The U.S. military is the front line of our nation’s defense. For many who step up to serve our country, a military career can also become a launchpad to new experiences, world travel and learning opportunities.

But deciding what comes after the military can be daunting, especially after spending years outside the civilian workforce. What many don’t realize is that the training and experience acquired in the military are exactly what make service members great candidates for in-demand technology careers.

How to transition your military career to tech

Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) was created to help ease the post-military service transition and set you up for success with a high-value career working in computing or IT.

The program is designed to build on the core values that are crucial to success in the military: adaptability, resilience and teamwork.

In just 18 weeks, you’ll learn specialized skills to help you build a career in technology through one of our four learning paths: cloud application development, cybersecurity administration, database and business intelligence administration, or server and cloud administration. You’ll also receive valuable mentorship and job interview coaching. Then, once you graduate, you’re guaranteed an interview with Microsoft or one of more than 450 of our hiring partner companies.

“The interview process was amazing, and MSSA was critical in helping me prepare for that,” says retired Navy Sr. Chief Jeff Peterson, now a software engineer at Microsoft. “I felt prepared [for my interview] and I knew I could do this job.”

More demand, greater opportunities

Since its launch in 2013, the MSSA program has trained thousands of veterans to transition from the military to the tech industry. MSSA is now available at 14 locations nationwide, and as demand continues to grow for skilled technology workers — especially for workers with active security clearances — there is more opportunity every day to secure a tech role in industries ranging from health and finance to travel and retail.

On average, MSSA graduates make a starting salary of more than $75,000 and are increasingly landing lucrative jobs at some of the country’s most prominent organizations, including Dell, Expedia, Facebook, Prudential, Southwest Airlines, and more.

“By the time you complete the training, you’ll be able to write your own programs,” says Chetana Adhikari, a former Army medic who now works at Microsoft as a software engineer. “I think it’s the full package to help you transition out of the military.”

Check out the stories from these MSSA graduates to learn more about the program and how it can set you up for the next rewarding phase of your life: