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IT a Good Fit for Military Spouse Employment

From education and training to location and portability, IT jobs offer military spouses something very few other industries do: The chance to launch a real career.

If you rang in 2014 with a resolution for a better job or fulfilling career, we want to let you in on a little secret: The dream jobs of 2014 are all in IT.

And they are not just for geeks anymore.

"I pictured IT geeks as all ugly glasses, probably really dorky, pocket protector style," laughs Air Force wife Anne. “That’s what I picture when I think about it. But that doesn’t describe me at all.”

Anne now works as a help desk coordinator in Tampa, Fla.

"I went to community college using MyCAA," she says. "I started thinking I would do general studies, but you can't use MYCAA for that, so I had to pick something."

On a whim -- and the jesting suggestion from her husband that she make them a million or two in video game development -- she signed up for an IT class, thinking it would be over her head.

"I thought I would drop it in a week, but the teacher started talking to us about what kind of jobs we were looking for," she said. And for her, jobs was the magic word.

For good reason: Jobs in IT are booming.  

According to Payscale.com, the average starting salary for an entry-level help desk technician like Anne is $25,000-$42,000 a year. If you want to make a career of it, you can expect to earn up to $96,000 later on.

Other positions -- from networking specialist to coordinators, supervisors, managers, and experts -- are equally compensated (and better!), and they are also jobs that are perfect for military spouses.

From education and training to location and portability, IT jobs offer military spouses something very few other industries do: The chance to launch a real career.

Rachel is an Air Force wife in Tucson who also enjoys the possibilities a job in IT have opened up for her. She began studying for her IT career before she met her airman, and she is glad she did.

She not only enjoys her job and the growth potential it has right now, but she is confident that the portability of the industry is a good match for the military lifestyle.

“I received my entire college education from the University of Phoenix,” she explains. Rachel received a BSIT -- a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology -- the prime four-year degree for someone entering the IT field.

“While we did not move during the time I was attending school, it would not have mattered since the entire program was online.”

Although Rachel studied for a Bachelor’s, many IT degrees are Associate’s level, can be paid for with MyCAA, and are offered at online institutions and community colleges.

 For military spouses, the Veterans Career Transition Program at Syracuse University even offers IT classes and industry certifications for free -- including programs in web design, technical foundation, IT support desk training, Java and server network infrastructure, to name a few.

That means that training for a job in IT can happen anywhere, regardless of where your family is stationed.

Rachel enjoys the comfort of knowing she could have completed her schooling even if they had been forced to PCS while she was still studying, and she enjoys that same confidence when it comes to finding a job whenever they do have to move.   

“There are so many positions for IT out there,” Rachel says. “I do believe it will be simpler to find a position in IT than many other positions since it a specialized field, yet everyone needs IT.”

Statistics back that up. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 90 percent of IT jobs are actually outside of the IT industry and far from Silicon Valley.

They are jobs working the help desk at banks, colleges and law firms, positions as software installation technicians and networking managers at hospitals and factories, and on-site IT gurus for small businesses. Many web-design jobs can even be done freelance, like these for sale on Etsy.

IT jobs really do exist everywhere.

And they are jobs that military spouses can really do. “I was scared it would be too technical,” confesses Anne. “But it’s very strategic-thinking based. Anyone can point and click. It’s more than that.”

The Department of Labor supports that. According to it, IT professionals “must possess strong problem-solving and analytical skills as well as excellent communication skills because troubleshooting and helping others are such vital aspects of the job.”

Those soft skills, they say, are what make the professional invaluable. The rest of it is just training.

Make 2014 the year you get that training. “It's not what you would think of as a typical milspouse job. Teacher, nurse, etc.,” says Anne. But in 2014, it's a job more military spouses should consider.  

Rachel agrees. “It is a very versatile and required field,” she says. “And there are jobs out there!”

Dream jobs, no less.

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