Transitioning veterans who can match their military skills to the growing data analytics job market have the best chance of landing cleared analytics careers.  Data Analytics is booming; it’s one of the fastest growing IT fields with a demand that’s spiraling upward.   At the current growth rate, the country will need about 2,000,000 more high tech experts than it currently has, in order to fill the number of data analytics jobs projected by 2015.

The whole field of analytics is still new, so the job descriptions continue to be refined as more companies broaden their analytics strategies. But no matter what a federal agency or a defense contractor calls the job, data analysis is about collecting data from a variety of previously inaccessible places and using it to connect the dots, lower costs and make better business decisions. So how can transitioning veterans capitalize on their military skills and match them to emerging cleared data analytics careers?

Hard skills

There are numerous jobs and military occupational specialties across all branches of service that can serve as assets for transitioning veterans looking for cleared job opportunities in the analytics job market.

  • Platforms: Cleared veterans with training and experience in Java, Hadoop, NoSQL, Linux, Python, Hive and Scala have an edge.  Working knowledge and previous use or training in these platforms, combined with additional assets like a security clearance, can boost both your opportunities and salaries. Data analysts can earn up to six figure salaries in both the federal and defense contractor sectors.
  • Mathematics – if you work in numbers, this needs to go at the top of the resume.
  • Computer skills – even if they are not related to the above platforms, resumes should indicate which skills and or certifications you earned to better demonstrate your aptitude in technology.
  • Backgrounds in analyst positions – recruiters will do a double take at the resumes and social profiles of cleared veterans who have the word “analyst” attached to previous military jobs; from intelligence analyst, signal collections analyst, operations analyst and more.

Soft skills

  • Communication: Data analytics may be technical in nature, but it isn’t only about computing. Good story telling is now a job skill.  Excellent command of English and previous experience in making presentations and drawing conclusions are increasingly valuable.  Hiring managers are actively looking for those who can take numbers and turn them into stories about what those numbers mean and how they can be used to solve problems.  Good backgrounds include journalists and public affairs jobs, combat documentation and experience in teaching and training.  In fact, any position that required critical thinking or projecting trends can be an advantage.  If the MOS or job title doesn’t imply this, add a line or two to explain why a job you held matches to analytics job descriptions.


  • Bachelor’s degrees – most hiring managers are still looking for college degrees, particularly in math and computer sciences.  However, if your college degree is unrelated, find elements to what you studied that match up with some of the analytics job descriptions. English, business management, public policy and others can still work to your advantage, especially on resumes that follow the SARS model (situation, action, result).
  • Certification – In this business environment, technical certifications when combined with a clearance can often offset the demand for a degree.

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Tranette Ledford is a writer and owner of Ledford, LLC, which provides writing, editorial and public relations consulting for defense, military and private sector businesses. You can contact her at: