The path from the Royal Corps of Signals to a marketing and communications job is a clear one, especially with support from veterans in tech. Here’s how.
Katie GA has no regrets about leaving the military now- but at the time, she was worried.
“I was concerned that I would never be able to do anything as exciting again…then again, having an exciting career and having a young family are pretty mutually exclusive.”
She thought leaving meant losing financial stability for her family too, but she tells TechVets that with the right decisions along the way: “I managed to find a stable role upon leaving and that seems to have set me up well for further transitions…touch wood.”
If you’ve had similar worries about taking the leap after military service, Katie’s story (and practical tips) might help you out. Read on to learn exactly how she did it.
Katie was on-track early for a life in the Royal Corps of Signals. She attended Welbeck at 17, passed out of Sandhurst as part of CC003 in June 2001, and hit the ground running.
“I enjoyed the adventure, the variety of experiences, the value placed on personal development and the career progression opportunities,” Katie shares. She says that serving gave her “flexibility, clarity, the ability to sort the weeds from the chaff, perspective, a willingness to ‘give it a go’, and the will to ‘make it happen.’”
Work was challenging but she enjoyed it, especially when not confined to “the strictures of the traditional officer career path” for a few years. That changed when Katie was told she was being moved to a core role in an office.
“I decided that if I were to do a desk job, I wanted it to be behind a desk of my choosing.”
Shapeshifting into a Civilian Career
“By the time I had reached 30, I had spent pretty much an equal amount of time in a military environment as I had in ‘normal life’ (basically school) and therefore considered myself fully indoctrinated and ignorant of what lay beyond,” Katie explains. “To give myself the best chance to shapeshift into a new world, I thought transition needed to come sooner rather than later.”
While she knew she wanted out, Katie didn’t have a clear second career path in mind. You may feel the same. She opted for casting a wide net, exploring a range of options during her resettlement process and landing on digital marketing.
“During resettlement I did a sales and marketing course and I felt that marketing would be a good fit – a mix of creative and analytical,” she says.
In the short term post sign-off, it was more lucrative for her to pursue a project manager role at a blue chip company than her “dream job” in digital marketing. TechVets helped her get the qualifications she needed to transition into her current position.
Succeeding with Support from Veterans in Tech
“I was sponsored to attend the Google Digital Marketing and E-Commerce Course,” Katie says, “which was the ticket to unlocking my move into a Comms and Marketing role with my current employer.”
Digital marketing has some of the most flexible and versatile jobs out there for tech-curious veterans, reservists, service leavers, and military spouses.
Through our partnership with industry-leading Google Career Certificates, TechVets now offers the certification Katie earned as an option for honing your skills in SEO, SEM, email, content marketing, product promotion and more.
Our community of veterans can help with some of the ‘soft skills’ needed in tech as well. Katie says learning how to manage team dynamics, how to deal with conflict in civilian workplaces were challenges to her transition.
She says that learning from others outside the military was invaluable for helping with “mastery of the soft skills, how to encourage, advocate and challenge…I am also constantly inspired by my friends, both inside and outside the military – how they manage to juggle the demands of family and job.”
You can learn more about TechVets’ community forum here.
For anyone in the military considering leaving but avoiding the seven clicks to freedom, Katie’s got advice.
She says that it pays to go full steam ahead with whatever you’re pursuing, but not to be afraid to switch gears. In her own words:
Remember, unlike in the military, civilian employers have much shorter sign-off periods– which are designed more to protect you as an employee than benefit the employer. You might try several roles before landing on the right one, and that freedom can be truly liberating.
Ready to start? You can learn from another success story at the link below, and if you’re a veteran, service-leaver, reservist, or spouse, your journey into a tech or IT career starts here.