- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Power Up Your Job Hunt in the Energy Industry

by Heidi Lynn Russell, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Heavy Equipment College

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Don’t Discount Your Military Experience

There are a variety of military occupations and skill sets that transfer seamlessly into the energy industry, and information technology is one that tops the list, Rostom says. One in-demand area is data analysis, a growing skill set in this space.

The rural electric companies use Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems (SCADA) that control the grid. “The data we collect centers around the flow of electricity through the wires. We’re looking for efficiency,” Rostom says. A SCADA programmer makes about $70,000. Army MOSs that can prepare you for this job include: 25B Information Technology Specialist, 35T Military Intelligence Systems Maintainer/Integrator or 25A Signal Officer.

To work with SCADA systems, check into the Certified SCADA Security Architect (CSSA) certification. See:

If you’ve been in engineering in the military, your skill set is also highly valued. Electrical engineers are the highest in-demand engineering discipline, although the industry also needs mechanical and civil engineers, Rostom says. Salaries average around $80,000. Comparable Army MOSs are: 12A Engineer Senior Sergeant and 12T Technical Engineer.

Xcel Energy also looks for people in supply chain logistics, Navy nuclear folks and anyone in public affairs (for business marketing positions). “Those are easy transitions,” Golonka says.

“Other positions that we’ve had great experience with is operation work scheduler/coordinator positions,” she adds. “We’ve taken veterans who were operations officers or NCOs with any type of scheduling experience.”

She also scouts for intelligence officers at veterans’ job fairs, because if someone handles ‘human intelligence,’ they might be adept in an HR role. “It’s a matter of helping them see they have the skills. They just have to understand what they bring to the table and how they’re tailoring it. Obviously, an HR degree will be listed for positions, but it’s not always a requirement,” Golonka says.

For listings at Xcel Energy, check out

A ‘transcoder’ at the web site will help you translate your military job into a comparable open position. To make it easier for veterans to find jobs, Xcel recently has also been tailoring job descriptions to match the military’s, Golonka says.

If you’ve loved living in other parts of the globe during your military service, check out opportunities at Bechtel Corp. Veterans can view an exhaustive list at

Similar to the opportunities at Xcel, they range from software project lead, to port coastal engineer, to civil designer, to international communications and public affairs manager - even administration assistant. You can also view jobs by military code at the site.

Bechtel is interested in talking to veterans because of qualities that help them stand them out from other candidates, says U.S. Marine veteran and Manager of HR Jim Haynes.

“Bechtel values the qualities and attributes service members develop while serving our country: agility, integrity and unparalleled commitment. These men and women characterized by their pride in service, devotion to excellence and tangible results, run to defeat the fire whenever and wherever needed,” Haynes says.

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