Considered working as an IT Specialist? This interview will take you through the ups and downs you can expect in the position, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more.
I am an IT Specialist with Cisco. I work on building network platforms. My team of ten installs networking solutions for call centers in India. I am 38 years-old and have been employed with Cisco for two years. However, I have 22 years of experience in the networking field. I retired from the military two years ago. At the time of my retirement, I had served 20 years in the Air Force. I was a Senior Master Sergeant. I entered the military at age 18 and received all my training in computer systems.
My team and I travel to India and work with their government and businesses. We provide a mainframe infrastructure for their various call centers. India really does not have the support needed to run as many computers and centers as they currently do.
Many people think my team and I teach those who live in India how to mainframe and network. This is not true. They have to attend school or training to do that. Also, people are surprised when they see us. We don't fit the typical "computer nerd" description. Thanks to having to keep fit with PT in the military, most of us aren't scrawny or weak. We like sports as much as we like computer games.
If I had to rate my job, I would give it at least an 8 on a scale of 1-10. I love setting up network solutions. I enjoy working with my team and I really enjoy my pay. But I hate traveling to India. I don't like being far away from my family. Also, most of what you read about India is true. There is poverty there that brings tears to the eyes. Little children are begging in the streets and it smells.
I wish there was more work setting up these big networks for call centers in the US. It hurts me as a former member of the military to see so many jobs shipped overseas.
I love working with computers. I love building networks and infrastructures. Mainframes fascinate me. I see the videos of mainframes in the past and can't get over how far we have advanced.
I am proud of how far I have come. When I graduated from high school, I didn't know what I was going to do. My parents didn't have the money for college. There weren't many jobs available, and even if there were, I had no skills. I decided to join the military. Joining the military gave me purpose and direction. The military taught me a career. I was able to take advantage of grants offered and go to college while in the military.
I can't say enough about the military. I learned social skills and teamwork. I learned to respect authority. I got to travel the world. I would never be working for one of the top computer companies in the world if not for the training and skills I received in the military.
The hardest thing for me to learn was how to be part of a team. I got to boot camp and never opened my mouth. I was terrified. I learned then, you can't "go it alone." You'll never get everything done the Drill Sergeants require. You have to work together. You have to respect your leaders and your boss, even if you don't like him or her.
The strangest thing that ever happened to me while working for Cisco was when I had a run in with a man in India. I wasn't respectful enough, to his way of thinking. He jerked all the wires out of the back of the server I was installing and ran off with them.
Dealing with another culture can be difficult. Sometimes, I want to pull my hair out. Granted, when I traveled in the military, I dealt with other cultures. However, I lived on an Air Base, which is like living in a little American neighborhood. Adjusting to living among a new culture is hard.
My job with Cisco isn't as stressful as I thought it would be. I think it is because I have such a great team. The stressful part of my job is the travel and being away from my family.
I am earning a good salary, but that is because Cisco likes to hire military veterans. They pay me just as if I had been with them for 22 years, instead of only two years.
I get two weeks of vacation each year. That's hard to adjust to. By the time I retired from the military, I was accumulating leave like crazy. At one point, I had over 70 days of leave accumulated.
To get hired as an IT specialist with Cisco, you need a college degree and you need on-the-job training. Cisco loves to hire veterans. They know we have experience and training.
I would tell any friend or family member who is considering any type of job to try the military first. Veterans are given preferences and priority in hiring. Additionally, you receive valuable on-the-job training, I am 38 and I am receiving a full retirement, plus a paycheck. I have a job I love, and I trace it all back to the Air Force.
Five years from now, I hope to still be working for Cisco, I just hope I am working in the United States.
This is a true career story as told to VeteranJobs.net and is one of many interviews with veterans who have found fulfilling civilian careers, which among others include a Prison Sergeant and a Senior Engineer.