Coding for Veterans offers second career after military

Current and retired armed forces members could go shopping for bread and for a new career at the Canex store in Petawawa Wednesday.

The Coding for Veterans caravan has set up on base at CFB Petawawa for two days, offering a second career path for veterans in the cyber security space after a life in the military.

"People need a purpose when they transition and leave the forces," says Pat Shaw, director of academic partnerships at Coding for Veterans. "They will find that sense of purpose in the continued protection of Canadians data and information."

The course, in partnership with the University of Ottawa, teaches secure software development, network security, and cyber architecture. Shaw says they are jobs that can be done remotely, with anywhere from 150,000 to 250,000 current openings for IT jobs across Canada.

"We're trying to assist those veterans to train up or up-skill to be able to do those software development and cyber security jobs," says Shaw.

After working for the armed forces for 35 years and recently retiring at the age of 53, current Coding for Veterans student Elena Vazquez tells CTV News Ottawa that her pursuit of a new career is a natural fit for her.

"I'm a fixer, so when at work or at home there are issues with my computer, I like to be the one trying to fix it," says the young retiree. "I find that super interesting, honestly, I love it."

Vazquez retired as a Human Resources manager, but said she still wants to serve that sense of security and protection that she developed after a career with the Canadian Armed Forces.

"If I can find a job in that field to help defend any cyber attacks that we get, that would be great," says Vazquez, who adds she only has six months left of learning on her course.

An information booth for Coding for Veterans will be set up at 14 Ypres Blvd. in Petawawa again on Thursday, Oct. 21.