Vets have the technical talent, all they need is the opportunity

By Adam Curtis

Greetings from SXSW! All weekend we’re heading to panels and talks about AI, diversity, inclusion and expanding tech career opportunities to more people.

First up was the panel talk “Transitioning Vets: From Battlefield to Tech Career.” Moderated by the Merivis Foundation, an Austin-based non profit that connects vets to Salesforce careers through training, mentoring and job readiness. Also on the panel were representatives from Salesforce and a veteran-turned-technologist from Capgemini.

Key observations from the panel

  • The technology side of a job can be taught. It’s the passion and drive that are most important. These are what vets bring to tech positions.
  • There are a ridiculous amount of tech jobs out there waiting to be filled. Tech companies need great talent. Who better to provide that than vets?
  • There is a massive challenge in hiring vets in tech because of a “lack of experience.” But they have real-world experience, maybe just not in the platform.
  • Companies need to support vets beyond just the technical skills. Soft skills and communication skills in the private sector than the military. Some vets have a hard time of letting go of how they’ve operated for 20 years.
  • Great companies don’t hire highly skilled people and try to motivate them, they hire highly motivated people and try to inspire them. And these people are vets.