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Handshake student stories, Life after graduation

5 ways the military can prepare you for a tech role

A veteran shares insights after making the leap from the Army to Amazon

Not every path to a great tech job is as simple as “major in Computer Science, attend career fairs, and get recruited.” Most career paths aren’t linear! Many job seekers who aim to break into tech roles make the decision after a couple of twists and turns. For Christian, a veteran who served nearly a decade in the United States Army, the road to a job offer from Amazon AWS was certainly windy—but he has no doubt that his time serving in the military was great preparation for the tech world.

After finishing his time in the service, Christian used the G.I. Bill first to earn his bachelors degree in Management Information Systems, then pursued an MBA with the same emphasis at San Francisco State University. During this time, he used Handshake to secure an internship with Amazon AWS, where he got to put his learnings into practice. By the end of his summer with Amazon, the company had extended a full-time return offer to Christian. Hard work and dedication got Christian to the finish line of a top-notch job offer, and he credits his military service with instilling several key lessons that pushed him to success in the tech world.

Veteran displays Army portrait on a bookshelf in his home

Good morning habits

“One thing we said in the Army is ‘you're going to do more than most people do in a day before 9:00 AM,’” says Christian, who uses his morning routine to get a head-start on being productive. When the day starts off strong, he believes, the rest of it will follow suit.

Systems thinking

Christian’s job in the military helped him learn to be highly detail-oriented and adept at following a strict workflow. “Working in tech, everything is extremely systems based. So you have a system and you complete steps A, B, C, D,” he says. “And that's the way the Army taught me to think, too.”

Leadership skills

“I feel like going through the military process made me extremely dependable,” Christian shares. “Leadership is all about respect and trust.” By proving himself to be dependable, respectful of colleagues, responsible for team outcomes, and adaptable to changing situations, Christian has set himself up to be a true leader in any role.


It’s essential to have confidence in your own abilities when taking on big projects, holding leadership roles, and building relationships in the workplace. “Before the Army, I had very low confidence in my own abilities,” Christian says, noting that this has changed since his time in the service. “Through tough love, the military showed me that I am enoughin any situation.”

Solid teamwork

“Comradery is one of the big things that veterans are big on: working with people,” says Christian. “You are only good as your weakest link.” Having a team-focused attitude in the world of tech is useful, especially in situations where multiple departments have to come together to approach a complicated problem or build a complex product. “Even dealing with different personalities, sometimes you have to problem-solve with people,” says Christian.

How to find a tech job or internship as a veteran

If you, like Christian, are looking to transition from the military into a civilian tech job after college, Handshake is the place to take your next step. After signing up and completing your Handshake profile, be sure to add your work experience in the military and any veterans’ groups you participate in to your extracurriculars. Employers who want to hire veterans for tech jobs will be able to search based on these characteristics and find candidates like you, who bring unique skills to the table.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and TikTok for more job search guidance and stories like Christian’s!

Photo by Diego González on Unsplash

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