Every day, over 500 service members will begin their transition into civilian life. And that transition is not automatically made easy for most veterans. Many struggle to find their footing in a post-military world.
Fortunately, some vets are breaking barriers and the stigma surrounding veteran struggles. And while many feel lost and without direction, veterans like Mario Morales have put in the work to reskill for their post-military careers.
“Transitioning back to civilian life is difficult,” Morales said in a letter to the editor of the Austin Business Journal. “They have to find a job. They have to find a place to live. And all the while, they have to try to keep their mental health in check.”
Currently, 21 out of every 10,000 vets are experiencing homelessness. And according to Morales, approximately 17 veterans die of suicide every day. Morales considers himself “one of the lucky ones” and has made an effort to switch up the narrative.
He currently works at Facebook, where he has thrived in his role as a Production Engineer for the past 9 months. But his tech journey has been anything but easy. Morales has worked as hard as anyone to get to where he is today, and he’s done that by making use of the resources around him.
Morales already had a background in tech, holding a B.A. in computer science to pair with his position as a former meteorologic impacts analyst for the U.S. Marine Corps. He decided to move to Austin, a growing tech city, where he found VetsinTech, an organization pairing military families with employment and education opportunities.
“It was through VetsinTech that I was introduced to Galvanize, which provides an array of full-time, part-time, in-person and online courses covering software engineering and data science,” said Morales.
Through Galvanize, he participated in a 12-week coding bootcamp which Morales said not only covered different coding languages, but also “whiteboarding, toy problems and interviewing.”
While Morales has said that the practical coding skills that he learned through Galvanize were important in his finding a job after graduating from the program, it’s the soft skills he acquired that truly launched his tech career.
“The skills that were important for me were not technical,” said Morales. “I was coached on how I could better display my core strengths and make improvements to areas where I was falling short or coming off to others in a way I didn’t intend. So it was definitely the people that were there that promoted the personal empathetic skills that have helped me become who I am.”
Morales is proud of the person he has become today, but he also has big plans for the future. Five years down the line he hopes to be in Tokyo, Japan in an infrastructure role.
It is difficult for most veterans to focus on the future, let alone the present. But Morales hopes more vets can take advantage of programs like VetsinTech and Galvanize to reskill and upskill for careers that will put them in positions to succeed. No veteran should have to struggle.
“If you feel like it is daunting, then you are correct,” he said. “It is daunting, but it is daunting for everyone. You don’t have to learn everything and no one knows everything. All you have to decide is if you are capable of becoming a continuous learner.”
To learn more about Galvanize, visit galvanize.com