Most of us who served in the military have been in a place where we ask ourselves, “what kind of civilian job does my military experience translate into?”
For some, transferring military experience is more straightforward than for others. If you were a nurse or a motor pool mechanic and want to remain in those fields, the experience transfer is obvious. Internal medicine and combustion engines don’t magically change outside of DoD purview.
But for many Servicemembers, this is no easy thing. I was an Airborne Infantryman who became a PSYOP Team Chief, which is pretty limited outside of military life (except for being a mercenary and a politician, but I digress). Those in a similar position have to think a bit more, and that can often seem daunting, given what little messaging is out there on this subject.
Transferring your military experience is more simple than many people make it, and here’s why. Consider the world of software development. This seems like a stretch for some Servicemembers, as there aren’t a lot of military specialties that directly correlate to programming, but that’s thinking about it the wrong way.
Here is the better way of looking at it: your military service sets you up for success in numerous ways. Chief among them are the educational opportunities available to you. Servicemembers now have more options than ever for learning a new skill, and they already have a foundation for doing that quite well.
When you went through Basic Training (or boot camp, or equivalent), you entered a world you had never been a part of before. It was entirely new, and you were suddenly immersed in an all-day, every-day newness – a flood of novel information streaming at you in a way you had never experienced.
And yet, you succeeded. Despite the overwhelming nature of your situation, you adapted and adjusted to your new normal.
More than anything else, this background is what can prepare you to learn new skills and transition into a new career. It doesn’t matter that your military specialty doesn’t transfer directly to another job – what matters is that you have a foundation upon which to build.
Most students who attend Code Platoon haven’t been software developers before or even written that much code.
Our students come out of everything from the Infantry to the motor pool, from the medical field to linguistic analysis and military intelligence. They succeed because they know how to adapt to a fire hose of new knowledge hitting them in the face. They’ve done it before, and so have you.
Don’t let your military specialty define the rest of your life. You can choose to move beyond that, and Code Platoon is a place of like-minded people who can help you enable that transition.
Greg Drobny is a former Airborne Infantryman, PSYOP Team Chief, political consultant, professional mil blogger, and is Code Platoon’s Student Outreach and Recruitment Manager. He holds a BA and MA in history, as well as a Masters of Science in organizational psychology. He is married with four children who keep him more than slightly busy, and is passionate about helping Veterans find their paths in life and develop the skills needed to pursue their goals.