Joining Forces: On a Mission

About Jason Cherry: In July, Jason Cherry retired from the United States Air Force. After 20 years in the service traveling to places such as Japan and England, he is now reunited with his wife in Charleston, SC. From being deployed “all over the planet” to now enjoying time exploring his new hometown, hanging at the beach, and fishing, Jason’s life has changed. His next mission: find a job he loves.

How did hear about the Joining Forces program with NetApp?

As I was getting ready to retire I was contacted by my transition coordinator who briefed me on the White House Credentialing program. His job was to make my transition easier and this program was designed to do just that. I might have been part of IT teams deployed throughout the world over the past 20 years, but the civilian market requires these certifications to land the jobs I am targeting.

What kind of IT service/ experience did you have?

I have always been interested in IT and as a hobby I like to build my own computers. This interest in computers led me to join the radio maintenance career field at the three year mark of my military service. The radio career field is a catch-all career field dealing with all things electronic including networking and computers.

How did you find the enrollment, content and support around the Joining Forces program?

I found out about the Joining Forces program around December when I had to begin planning for my future after the Air Force. I applied for the program and was hooked up with classes that fit my background and the skills I was hoping to garner before applying for jobs.  I wanted to take the NetApp class because I liked the idea of having a specific skill set for a career in a niche market. Every company has a lot of data and needs storage, so every company needs someone with storage skills. I had heard about NetApp during my deployments and was able to work with NetApp’s storage systems, so I signed up for NetApp's NCSA certification course.

Once enrolled in the class I was pushing to get everything done in a weekly rotation. I was able to complete the course and prepare for the certification exam in a one-month period. I took the test, and I failed. But like I learned in my 20 years in the military, I did not give up. Instead I focused on the areas I was weak in, provided feedback to the program, and took the test again. And this time I passed as the third veteran graduate of the NCSA certification.

What makes the Joining Forces different than other certification programs you have experienced?

This is the first program that didn’t require me to pay out of pocket. These certifications are extremely important to build the career I want, so I want to spread the word about this really good program. If you are a transitioning veteran looking for a job in the IT world, then look into this program. The certifications didn’t always come easy, but it was worth it. I had to work hard, and it paid off.

What is your ideal job and goals now that you are retired?

Now that I am retired in Charleston, SC, I am ready to put down some roots and spend some time with my family. My wife works as a Marine Policy Analyst in the area, and I want to find a job locally that is looking for someone with the certifications I now have. I would love to be able to get into a computer networking job with one of the IT companies that sponsor the Joining Forces program, because I am proud to be a veteran and a graduate of the Joining Forces.



Read more about how NetApp Certification Prepares Next Generation of Storage Professionals for Increasing Complexity of Data Management here.