Microsoft Training Options For Veterans
Did you know that more than 200,000 service members leave their duties every year and opt for civilian life? Most of them opt for service at a very young age and don’t have professional degrees or relevant certifications that would help them to adopt a new career.
Incidentally, adopting a new career is difficult, irrespective of the number of years you served.
The good news is that unemployment rates for veterans have declined in recent years. However, veterans in the 25 to 34 age bracket still face high unemployment rates compared to their older counterparts. The lack of professional education, training, and experience makes it difficult for veterans to land sufficiently lucrative jobs in an already competitive environment. This leads to feelings of isolation and mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, and stress.
Civilian jobs are very different from military jobs as they don’t offer the same intrinsic motivation, purpose and/or camaraderie that is the professional driving force for most of the veterans. Corporate environments are different, as they focus more on profits and creating brand identity; concepts that may be alien to those with service history in the armed forces.
Microsoft Steps in to Ease the Struggle
A few years ago, employees at Microsoft who were veterans, began to compile the issues faced by veterans in profession-centric civilian life, and started devising ways to overcome said issues. They thought of ways in which veterans could minimize their weaknesses and harness their strengths, which include quick decision-making, resilience, as well as steadfastness in face of adversity.
This is how Microsoft came up with its training program in 2013; known as Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA). The purpose of MSSA was to help veterans move on with their lives while learning about technology, by putting their skills to good use.
Learning about the MSSA
Thomas Dawkins, Microsoft Director of Workforce Development and Career Centered Learning, announced that Microsoft was partnering with CompTIA at the National Veterans Employment Summit. CompTIA is one of the leading providers of IT certifications, and the main purpose of this partnership was to make it easier for veterans to learn skills that would help them in the IT industry.
The MSSA is an 18-week long Microsoft training program that teaches basic IT skills to veterans. Microsoft employees serve as mentors to the students and get in touch with them through Skype. These mentors give advice and teach soft skills such as interview skills, as well as resume writing; that would help the candidates to apply at different organizations. Once the program is complete, graduates are given a chance to give an interview at Microsoft or at various Fortune 500 companies such as Accenture, Facebook, Expedia, Dell and more.
Veterans are ideal assets for IT companies since they possess great analytical skills, are quick decision-makers, and have what it takes to turn situations around. Since teamwork is paramount in the armed forces, they can create excellent team synergy; while working with a variety of different people.
Additionally, there is a need to have more people in the IT industry, since there are over 490,000 computing jobs in the US but only 43,000 approximately, become part of the work force. One advantage of pursuing MSSA is that there is a passing rate of 90% and a guarantee of a good job upon successful completion of the program.
It is important to note that applicants should have Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications if they want to qualify for Learning Path. These certifications make sure that qualified applicants save time and energy by leveraging the certifications they got from CompTIA instead of the MTA. In order to make things simple for veterans, CompTIA is offering great discounts on their certifications.
Selecting the Learning Path
Here are some of the Learning Paths that are suitable for Veterans:
Cloud Application Development: The primary task of a cloud application developer is to make cloud-stored applications. In order to learn about potential careers, click here.
Cybersecurity Administration: A cybersecurity administrator’s job is to protect an organization’s data as well as infrastructure. Some of the tasks that are part of an administrator’s job description include:
- Understanding landscapes.
- Knowing security policies.
- Knowing how to control access.
- Having a good understanding of security tools.
- Knowing about security management.
In order to learn about potential careers, click here.
Database & Business Intelligence Administration: A database administrator’s job is to make decisions about data. Some of the areas that they have to look after include:
- Creating BI environments
- Data manipulation
- Database development and management
- Database programming
- Scaling services on Azure
To learn about potential careers, click here.
Server & Cloud Administration: A system administrator manages the use of IT in the organization. Some of the things that they are responsible for, include:
- Authentication and authorization
- Azure administration
- Cloud models
- Windows Server workloads
To learn about potential careers, click here.
How to Prepare the Application
In order to get started, you would have to confirm your service status as well as university requirements. Some of the documents that need to be submitted include:
- Any financial aid applications
- Completed and signed application
- High school diploma
- Valid IT certification
Active duty members need to submit proof on their honorable status, whereas retired duty members need to submit DD-214 proof of honorable discharge.
Microsoft training opens up a world of potential positions in the ever-expanding professional IT sphere. For veterans, this is a golden opportunity to not only integrate themselves completely into society, but to obtain a well-paying and respectable job.