By Rick Kuehn, CEO at GruntRoll; exited the Marines in 2010 as a Corporal.
One of the many challenges facing disabled Veterans is finding suitable employment. Veterans suffering from PTSD often find difficulty in working in tight-quartered, high-energy environments like the standard American workplace. As a result, some Veterans are turning towards work-from-home professions to overcome the incompatibility some face with a traditional office environment. The youngest generation of combat Veterans are blessed with the distinct advantage of having grown up with technology, and possess a natural affinity to it. These fields are so in-demand that many of the positions aren’t being filled. In a generation of unemployed college graduates, you can find a lucrative career working from home without stepping foot into a classroom.
1) Software Developer
The Software Developer is currently the number one most in-demand profession in the United States, according to Forbes. In fact, this job is so incredibly in-demand you can often start at $25/hour with basic knowledge. Those with several years of experience will regularly find themselves earning much higher rates, especially as contractors. The exact role is a Software Developer varies from job-to-job, and project-to-project. In February, you could be contributing to a new system designed to cache search queries, but in March you could be programming an iPhone app that finds military discounts.
To get started in this profession, you’re going to need a passion for technology and the ability to think critically. If you’re the kind of person who recreationally enjoys problem-solving, there’s a good chance you’ll not only make an excellent Software Developer–but you’ll be happy doing it.
2) Web Developer
So wait, we just talked about Software Developers; isn’t a Web Developer the same thing? Websites are just software that run on web servers, aren’t they?
Yes, basically. However, in practice these are two totally different professions. Those who prefer a more graphical (and less technical) aspect in their work will receive more gratification from a career in Web Development. The beauty of a career in Web Development is that you could literally build hundreds of websites for hundreds of customers without ever having to understand software. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with popular front-end graphical languages (HTML and CSS).
Successful Web Developers will utilize their choice of “Content Management System”, and gain expertise learning to build functional websites for clients by freelancing their skills. Although this field is more saturated than Software Development, there’s still a significant demand for Americans who can create websites. American businesses are becoming more hesitant to offload their needs overseas despite the obvious cost difference. Americans produce the best work, and the overseas development fad is all but come to an end for those serious about a high-quality result.
2.5) Web Software Developer
3) SEO (Search Engine Optimizer)
Imagine you’re going to Google to search the healthiest dog food for your Golden Retriever. You enter your search, and some results appear. 85% of clicks will go into the first three results. 1900 people search “healthy dog food” every month, and many of them are potentially buyers for dog food. Out of those first three results, odds are good all three of those results will give you the answer you’re looking for–and maybe even sell you some food for your dog. If you owned an online pet store, how can you get your website into those first three results?
For many companies, the solution is hiring a Search Engine Optimizer.
This field became popular within the last decade since the emergence of Google. Google accounts for 80% of search traffic around the world. This blatantly contradicts my anecdotal evidence which would be more like 99.9% (because I’m pretty saw I caught my elderly relatives using Bing once).
Google uses over 200 factors which plug into a top-secret ranking algorithm they’ll absolutely never share with the public. However, the two proven most significant factors include relevant content and links from other websites. Becoming an SEO doesn’t involve a great deal of technical ability, though you’ll have to learn some technical jargon. Instead, those who possess a natural creative ability to communicate with others will find the greatest success in Search Engine Optimization.
Despite all these terrific career opportunities to work for yourself, it’s like the news is a broken album stuck on the same track: “you need a degree to get a job”. Yet, the same track is repeating the unemployment rates for college graduates. The answer to this is simple: find a career that’s in demand, and isn’t easily attainable for others. No one advising against college. Any of these fields would be greatly supplemented by a degree. Instead, focus on finding a skill that’s in-demand–and become awesome at it.