Have you heard about Microsoft’s Software and Systems Academy (MSSA)? If you like working with computer systems and networks, it could be the training needed that can lead to a great post-military career in Information Technology (IT). After all, 12% of current unfilled jobs are in the IT field.

Graduates of MSSA are guaranteed at least an interview with Microsoft or one of its approved Microsoft Technology Partners; through this program, the academy has already placed veterans into jobs in 130 different companies with salaries averaging $70,000. Not a bad way to start a civilian job after getting out!

In addition to the training and job placement, Microsoft also helps with transition, mentoring and the subsidizing of certification vouchers. Service members and veterans can use their GI Bill to pay for training, thus minimizing student debt.

Microsoft Training for an IT Career

The program accepts honorably discharged veterans or military members who are within six months of separation. Students spend 18 weeks taking classes full-time in server and cloud development, application programming, interfacing apps to cloud-based multimedia services and databases, and business intelligence all taught through a series of practical exercises, virtual labs and certification testing.

After completing the Academy, students can choose to transfer credits earned through this training towards either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Technical Management in one of three specializations: Server and Cloud Administrator, Database and Business Intelligence Administration or Cloud Applications Developer from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Degree classes are taught though a series of traditional, online or hybrid venues. Or students can choose to use their certification from the Academy and start working right away instead of earning a degree.

MSSA classes are held on select Embry-Riddle campuses. Right now Server and Cloud Administrator classes are offered at Camp Pendleton, CA and Fort Campbell, KY. The Cloud Applications Developer course should have started at Fort Benning, GA and Fort Bragg, GA by the time you read this article.  Classes will open in San Diego, CA in January 2017, with Fort Bliss, TX and Fort Carson, CO classes opening in mid-2017. Other locations also under consideration are Marine bases at Quantico, VA, Camp LeJeune, NC and Jacksonville, FL.

Whether an active service member or veteran, application to the Academy must be coordinated through a Base Education and Transition Center. For more information and to see what documents are needed to apply, go to the MSSA Website.

This training can be the bridge needed that levels the playing field when competing with civilian counterparts for jobs leading to a career in the Information Technology field. If this training interests you, don’t delay in seeing your Education Counselor for more information and filling out an application.

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.