Before starting in the military Joshua was in the air force for 5 yrs as an air traffic controller. According to Joshua, they weren’t kidding when they said that was a stressful career. Between the stress, and wanting to settle down and have a family, it worked out for Joshua to leave the air force. He and his wife now have two kids.
Joshua fell in love with the web when he started taking some general education classes in college, and now he’s at Course Vector doing WordPress stuff.
Joshua didn’t have any particular interest in joining the military as a child, or any family that was in the military. Once while in Junior High Joshua was at a college fair, and he had no clue what he wanted to do with his future. His solution was to go around and grab a pamphlet from every booth for each school.
Joshua sat down with his mom that night, and they went through every single pamphlet. They circled majors that he was remotely interested in, and at the end of the day they only had one or two majors circled. Joshua just didn’t know what he wanted to do. His mom was very reserved in suggesting it (as Joshua was her baby boy), but she asked, “What about joining the military?” She also promptly told him, “But you’re not joining the Marines, or the Army!”
That led Joshua to start looking at careers in the military, when air traffic control in the air force piqued his interest. He went to the recruiter and said he was looking at air traffic control, and they got him started in the military. It was originally a six year commitment, but they were doing cutbacks at the time, so Joshua was released early. He also wanted to start a family and find a more long-term career, so he went to school to use the GI bill.
When Joshua went to college he had the same issue he did in junior high. He didn’t know what he wanted to do. Joshua took a bunch of general education classes, and some classes he thought would interest him. He then fell in love with websites through a web development class he took. Joshua currently works with Course Vector doing various website things, including development, hosting, IT work, database programming, etcetera.
I asked Joshua what specifically about air traffic control piqued his interest, and he responded with, “I have no idea.” Joshua heard it was a really challenging career, and that the dropout rate was incredibly high. He wanted the challenge, and wound up graduating second in his class.
Joshua was at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for his on the job training, which took another six months. It was about a year and a half before Joshua was said and done with his schooling for the Air Force, which is why they require that six year commitment. Joshua then had some experiences on the job, and discovered that that field wasn’t quite what he was looking for.
When Joshua separated from the military in 2013, he went right into school. His first job was at a local cable network doing some database stuff. He then started an internship with Course Vector, which turned into a position, and then a career/partnership. Joshua’s been with them since, and actually bought a house six doors down from their CEO. Their other two partners live on the cul de sac on the other side of their block.
Joshua has a really tight knit relationship with his coworkers. I asked if that brotherhood was something he missed about being in the military. Joshua really did miss it, especially when he was in college.
Messiah University was where Joshua attended, and it was a very Christian school. He was the “old guy” on campus, despite everyone else being only four years younger than him. They just hadn’t experienced as much real-world as Joshua had. Not just from age, but a lot of them were very sheltered. Coming straight from a gruff military background, potentially with alcohol and swearing, Joshua stood out quite a bit. There were a few times where the other students would be shocked by some of the things Joshua experienced.
Once he joined Course Vector, Joshua really enjoyed having that brotherhood back. One of his coworkers, Gabriel, is prior air force as well. The company itself is also really small, which was comforting to him.
I later asked Joshua if he had a favorite skill that he acquired from the air force. One that he either still uses today, or helped a lot in developing his career. Joshua developed some excellent writing skills through the Air Force’s EPR evaluations.
EPR stands for Enlisted Performance Report, and is a report they all had to write once a year about how they progressed. It helped Joshua develop a very professional writing style, which helps a lot with the sales aspect of his current job.
Joshua also appreciated the real-world experience that came with working with lots of different people, and having so many different leadership styles. He saw both what he may want to become in a leadership role, and what he really didn’t want to become.
Some advice Joshua gave for those separating from the military is to get out there.
“Go to networking events in your area, and learn from the people that you want to get involved with.”
He highly recommends finding someone who’s doing what you want to do, and shadow them. Learn everything you can. The WordPress community loves to invest in people getting started, and it’s unlikely you’ll get a firm rejection.
This is where WordPress meetups come in handy. There will usually be a topic each week of the meetup, but there are also a lot of really great people you can meet in your community.