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Although my Marine Corps career has been focused on logistics and manpower, I have great interest in technology and would like to explore that area of employment. How would you recommend proceeding?



I realize that "technology" has a very wide scope. My specific interests are in additive manufacturing, programming microcontrollers, and product design. I was wondering if there is an avenue to pursue this personal interest while applying my knowledge and experience in logistics and manpower to benefit the company. I will retire on 1 Aug 2020. Thanks.

21 May 2020 17 replies Career Exploration



David Martin Dallas, TX

Hello Robert,

I would suggest buying a 3d printer if you are interested in additive manufacturing. I purchased an Ender 3 (They cost about $200) a while back and it has really opened my mind up to a lot of different subjects and illuminated how complex manufacturing is.

There are tons of videos on YouTube that can explain how to setup the printer and you may find yourself going down quite a rabbit hole. When I started I hadn't used a CAD program since middle school, but soon discovered Tinker cad and other programs that allowed me to create all sorts of useful objects. This would be a good way to understand product design at the technical level.

If you really want to get deep you can buy a Raspberry Pi and learn how to program it to control your Ender 3. There are all sorts of mods you can do to it like add a camera, control it by WiFi, etc...

Doing all three of the above would be a great way to demonstrate your ability to learn technical skills and would be something you could talk about in an interview. You may not be able to qualify for a direct engineering job but you could branch out to positions adjacent to engineering in the supply chain field.

21 May 2020 Helpful answer


Joshua Torres Enfield, CT

Hello Robert,

I myself am working to transition into a different career field and have been working to leverage various educational trainings to develop a foundation within the area I'm seeking to shift into. I have discovered a program Onward to Opportunity (O2O) that provides free training and resources for Vets on a variety of certifications in a few career areas and believe it would be worth you taking a look at. It may help you obtain some fundamental certifications that will allow you to navigate the space a little better. Good Luck!

- Josh

21 May 2020 Helpful answer


Stephen Stewart-Hill New Paltz, NY

Hi Robert, with your background in logistics and interest in technology; have you considered being a project manager for a IT offering? Do you have any background in computer languages like C++, Python, C, or lower level languages like assembler? A project manager need not know how to program, but a background in technology would be an advantage. I see you live in McLean, VA. There are many defense firms in norther Virginia and DC that may be able to take advantage of your skills. What level of clearance do you have?

As a Marine officer, you have developed a lot of valuable transitional skills that can be a value to a corporation looking for someone to lead a team of software engineers. Best of luck.

Semper Fidelis.


Joe Woodward Tarpon Springs, FL

LtCol a retired Marine Aviator working in the 'Technology Field' you question strikes home. Every journey is 'different' but I went 'sideways' into the technology field. Specifically, I got my PMP certification and then leveraged that into a technology job. If that is something you are interested in the national organization can assist ( If I recall they have reduced rates and additional support for military members/VETS and your military continuing education benefits can also cover it.


Jordie Kern Amherst, MA

Learn a high tech skill like Cyber, Robotics, or Cloud computing. We offer a free training program you can do from home and can line you up with some great mentors to guide you.


Jeff Martin Ashburn, VA

I’d suggest that you network at the target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success. Good luck!


Jansen Weaver Philadelphia, PA

Good Morning Sir,

As a Marine for Life Representative, I would encourage you to reach out to me on LinkedIn as I would love to help you think through this transition.



Rashid Hill, MPM San Diego, CA

Hello Robert,

As a fellow Logistics professional that found a high interest in emerging technologies, I would say that you have some great replies thus far. What I focused on was getting certified in the advanced technology that was of interest as well as will be in demand when the world catches up. You have the logistics to enter the market and the tech interests now you should find certifications in the technology space that you want to employ your enthusiasm. I recommend reading this book "The War on Normal People". It helps to put into perspective what entrepreneurs and anyone that wants to be prepared for the future occupations should focus on.
One more thing. I focused on blockchain tech for study because I saw the value it added to SCM. In my opinion these two were made for each other. Since you have the logistics background you can quickly get up to speed on the advanced technology and consult or get recognized by your company of choice. Go for it. You are moving in the right direction. All the best!
R Hill


