Many veterans leave military service with an eye on developing existing tech skills or learning new ones, and there are more programs than ever designed to help military members do just that. There are plenty of options in both the private sector and via the Department of Veterans Affairs that can help veterans find good paying jobs in high tech industries.
The Department of Veterans Affairs VET TEC Program
The VA official site advertises VET TEC as a pilot program (at the time of this writing) offering qualifying veterans with “the skills and expertise needed to land a job in this field in as little as six months” according to the official site.
What does this program offer? VET TEC features VA-paid training, monthly housing for those in the program, and best of all, this VA training program is advertised as requiring “only one day of GI Bill entitlement” and this program “doesn’t use benefits” associated with the GI Bill (the one day of GI Bill entitlement rule is simply to qualify for VET TEC).
How VET TEC Works
VET TEC is a pilot program which places eligible military veterans with “market-leading Training Providers offering the high-tech training and skills development sought by employers.” All VET TEC classes and training are paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs and all students get a monthly housing stipend for the duration of the training period.
Those who use VET TEC are given a choice of one of the technical areas such as information science, software, programming, media, and data processing. Those who finish the program receive a certification for their time in training.
Using VET TEC As An Education Benefit
Those enrolled in the VET TEC program are required to qualify as a GI Bill recipient, but they do NOT use any GI Bill entitlement to attend. Participating in VET TEC means you get housing allowance payments similar to the Post-9/11 GI Bill:
- Students who choose in person training will get a housing stipend “equal to the monthly military Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents” based on the zip code where the training is physically conducted.
- For attendance that is online only, housing payments are “half of the BAH national average for an E-5 with dependents.”
All housing payments are prorated for actual days attended in cases where a full month of training is not completed.
Signing Up For VET TEC
The VA official site advises potential VET TEC students to apply online and await a decision from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Once approved, students may review a VA list of approved providers to find a suitable technical training program.
Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) offers technical training to transitioning service members and veterans “with critical career skills required for today’s growing technology industry,” according to the Microsoft official site. MSSA provides qualifying military members and veterans with an 18-week program that can be taken all at once or split over two 9-week terms. Training options include:
- Cloud Application Development – This track trains veterans to become a C# programmer and learn how to create local, server based and cloud-stored applications. This training includes database programming, data integration, C# application programming with ASP.net MVC, as well as application development in Azure.
- Cybersecurity Administration – This track teaches military members how to protect technical infrastructure and critical data assets. Students will learn about “threat landscapes” plus security policy, access control, security tools, digital forensics and more.
- Server & Cloud Administration – Learn how to function as a systems administrator, install, configure, manage and advance the usage of IT on-site, cloud-based projects, or in “a hybrid combination to meet the technology needs of major organizations.” Students will become familiar with Windows Server workloads, networking, authentication and authorization, and more.
Microsoft’s official website states at the time of this writing that MSSA Program graduates “have an opportunity to interview for a full-time job at Microsoft or one of our hiring partners.” The company has nearly 300 such partners including the Defense Department. Learn more at the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy for more information.
Accenture Veteran Technology Training Program
The Accenture Veteran Technology Training Program official site includes a signup page for a program offered to military service members and veterans “who want to pursue a career in technology and software engineering.”
The Accenture Veteran Technology Training Program features two months of tech training for veterans who want jobs as Entry Level Software Engineering Associates with Accenture.
Accenture offers this program in partnership with the online university Udacity. Those approved to participate will receive free enrollment in Udacity’s Intro to Java Programming online program. According to the official site, “Accenture is offering the premium version of the course, where coaches actively support students and students earn a Verified Certificate.”
Coursework includes learning based in the following areas:
- Computer science concepts using Java
- Object Oriented Programming,
- Software problem solving
Those who complete the program are given an interview with Accenture. Those who are hired “will apply your military background and new Java skills to assist with the development, delivery and management of technology-based business solutions,” and be given further opportunities to learn new tech skills via Accenture’s employee training programs.
Skillsoft and Hire Our Heroes
Skillsoft and the non-profit Hire Our Heroes have partnered to offer tech training to veterans and currently serving military members.
This partnership offers qualifying military learners approximately 20 thousand on-demand resources and around 450 “learning channels” and utilizing the Percipio intelligent learning platform. This program is not indefinite; at the time of this writing it is offered between Jan. 31, 2018 and Jan. 30, 2020.
Veterans and currently serving military are required to verify their status before signing up, the program is open to Reservists, and registration and more information is available at the HireOurHeroes official site.
NS2 Serves/Boots To Suits
NS2 Serves is a non-profit organization offering training and employment assistance for veterans interested in information technology careers. These services are available at no cost to the veteran and consists of the 12-week program called Boots to Suits.
This program is open to “Post-9/11 U.S. military service veterans and reservists (including disabled veterans), service members with orders to leave active duty, and Gold Star spouses who meet eligibility requirements,” according to the program description.
The full-time Boots to Suits program trains qualifying military members and vets in “world-class software solutions that support U.S. national security needs and commercial enterprises.”
Those who successfully complete the training may be offered work at companies similar to those who have graduated in the past – Boots To Suits graduates have gone on to work for companies including Accenture, Deloitte, CSRA, and the USDA.
Though individual results may vary, the NS2 Serves official site claims a starting salary for program graduates at approximately $60K per year.
Simplilearn and the National Military Family Association have partnered to offer military spouses a 50 percent discount on online education programs offered by Simplilearn. Participants are required to register at the NMFA official site for discounted access to “over 400 training courses across a variety of emerging technologies and applications,” according to NMFA.
Spouses should also know about the NMFA scholarship program which may further enhance a military spouse’s quest for improved or new tech skills. Military spouses must meet eligibility criteria including requirements to be a “spouse of a member of the seven Uniformed Services with a valid military ID” and:
- are married to an active duty, reserve, guard, retired, medically retired, wounded or fallen service member (must be a service-related wound, illness, injury or death that took place after Sept. 11, 2001) OR
- are a dual service military spouse, OR
- are a divorced spouse, but ONLY if you receive 20/20/20 benefits
See the NFMA official site for more information about deadlines and application requirements.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News
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