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How I went from the military to a career in tech at Avanade

  • Posted on November 7, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

My path to a tech career isn’t necessarily a traditional one. I started out in the United States military as a member of the Oregon Army National Guard and then the U.S. Army. I spent more than 20 years in the service as a logistician, meaning I ordered beans, blankets and bullets and managed budgets. But I knew when I retired that I didn’t want to continue to be a logistician in the civilian sector. I didn’t have enough passion for it to spend the rest of my next career in that field.

But where to go from there? Something I, and many other service members transitioning to civilian life, struggled with is that, although the military instills lots of skills that would make us great employees, our hard skills don’t always translate to what is in a job description. And there are a lot of organizations out there that aren’t willing to look past a lack of direct experience to see the discipline, customer service leadership and critical thinking (among many other skills) service members are taught that would be a great fit for any job. Luckily though, Avanade is not one of those organizations. It truly believes everyone counts and was willing to take a chance on me.

I got connected with Avanade after participating in a wonderful program targeted toward Veterans transitioning to civilian careers called the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA). MSSA partners with local colleges to provide 18 weeks of training in cloud application development, server and cloud administration and cybersecurity administration, giving veterans the hard skills to put on their resume. At the end of the program, graduates are able to interview at Microsoft and other companies that have partnered with MSSA specifically to hire graduates of the program. I was able to get smart with computers, something I’d always wanted to do but never thought I’d be able to.

I graduated MSSA with the skills and knowledge I needed to begin a career in IT and the confidence in my resume and interview skills I needed to be able to get a job anywhere. That’s when I was introduced to Avanade. I attended a recruiting event targeted toward former military members and met an Avanade recruiter who told me all about the work we do here and our strong value system. That combination really stuck out to me. I didn’t only want to find a job; I wanted to find a home and a family at a company where I could spend a long time learning and growing. And I’m so glad Avanade ended up being that company! While still finishing my degree in Humanities, I began as an intern in the summer of 2016 and was hired full-time in 2017. I’m a senior analyst security consultant, where I strive to grow my IT skills and share the importance of security practices and other Microsoft technologies and services. Also, I am privileged to serve as a board member on the Veterans Employee Resource Group. I was glad to find that not only does Avanade support hiring veterans, but our leadership is willing to put the effort into creating spaces for Avanade veterans to come together and share our voices, something that is often a challenge.

I’ve been at Avanade for more than three years now and I love it here. Not only do I get to work in IT and love what I’m doing every day, but I get give back to our veteran community, work with our Veterans ERG and attend recruiting events, sharing my story as a veteran-turned-security-consultant and how Avanade and MSSA gave me the chance to pursue my dream tech career.

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