An Army Veteran Shares His Technical Career Trajectory from IT Specialist to Full Stack Developer

As an IT Specialist (System Engineer) in the United States Army, Garrick Kwong managed network devices and safe-guarded over one million dollars’ worth of computer related equipment designed exclusively for the Army. He also provided support for computerized hardware and software applications, trained support engineers, and maintained network uptime. Garrick served two tours of duty in the U.S. Army. While an IT Specialist in the Army, Garrick became exposed to all the negative commentary the private sector utilizes to discount the hiring of veterans. He used his Post 9/11 G.I. Bill to get a B.S. degree in Network Management at DeVry University to legitimize his technical skills. The classroom and lab experience furthered his knowledge of specific routers and switches being used at the time in the private sector and fueled his confidence that he was on the right path. He spent a year laboring as a help desk technician at Hewlett Packard in San Diego, where he got further exposure to a wide range of network tools. Garrick then accepted an IT Custodian position at an Air Force Base in El Segundo. There he provided comprehensive IT support for users, managed and tracked assets and maintained their phone systems.

Sabio Alumni Garrick

From there, Garrick moved on to an IT analyst position with Wilshire Associates, Inc., in Santa Monica. In that role, Garrick was exposed to software usability for domestic and foreign users, managing applications and hardware, and documenting technical issues. As his information technology knowledge peaked, so did his exposure regarding the development side.

In 2016, Garrick was hired as an application developer by the U.S. Navy. This was an incredible technical leap. Moving from hardware and network administration to the development of applications had panic and nerve-racking moments. His rational progression from a network infrastructural position to the development side has taken him six years. Although he learned to create and update analytic reports using SAP and collaborated with teammates to build custom queries for clients, Garrick spent many nights and weekends online furthering his development knowledge. Then came that point where Garrick decided he needed further schooling on the development side to be resourceful. He began searching for accelerated coding bootcamps.