Shelley Appelbaum Elk Rapids, MI

Hello Robert and thank you for your service! Likewise, you have much to look forward to as you prepare for your upcoming transition. The answers provided previously are certainly helpful and I would like to add that do not underestimate your numerous “transferable skills.” As you review the core job requirements and your experiences, remember to think about the qualities you possess and your valuable experiences that are applicable. Also, be prepared to provide some evidence based examples to the employer which would demonstrate your skill set and meaningful experiences. Be specific as you prep for your upcoming interviews so you can be timely with quality responses. In addition, reflect on how you can be a quick study and would learn various skills as you join their business, team, etc. Stay positive and be confident and I am sending you my best wishes, Shelley


Joy Montgomery Pleasanton, CA

Testing for a hardware manufacturer comes to mind.

The 3D printer is a great idea! Being able to bring something you made to an interview and briefly explaining the project from design to completion could carry a lot of weight with the right employer. I recommend getting the best one you can afford and finding a problem that you can solve so you can go all the way from requirements definition to implementation.



You did not mention your education! That bothers me. Speaking from expereince look at positions in Purchasing/logistics.


Paul Tusting Salt Lake City, UT

Hi Robert,

I've been involved with production design and development for the last 20+ years in: 1) consumer electronics, 2) outdoor products, and 3) the shooting sports.

Over that time 3D printing has always been part of the development process, but in the last few years has played a role in production (aka additive manufacturing). So has CNC machining (either making tooling or the parts directly).

Please feel free to send me a privet message through this site, or email ( if you would like to chat.


Carl Martin Salinas, CA

Haven’t read all of the helpful responses so my apologies if this was already suggested. Unless you have some background already in IT, may I suggest vocational training. Specifically federally funded training. If you qualify, your training, and job placement assistance wound all be paid for. You may be able to land an OJT in an in demand field. If you’re registered with your VA job placement program, ask about WIOA funded trainings. Or contact your local employment office, or in some places, your veterans affairs office. Great place to start a career. As a veteran, you get priority of service. Good luck.


Seth Lynch Plano, TX


I would recommend looking into supply chain roles within enterprise technology companies. HPE, Dell, Intel, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, AMD, along with hundreds of others would be looking for your global logistics skillset and would also expose you to your personal interests. Most supply chain experts today are required to understand how subsystems work, how they can be programmed, and even how they are manufactured to fit the requirements of the end system. I would recommend starting in a supply chain role that would suit your military experience then expose yourself to your personal interests and work into a specialized role.


Tim Feemster Dallas, TX

In today's civilian world logistics equals technology. No leading edge firm can be successful with out a suite of technological programs in place. They are ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) which will include customer files, purchasing, warehouse management systems-automated facility-and Ai, personnel records, finance/accounting, order management including ecommerce, billing, track & trace, etc. Hard to get away from technology in the supply chain world. Make sure you develop "stories" around each of these systems you utilized in the military arena but make sure you civilianize them so the recipient can bridge the lingo gap.
Don't use words like "lethal, force, order, PTSD, ..." instead use words like "quality control (lethal), six-sigma (reconnaissance), teamwork/project team (brigade/squad/battalion), brainstorm (minimize casualties), lean processing (minimize death/injury, ..."
Remember, many HR folks have NO experience with military life or the lingo.


Megan MacLellan Bremerton, WA


I would echo the comments made above. I have seen the curriculum pathways that Onward to Opportunities ( provides in expanding technology knowledge and think you would find a few of the tracks interesting. This is a free service for you, and it will help you understand which aspects of technology you want to focus on. For how to leverage your interests and knowledge - I think this is completely do-able. The skills you obtained from your logistics and manpower experience can be applied to a variety of roles. Options might include: Operations, Development/Design, Supply Chain, or Data Science roles. When interviewing for a technology based role, you could highlight that you understand customer needs, importance of deliverable deadlines, etc to show how logistics can help you be successful in the area of your interest.



Brian MacDonald Allen, TX

I also think that a background in logistics and manpower would work well in some Operations leadership roles. Some of our Ops teams are using additive manufacturing, and working logistics and supply chain are always in demand.

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