By Danielle DeSimone

When many people search for an answer, they Google it. But when you’re transitioning out of the military into civilian life, you might be looking for an answer to a more difficult question: “Which jobs can you get after the military?”

Well, Google has a few answers for that too, including a new initiative available to transitioning service members, military spouses and recent veterans, which is delivered with support from the USO – the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program.

For the more than 200,000 service members who transition out of the military each year, translating years of skills and experiences to the civilian workforce and finding a new profession is often a challenge.

“I had just gotten out of the Army and I was just sitting there, trying to figure out – what I am I going to do now?” said former Army Pfc. Philip Shafer, who recently enrolled in the program after transitioning out of the military two months ago.

Troops Can Grow With Google

As part of the Grow with Google initiative, the Google IT Support Professional Certificate helps service members, spouses and veterans find a new path and gives them an opportunity to begin a new career with the skills and experience required for long-term success in a growing field.

According to Google, there are approximately 150,000 open IT support jobs in the United States right now, and demand for those jobs are estimated to grow 11 percent by 2026, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while many IT support positions do not require a college degree, they do require prior experience. The Google IT Support Professional Certificate Program provides that experience.

This online program allows enrollees to earn their certificate through a series of video lectures, assessments, hands-on labs and more, which will have enrollees qualified for an entry-level job in IT support in eight months or less. It’s accessible anywhere, at any time, giving participants freedom to learn at their own pace.

After earning their certificate, the program will then connect participants to a consortium of national employers currently hiring candidates with these in-demand skills for well-paying jobs. Along the way, participants will also benefit from USO Pathfinder® resources, such as training on how to navigate the civilian workforce, how to prepare for an interview, what to put on a resume and much more.

Even a career IT professional is learning new things in the program.

“I’ve been in IT for my whole military career and every IT course you take always begins the same - always,” said an Army sergeant first class stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. “But the Google course … is more modern. I’ve gotten a different perspective of IT. It really talks about working in the civilian sector. I recommended the Google course [to] a military spouse – she didn’t know where to start to get into IT – and I told her: ‘this is the course you need to take!’ And she did! She signed up the next day.”

“If you’re just getting out of the military, this is the perfect thing to do,“ Shafer said. "For one, it’s something to keep your mind on so you have something to focus on now. And when you’re done, it’s going to be worth it.

“I would definitely recommend it, because I was struggling for a month or two [after transitioning from the Army], just trying to figure things out and get reacquainted, and it’s good to have something to focus on now with a clear goal in mind.”

And if IT support doesn’t match what the service member is looking for, Google has an answer for that too. Simply type “jobs for veterans” into Google and you’ll be brought to a search page that asks users to enter their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) code. Here, service members can enter their military job code into the search engine and find corresponding jobs that fit their skills and experience they earned in the military.

As the old adage goes: When in doubt, Google it.