Closing a Chapter
After serving in the Army for six years, the thought of finding a job and working as a civilian after separating terrified me. All I had ever known was the Army. It was the only career I had up until that point. I honestly had no idea what to expect once separating. However, I consider myself to be extremely fortunate in that I was able to go through the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA) and then, as I was preparing to graduate from the course, secure a job interview with Applied Information Sciences (AIS).
The MSSA program truly changed my life. Not only did MSSA provide me with the knowledge and technical skills needed to be successful in the IT field, but the remarkable teachers and mentors there also prepped me for job interviews, showed me how to network and leverage my LinkedIn profile, and taught me how to write a proper resume. All these components made a massive difference as I was preparing to re-enter civilian life.
Joining the AIS Team
Fortunately, as I was getting ready to graduate from the program, one of my peers at MSSA, Taylor Hill, referred me to AIS after his interview with their team. I will always be extremely grateful that Taylor recommended me to AIS, as a recruiter quickly contacted me. I have to say; the entire recruitment process was excellent. My recruiter was very professional, responsive, and informative. Shortly after speaking with her, I had my first technical interview and then my second and final interview scheduled only a few days later. I don’t know if there are even words to describe how nervous I was for those two interviews. I had done a few interviews before this one, but after researching AIS, I knew that this is where I wanted to work, and I was eager to succeed. Even though I was anxious, I could leverage the skills I learned from MSSA and do well during the interview. A couple of weeks later, I was thrilled to find out that AIS wanted to hire me! I was so relieved that they allowed me to work for them.
As my first day of work at AIS was approaching, I began to feel like I had imposter syndrome. I had no prior experience in the IT field aside from the MSSA program. Nevertheless, AIS helped to ease this feeling and set me up for success. First, they assigned me a mentor – someone working on the same project that I could shadow and learn from. This was extremely helpful in my first few weeks at AIS. I truly learned a lot from my mentor, and working alongside him enabled me to gain confidence and be successful from the very beginning. They were also excellent at ensuring that I was assigned the appropriate level of work.
Additionally, they gave me some easy tasks that helped me further build my confidence and then slowly increased the difficulty and workload at a pace I was comfortable with. Second, I was almost immediately enrolled in the Azure Infrastructure Bootcamp that senior AIS employees teach. The course provided me with an overview of Azure fundamentals through setting up templates, virtual machines, governance, and high availability. It was also an excellent opportunity to meet other AIS employees with different backgrounds and varying experience levels.
In all, just in my first couple of weeks, I could tell that AIS truly wants its employees to be successful and continually strives to provide us with ample opportunities to learn and grow. Getting out of the military and finding a career equally capable of supporting my family was very intimidating. However, the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy gave me the tools and knowledge necessary to excel in the IT field. At the same time, my mentor and the Azure Bootcamp that AIS provided were beneficial and put me on the path to success at the company. I feel very fortunate to work for such a great company in a field that I genuinely enjoy, which is ever-growing. If I could do it all over again, I would.