Show Notes | April 12, 2021 | Episode 99
This episode is sponsored by our military spouse employment partner Stay at Home Profit.
What career field can have you earning 6 figures remotely and keep you employed for 10 years through 6 PCS’s? Technology!
Lindsay Herald, a project engineer with Amazon, is with us today talking about how she became the primary bread winner for her family after earning two tech certifications.
This top 10% female technology earner is going to tell you more about why CompTIA A + and CompTIA Security + are certifications that will get you #hired.
Lindsay has been a part of the military community as both a service member and active duty milspouse for more than 18 years, and she hasn’t been unemployed or underemployed the entire time.
Jobs in tech are portable, so Lindsay has successfully transitioned through several PCS’s while maintaining her career.
No matter where her family got stationed, there was always an opportunity to work in tech. Tech is everywhere!
Take hair salons for example, to make an appointment, you may use an online booking platform. You guessed it, there is a person in tech supporting that platform.
About three years ago, Lindsay successfully transitioned to remote work.
Tech jobs pay really well. So, Lindsay is able to support her family, maintain her career and stay at home with her kids.
While Lindsay gained a lot of her experience as an active duty service member in the Army, as soon as she got out of the military, she had a civilian job lined up.
Her first job outside of the military was a government contract IT job out of Fort Campbell. She had to drive to Nashville – more than an hour away – but there was so much support and excitement about having a woman in tech the opportunity was there.
If you’re female, you really need to be paying attention to this career field because there is a gigantic lack of women in tech!
Lindsay quit her contract job to become a GS-9 employee. She was then told she had just 30 days to get certified in order to comply with DOD regulations and keep her new job.
That’s when Lindsay became certified in A + and Security +, the most highly recognized certifications in tech. Since not everyone has these, she really stood out as a candidate.
In order to work for the government, you must have a certain level of baseline skills. Those minimum skills and certifications are outlined in the 8570 DOD Directive, essentially a roadmap that shows you how to progress in a government IT career. (Linked below)
So, what is A + and Security +? Well, A + is more hardware oriented – the parts and operating systems of a computer – so people who are analytical and enjoy puzzles often succeed in this cert.
Security + is more software and cybersecurity oriented –network security, infrastructure, viruses, firewalls – so people who have analytical skills and an interest in cybersecurity and how to protect data typically succeed in this cert.
Security + will take your tech career to the next level, but these skills are challenging, so you need to be a self-starter and someone who doesn’t give up easily.
You don’t need a degree or job experience to sit for the exams. There are easy study materials available, but Lindsay suggests working in IT to make sure this is the field you want to be in before pursuing a cert.
“You don’t want to throw your money away for something you may not truly be interested in,” Lindsay says.
At the time Lindsay took the exams, the fees were $268 per exam for A + and $360 for Security +. Tune into our episode with Onward to Opportunity to find out how military spouses can get their exam fees covered. (Linked below)
“Every dime you put into this you will put back into your salary tenfold,” Lindsay says.
For Lindsay, the payoff has been well worth it. She was able to contribute to her family during a time when she was a single mom, and today she can be home with her kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lindsay has helped more than 116 other military spouses get #hired in the past few months.
For those who are interested in a career in tech, Lindsay advises you to start by finding an entry-level customer service role so you can master people skills and work with existing ticketing systems.
Then, find a mentor in tech so you know what direction you want to go in this diverse field.
Once you become certified, you are required to do continuing education credits to stay sharp in the career field. You must keep yourself up to date and educated. Most importantly, do not let your certifications lapse!
These certifications are a strategic advantage for any IT jobseeker – especially remote jobseekers.
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