You’ve acquired many new skills while serving in the military. Now that you are transitioning to civilian life, wouldn’t it be great to use those skills in a field that is interesting and lucrative? You should be able to take your military experience and use it as a foundation for a new vocation. That’s why so many returning veterans transition into IT careers.
Information technology continues to be a growing field where veterans can apply their skills. It’s been demonstrated that vets excel at IT jobs. Military training generates a talent pool rich in technology and cybersecurity experience. Those skills tend to readily translate to IT careers in civilian life. And demand for IT professionals continues to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that IT will add 557,100 new jobs over the next 10 years, new jobs that pay a median wage of $86,320 per year.
Demand for veterans continues to grow—the unemployment rate for transitioning veterans has dropped by 50 percent in the last seven years. Corporations in the private sector like Verizon and JPMorgan Chase are launching initiatives specifically designed to attract veterans to technology jobs, and government initiatives such as the Department of Labor’s Veterans Opportunity to Work Act are matching veterans with job opportunities, including IT careers.
The GI Bill® can help you launch your technology career with benefits that pay for vocational training and certification. Veterans benefits provide tuition assistance for career training in computer repairs, computer networking, cybersecurity, systems administration, database management, and a host of related IT careers. In fact, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® can pay up to 100 percent of tuition for IT training—up to $23,671.94 per year.
So where do you see yourself with a career in IT? There are a variety of options, with multiple job titles, different pay scales, and high-profile hiring companies. Here is our list of the top 10 IT careers for transitioning veterans:
- Computer network architect: A computer network architect, also referred to as a network architect, systems engineer, or information systems security engineer, is responsible for designing and building local and wide-area networks, corporate intranets, and private cloud computing systems. This job is in demand, with a projected growth rate of 6 percent through 2026, and covers a diverse range of industries since every organization needs a network. Companies are continually hiring network architects, including organizations like Verizon, DocuSign, banks, and several companies in e-commerce. The median salary is about $109,000 per year.
- Customer service: Customer support is another growing field, especially as more businesses go online, and is ideally suited for veterans. The field has a 5-9 percent projected growth rate, and you could land a job with Hertz, Penske, Aetna, Accenture, Home Depot, or a number of other companies. Salaries range from $32,000 to as much as $45,000, and you should look for titles such as client services representative, customer service specialist, sales facilitator, and account representative.
- Computer information systems manager: An information systems manager, also called information systems manager and IT manager, is responsible for overseeing all computing activities within the organization, including identifying technology needs and improving systems efficiency. This is a high-profile position with a starting salary of $135,800 and 14 percent projected growth through 2026. Look for titles such as information systems manager jobs at companies such as First Energy, Wells Fargo, Hertz, and Oracle.
- Computer systems analyst: A computer systems analyst, also referred to as a computer analyst, business systems analyst, or computer systems consultant, focuses on ways to improve technical operations. The job has a median salary of $87,220, with projected growth of 5-9 percent. Hiring companies include Penske, United Rentals, Oracle, and Kaiser Permanente, to name only a few.
- Software application developer: Any organization that relies on computer technology requires customized applications, so there is a growing need for developers. In fact, software application developers, also known as application developers, software developers, and application integration engineers, are expected to see 24 percent growth over the next decade, with a median salary of $102,280. Look for jobs at companies such as Oracle, Accenture, Nationwide, and ADP.
- Office administration: Administrative jobs are still in demand, especially if you have a mastery of business software such as Microsoft Office. Office administrators, also called office managers, office supervisors, office coordinators, or administrative supervisors, are seeing 2-4 percent job growth with a median salary of $54,340. Check your local job listings since these jobs are available virtually anywhere.
- Cybersecurity analyst: Data security is a growing concern, and if you have any background in intelligence or security, then this could be a great job for you. Cybersecurity analyst, also called information security analyst, data security administrator, and information security specialist, is an especially hot job, with 28 percent projected growth and a median salary of $92,600. Any company that has to protect its data needs a cybersecurity analyst, including Eaton, CACI, and Frontier Communications.
- Software systems developer: Software systems developers, also called software architects, software developers, senior software engineers, or systems engineers, work with the devices that control the networks. This is another popular career, with anticipated growth of 10-14 percent and a median salary of $106,860. Big companies in various industries are looking to hire, such as IBM, Uline, Activision, UPS, and Naval Nuclear Laboratory.
- Computer hardware engineer: In addition to supporting the networks, companies still need computer hardware engineers, also called design engineers, hardware engineers, project engineers, and field service engineers, to design, install, and test their computer hardware. This job is expected to see 5 percent growth with a median salary of $115,080, and companies such as American Water, AT&T, Xcel Energy, and IBM are hiring.
- Healthcare IT professional: Healthcare IT is a unique field with specific requirements to manage and protect patient data and support healthcare IT systems. Featuring jobs with titles such as systems analyst, EHR implementation specialist, and data quality analyst, the health IT field is expected to see 13 percent job growth with a median salary of $40,350 for a Medical Records and Health Information Technician. There is job security as well since health IT services are required by every hospital, clinic, and healthcare facility.
These and other IT careers are available to veterans with technical skills and the right IT credentials. The right career training and certifications can put you well on your way to landing a great IT job with a future. If you want to learn more, the career experts at New Horizons Career Development Solutions can help you find the right career path and show you how to make the most of your GI Bill® benefits. Contact us to see how we can help you launch your IT career.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.