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Army Vet Faced Challenges Transitioning into Civilian Life and Found Success in Tech!

Maverick Cheung has always had a passion for technology. After serving more than eight years in the US Army working in supply chain and logistics, he knew that as he transitioned into his civilian career, he wanted a career that would challenge him intellectually and allow him to continue learning and growing. 

After researching, he learned about the TLG IT Careers’ IT Pre-Apprenticeship program through the VA website. Maverick initially doubted his ability to transition into a completely new field. However, after reflecting on his past abilities to adapt successfully to new challenges and seeking support from his mentors and friends, he was able to take the plunge! 

Once he was accepted into the TLG IT Careers’ Network Development Engineer IT Pre-Apprenticeship program, his biggest challenge was adjusting to the fast-paced nature of the program and balancing his new civilian life as a veteran. Through his determination, he worked on his time management and was able to overcome these challenges.

All of his hard work eventually paid off! Upon completing the program, he spent several months of persistent effort, and what he says was “accompanied by excruciating and distressing experiences,” he eventually landed a job at Microsoft as a System Administrator. 

He advises those struggling to find a role and a company that is a good fit for them that “[he] would advise you against lowering your aspirations and encourage you to continue your job search.”

Maverick is continuing his education by pursuing a Master’s degree in Computer Science.

Continue reading our interview with him below for the full details on his journey!

What were you doing before joining the program?

Before joining the program, I was serving in the U.S. Army as a Quartermaster for 8 years.

Did you know which direction you wanted to go into before starting (software vs network)? 

I was more inclined towards the software side, but I was open to exploring network paths during the program.

What did you enjoy the most during the program?

I enjoyed the hands-on learning experiences the most, especially when working on real-world learning experiences with the Linux part. The teacher for the Linux course Mr. Abdirahman simulated multiple work environments, which had the most impact on me and inspired me to pursue this career.

What would you say to someone debating on joining the NDE IT Pre-Apprenticeship?

I would say go for it! It’s a great opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience in the tech industry, and the support and resources provided are truly invaluable.

If you had one piece of advice for someone newly entering this program to maximize their experience and career growth, what would it be? 

My advice would be to stay curious and never stop learning. The tech industry is constantly evolving, so staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies will help you stand out.

What did your job search look like? 

Acquiring the current employment took several months of persistent efforts, accompanied by excruciating and distressing experiences. Nevertheless, I would like to advise you against lowering your aspirations and encourage you to continue your job search.

Why did you decide to work for Microsoft?

I didn’t have any other options and, well, it’s Microsoft, so I went with it haha.

Is there anything you would have done differently on your path into tech? If so, what would you have done? If so, what would you have done? 

Looking back, I don’t think I would have done anything differently. Each step of my journey has been a learning experience that has helped me grow both personally and professionally.

What do you enjoy most about your System Administrator position at Microsoft? 

I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of my job the most, as well as the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technologies.

Is there anything surprising to you about working in tech that you didn’t expect? If so, what?

I was surprised by how collaborative the tech industry is. Despite the stereotype of tech professionals working in isolation, I’ve found that teamwork and collaboration are key to success in this field.

What’s in your future? Future goals, etc? 

When I work with the software developers and engineers from Microsoft every day and see what they are capable of, I feel inspired to become one of them. That’s why I decided to go back to school and pursue a Master’s degree in computer science. I am excited to have been admitted to the University of Texas and look forward to this new chapter in my academic journey. 

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To learn more about your options with TLG IT Careers, visit our site or schedule a meeting with one of our Educational Consultant to discuss your unique needs and to determine if an IT apprenticeship or IT pre-apprenticeship is right for you!