAR, BOHICA, or even FIGMO, I have the greatest doubt about this "reputation for working under pressure".
  • By the same definition, so are every child in the country, always on the edge trying to make their parents desperate by being cutting edge. Uses plenty of software and tech. It would seem "IT" is the new buz word of the employment sector ?

    I don't want to discriminate about IT, but there is no worth creation in IT. It is merely a support job like any other, and by using the right argument, you should be able to make a case that former military personnel would make the best mechanics. Yet, being a mechanic wo

  • A lot of IT positions are with the federal government, and many military members parting from service already possess the security clearances required for those positions. It's often cheaper to train someone that already possess a security clearance to be an IT professional than it is to get an IT professional their security clearance.

  • Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Agares ( 1890982 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:20PM (#48074491) Journal
    I am in the military and it is hard to say how I compare to civilians since I haven't had an IT job on the civilian side yet (I did work in manufacturing before I joined). However I can say that in the few short years that I have been in I have worked on a plethora of systems. Possibly more than I ever could have with a civilian job. Furthermore the military can be very demanding and anyone who has been in can tell you that. Also everything you do someone’s life depends on it so it is more stressful than anything I had to do as a civilian. So those few things right there are probably why companies like to hire veterans. Especially when you think about the fact that we have great experience, work like mules, and can handle stress far easier than most of our civilian counter parts.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We've tried hiring ex-military, and it very, very rarely works. If somebody's fresh out of the military, then they're not even considered. If they're not completely brain dead, then they tend to have an attitude of needing everything to be done for them.
  • It's kind of true. My job in Army was SATCOM, got out almost 4 years ago, about to finish Bachelor's in CS early next year. SATCOM was pretty much IT in the army. Imaging computers, setting up and maintaining network, running cables, troubleshooting software/hardware, etc. Once I got out I did a few years part time in IT while going to college.

    I have to say that all training in the army was kind of half@$$ed. Impossible to fail, short, and not particularly relevant. At least when I went through it around 20

  • come out of the military.
  • I think that's a great idea, for a lot of reason. But... I thought you had to live in a hovel on the other side of the world to get a job in IT in the US. I don't see US companies suddenly deciding to reverse that tendency and hire locals as regular employees instead. Would be great if they did, though.

  • by Bugler412 ( 2610815 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @01:49PM (#48074817)
    (former Navy nuc operator here) Although the direct technical skills from my time really don't apply. The idea of the "block diagram level" knowledge in your mind and the basic troubleshooting process instlled in me there in my training has served me VERY well over the course of my IT career. Not to mention the broad (not necessarily deep) mechanical system knowledge of things like power, HVAC, emergency generators, UPSs, etc. Data center infrastructure has a lot of similarity (at a smaller scale) to safety systems at a nuc plant. Yeah, not broad based the way the article says, but for my more specific part it worked for me!
  • Perfect for the greedy CEOs of tech companies
  • Browsing the comments, military workers are quick to defend against generalizations when any anyone calls them out for serving in a "killing machine."

    Yet, at the same time, the whole headline is a generalization.

    You can't have it both ways.

     

  • Many military IT admins leave the service and attempt to find a job in the same field but they have two major hurdles.

    1. The same job they were doing in the military requires a 4 year degree in the private sector.
    This is an issue time and again with not having a degree. There is plenty of debate around here about whether a 4 year degree is really beneficial to everyone. However, you cannot debate the minimum requirements for a DoD contractor position. I have seen plenty of people kicked out of a job
  • This just in, some individuals are better suited to some situations than others.
    I don't think that anyone had decided that they wouldn't hire ex-military with relevant experience because of where they acquired it. Most organizations require some adjustment from their staff in order to understand and fit into the culture of that place. That is why they still interview potential staff, to see if as a person they would likely fit into the social environment.
  • I am also a former military person (Army, 14yrs) I can say that it very much depends on the individual. I have seen people that I wouldn't hire to take out the trash, and on the other hand I have seen people that could, and have, walked in to very nice jobs when they get out. Just because someone was in the military doesn't mean anything. Some of the best, and worst, IT personnel that I have worked for have been in the military. All the comments about military personnel "needing a manual" to get things done
  • Military and the IT field are pretty much the same thing. If you come out of it alive, you're a hero to someone.
  • but at least when it comes to Army IT guys, anyone that went to school after 2005 is a coin-toss.

    The dumbing down of specialist fields has been ongoing as the military has switched from custom hardware to COTS (Common/Commercial Off The Shelf) systems. This really accelerated in 2003 and the transformation was almost complete by 2005. Troubleshooting down to the component level and resoldering circuit boards was standard procedure in the old days. Soldiers had to really understand how their systems worked and how they interacted with other things. As the equipment has gotten smarter, the requirements for the soldier have decreased.

    I watched the knowledge base drain away while I was in the military. I spent my final three years as an instructor/subject-matter-expert (Brigade level) for all things IT and satellite communications. Every year, the students were less and less prepared for the training. This applied especially to my students from a communications career field. This was expected when it came to my students from non-IT careers, but in the end, the students that should have been the most well prepared for my classes did no better that those that had never seen a satellite dish before.

    I spent an additional two years as a contractor in Afghanistan. I did everything from convoys out to remote FOBs to troubleshoot and repair systems, to training, to theater wide Tier-3/Engineering Level satellite support. I worked with hundreds of contractors at all levels and over 95% of them were veterans. The quality of work/knowledge level was a complete crapshoot. There were many that I dealt with that should have been fired or at least not had their contract renewed. One of them was my boss(gross negligence/mismanagement), the other was a CCNP that couldn't even create a basic NAT configuration for a 2800 series router(fired for reasons unrelated to his lack of technical competence). There were the occasional superstars (my replacement boss). There was everything in between.

    In the end, I honestly see very few advantages to hiring veterans other than that they have a higher chance of being on time/early than a non-veteran. I see a distinct disadvantage in hiring anyone that was a First Sergeant or Sergeant Major(Don't worry, the ones you need to worry about will let you know they were one). Those are the ones most likely to have internalized the military and demand that those around them do the same.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter

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