How mentorships open doors for veterans.
By Kimberly Valdeos, ACP
The landscape of the technology sector is constantly shifting, offering ground-breaking systems, programs, and opportunities to those who choose to enter it. Recent data highlight the sector’s growing importance for veterans, offering a wide range of roles and prospects. Those who pursue this sector can find an array of positions utilizing diverse skill sets. Along with the continuous potential of new roles, daily technical advancements can impact the future and play a part in human innovation.
Robert Williams, a US Army veteran who served for 24 years and broke into this sector as a senior cyber advisor, is participating in an ACP mentorship with his mentor Tony Rosela from Convergent Enterprises. Williams and Rosela agree that the changing landscape of technology is the most exciting part of the industry. “You come out learning so much more than you did when you initially came in … along with there being many areas that people can get into,” Rosela said. “People can have many talents in there that they do not know about until they look into it.”
Many service members have already developed the necessary skills to succeed in this sector from their time in service. Air Force veteran Brent Peterson, an alumnus of ACP’s mentorship program, explains, “From a young stage in [a military] career, you take charge of what you can control, and you do it well and grow from it. If there is a problem, you identify it and resolve things through communication and efficiency to make sure everyone is on the same page.”
Army veteran and software developer Stefan Taitano, working with ACP mentor Joshua Planz, who is an Air Force veteran and software engineer at Microsoft, echoes Peterson. Taitano notes that many veterans have gained tech soft skills throughout their military careers, along with the adaptability, learning and change required in the tech sector. Similarly, Planz believes the willingness and openness to learning set them apart from other candidates. “Sometimes [veterans] do not always have certain resources readily available,” he says, “but they know how to go out of their way and get them for themselves.”
The principle of openness is a strength Planz highlights from his experience of transitioning out of the military to the corporate world. He believes that in making that transition and exploring opportunities in the tech sector, it is crucial to not “close any doors” because you never know what will be a great opportunity. By following this motto, he secured his current position at Microsoft and is now giving back to his fellow veterans with a passion for working in tech.
To those who are starting out or looking to advance in their careers, an ACP mentorship can help! ACP partners with well-known industry names and passionate mentors who offer expert professional advice on translating your skills, career planning and exploring opportunities. Find out more at acp-usa.org/mentoring-program/program-overview.
Complete an application at apply.acp-usa.org/protege, and within 24 business hours, an ACP associate will contact you and help you begin your mentorship journey!
This article is from the October 2023 issue of G.I. Jobs magazine.