The beginning of November has special meaning for many of us who have or have had family and friends in the military. In Europe they commemorate the end of World War I as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. In the United States we observe November 11 as Veteran’s Day to honor all veterans of our armed forces.
Recently we have had many young veterans return from service. These are very special young men and women who have volunteered to serve in harms way, given the many on going conflicts in the world. As they return to the “world” that the rest of us live in, they deserve more than a pat on the back and a “ Thanks for your service”. These are tough economic times and jobs are hard to get.
While many of the Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) job descriptions don’t translate well to IT, there are other traits that veterans learn in the military that can be very useful in IT. One thing we learn in the military is discipline and commitment to teamwork. As we move to a more mobile workplace and employee’s work from anywhere, discipline and commitment becomes more important.
I also believe that military training helps with leadership since it gives a person a lot of responsibility at a very young age. Claus Mikkelsen was a 20 year old when he left his job in the IBM mailroom in San Jose and went to South East Asia including Vietnam. Now he is a Chief Scientist at Hitachi Data Systems with a number of patents in IBM as well as Hitachi. John Mansfield, flew Navy jets off of carriers, before he worked in startups, and eventually ended up as the EVP of development at Hitachi Data Systems. Lynn McLean was a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy where she managed large IT and weapons systems development projects and is now VP of sales for our Unified Compute Platform Solutions. Shmuel Shottan was an Israeli Tank Commander before he was the CTO for BlueArc and currently leads our file solutions development team. There are many examples of technical as well as business leaders in IT that owe some portion of their success to their military service.
I was recently interviewed by Tom Frana, President and CEO of VION, a hardware and systems integrator in the federal space. Tom and I talked about the value of military service. Tom is a Marine veteran and a founding member of the Marine Corps Museum along with another well known name in the IT industry, Richard Egan of EMC, who served in the Marine Corps in Korea. You can see thisinterview here