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How do you attempt a new career which the military didn't prepare you for? How do I prepare for an interview?


Samuel Pirro Portsmouth, NH

I'm currently in the Navy as a Electronics Technician- Submarines. I want to get into a career in information technology. Though my job involves a plethora of technical knowledge with respect to submarine navigation, I don't not think I am prepared for a job in Information technology. Although, I am currently in the process of obtaining my CompTia Security + certification. However, I do not believe I have sufficient IT training to get "the balling rolling" in my desired field. How do I overcome this? Any suggestions. Also, I haven't interviewed in years. Any profession refresher training that is recommended?

12 November 2020 7 replies Mentoring



Susan Hallen Elk Grove Village, IL

It's about skill sets first, so make sure you understand what is expected for basic skills in the roles you are looking at entering. But its also about continuous learning, fast adaptability...and you have those skills from your submarine days. How you solve a problem is just as important. Tools will change, you will need to change with them (ex: I took Fortran in college, not very useful in the age of Javascript and Python!). Your certification will help, but its what problems you can solve for the company that is important in the interview process. If you need to talk it through, practice an interview or need other help, please reach out!

13 November 2020 Helpful answer


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!

13 November 2020 Helpful answer


Matthew Anzalone Melbourne, FL

I would look at the job description and software/systems they use (most mention it in the key responsibilities) and reflect on how you can leverage something you did while serving that was similar. The other approach is research the company before the interview and see what systems they use and get familiar with the terminology or what it does.

13 November 2020 Helpful answer


ACP AdvisorNet Staff New York, NY

Hi Samuel,

Thank you for your question! We would suggest looking through our "Articles" tab for articles specifically surrounding interviews - this series of articles ( is a great place to start.

You can also look through our "Community/Advisors" tab and find advisors with experience in Information Technology ( that you can message directly to learn more.

Good luck!


12 November 2020 Helpful answer


Steve Dykes Dallas, GA

The folks above have done a great job pointing out many of the technical aspects of your question, so I wont go there...

What I will say, in respects to your interviews, is first and foremost, Be Yourself... Seems obvious right, but you would be surprised at the people, in interviews, that miss this.

As one of my other duties as assigned, I also serve on the IBM Interview Corps, to help hiring managers as they look to fill positions, bringing in the right person, looking at resumes and assisting the managers conducting actual interviews.

Your soft skills, communication (verbal and written) play a large role in landing any job. Teamwork is also big, but that should come very natural as a veteran, so you have a leg up on most. LinkedIn is a great resource. Put yourself out there and fine tune your profile.

All the best to you in your future endeavors.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer


Scott Garfinkle Houston, TX

You don't mention it specifically, so I'll suggest that skills in scripting (especially Python and similar languages) and networking are crucial. Definitely start there. I expect this will be "table stakes" at places where they care about CompTIA. But...don't limit yourself, unless you just really want to focus only on cybersecurity.

Especially in larger companies (where you might be more comfortable), you should also be looking at virtualization, esp. "containers" and container management -- have a look at openstack and openshift.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer


Brad Menges Rochester, MN

In addition to what others said above I'll say be confident in what you know and show your desire to learn. I was a US Navy Aviation Electronics Technician for 9 years before I was hired at IBM 23 years ago. When I interviewed at IBM one of the managers interviewing me pointed at a dry erase board which had a block diagram of a problem they had been working on. He knew I had very little experience in the specific job I was applying for but was trying to gauge my problem solving skills. After explaining the scenario he asked how I would go about troubleshooting it. It was a networking issue his team had been working on. I had to think quick on my feet, but broke it down and related it to what I knew from working on aircraft and explained the general approach I would take to solve the problem. I think the key is to be confident, think on your feet, and don't sell yourself short.

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