Here’s a little secret. Military spouses who have tech skills are finding jobs, and many are working from home. Just like you, they grew tired of switching jobs every time they moved. They wanted to avoid gaps in their resume and desired a steady paycheck. So, even though it may have required a career change, they learned the skills needed to work remotely. Now they have jobs they can do from anywhere, anytime.
Traditionally, the only people attracted to tech jobs were dudes who knew how to code. That’s not the case anymore. Liza is a woman software developer and a military spouse. Check our her career advice here.
To work in tech, you don’t have to have a computer science degree or a college degree at all. You don’t have to know how to build a website from scratch or develop a mobile app (unless you want to!). Today, you can learn tech skills within a matter of weeks or months. And, best of all, you don’t have to go back to college to learn them.
But wait!?! I’m not a techie.
Most remote companies need teams of people with various skills. Like project managers, copywriters, graphic designers, web developers, social media coordinators, and customer support. Thus, hiring managers want people with these specialized skills to join their teams. Therefore, even if you don’t consider yourself a ‘techie,’ you can still have a tech career.
Furthermore, remote work is on the rise. A 2012 survey predicted that 60% of employees will work from home by 2022. With this type of demand, there’s no better time than now to learn the tech skills needed to get hired.
So, how do I break into a tech career as a military spouse?
1. Don’t get stuck. Learn how to adapt.
Here’s a great example. Leslie is a military spouse working from home in a tech-related job without a tech degree. She has a master’s in architecture which is not a practical career for military life. Instead she self-taught herself graphic design and now works as the lead graphic designer for R. Riveter’s marketing department.
Don’t give up on your career aspirations. They may look different than you initially intended, but like Leslie, you too can adapt. Find something you’re passionate about and make it work for you. Here are five common remote jobs for military spouses.
2. Research the right role for you.
Switching careers can be a hard choice. Make sure you do your research before making any major decisions. Start by visiting glassdoor.com to research job titles. Look for the general description and salary range. Use this site to see what jobs are available and are in demand.
Then go to online job boards like flexjobs, We Work Remotely, remote.co, and Instant Teams. Type the job title into the search field to see real-life job postings. Take time to study the descriptions. What skills are they looking for, lingo used, and experience needed?
Finally, use this information to make a learning plan. Research online courses you can take. Find free webinars you can attend. Look for people you admire doing the job you want and reach out them.
Researching the right role is a gradual process. It can take up to three months. Be patient and enjoy the process.
3. Get experience.
Seek opportunities for hands-on experience while learning your new trade. If you want to be a social media manager, help a small business grow their reach. If you want to be a content manager, start a blog on WordPress. Or offer to write for a nonprofit you admire. Whether you get paid or not, these projects are great experience. Hiring managers want to see your skills in action, so this is a critical step.
Develop your confidence and then go after paid freelance gigs. Upwork is a good place to look for small projects. Even if you only land a $50 contract, it’s still a great start! Over time, you’ll learn your value and can then charge appropriately for your services. Remember, everyone must start somewhere.
In conclusion, a tech career may not have been what you had in mind. But if you want to work remotely, it’s the place to be. Use the resources available to you to get started. Then find work regardless of where you live or how many times you move. Many military spouses are already leading the way. Find the courage to join them!