Could Veterans Help Solve the Tech Talent Shortage?

Two local veterans share their experience transitioning to tech careers post service.
Written by Eva Roethler
November 11, 2021Updated: November 11, 2021

These former service members are on a new mission. A company mission, that is. 

From their time in service, veterans often develop a number of universally beneficial soft skills including teamwork, decision-making, leadership, attention to detail, clear communication and resilience. With these skills, former service members can make great additions to the tech workforce, which is notoriously experiencing a talent shortage. 

In fact, Google recently announced it would invest $20 million in tech reskilling for the military community in an effort to help the 80 percent of service members who leave active duty without a career plan. While the tech community tries to navigate through this talent shortage, connecting veterans in need of post-military careers with tech companies may help solve two problems at once. 

Agile Delivery Lead Eric Mireles has seen this firsthand. When Mireles grew interested in the tech industry after his service, he noticed that he had developed a lot of transferable skills from his time as a Navy project manager that would be beneficial to his career. Now he puts those skills to good use at Capital One.

“I quickly discovered that tech companies need project managers and facilitators to lead their software development teams,” he said. “In turn, these jobs give military leaders and project managers like myself a brand new audience and another mission worth standing behind.”

Built In Boston put boots on the ground to learn more about local veterans who have successfully pivoted to tech.


Eric Mireles
Agile Delivery Lead

Capital One is a banking and financial services company. 


Describe your military service, and what you are doing now. 

I was a Navy logistics specialist, project manager and shipbuilder serving in the Atlantic, Europe and Middle East. Currently, I am the primary agile delivery lead and release train engineer responsible for all delivery efforts for a machine learning and a data science team within our tech automation and optimization organization. 

Shortly after joining Capital One, I assisted in the creation of two teams that were responsible for building out a brand new and unique product for the enterprise. This new product utilizes machine learning to track down anomalous activity and abnormal transactions within Capital One's vast enterprise architecture. This product was the first of its kind and helps development and site reliability engineering teams to reduce and resolve customer-facing outages that can impact our overall customer experience and Capital One’s reputation.


What aspects of your military service have helped you build a career in tech, and what are some new skills youve developed since you left the service?

In the military, I learned skills such as prioritization, communication, collaboration and attention to detail. During my time as a senior logistician and Navy shipbuilder, I was assigned to lead many high-profile projects that required me to keep detailed timelines and remain focused on maintaining key relationships in order to get the job done. When building out our software and data science teams, I relied heavily on these skills to ensure the team met critical deadlines and scaled appropriately. Not only was I required to prioritize my own tasks, but also to prioritize joint deliverables across the teams. 

Much like in the military, everyone at Capital One comes together to meet a common goal. As an agile delivery lead and facilitator, it is my responsibility to ensure key players and executors are working together. The communication skills I learned in the Navy help me to ensure all players are on the same page and understand their responsibilities in getting us to our end goal. I love this aspect of my company culture and my newly acquired mission after my time in uniform.

Admitting you need help in the service was not widely accepted during my time in uniform. Now,  I’ve learned to be humble and ask for help. At Capital One, I have learned many new things within my two years by simply reaching out and asking for help. Capital One’s culture of learning and support is unmatched. By admitting I need assistance and additional training, I’ve been able to better contribute to my team, and achieve some really great milestones with our product. 

What advice would you give to fellow veterans who are looking to build a career in the tech sector?

I say go for it! It’s never too late to get into a new field that is high in demand. Tech has made its way into every major industry out there. Nowadays, every company has some sort of tech component, allowing companies to create an advantage over their competitors. 

When I left the service, I was intrigued by the idea of working in a growing field and completely changing course from my original military career.”


I am extremely proud of my time in uniform, as well as my contributions to building products that help our customers and tech as a whole. I am continually amazed by the accomplishments of my teams and I am continually marveled by the forward-thinking mentality of Capital One. The entire company is great at rallying together to deliver the best and brightest products to our customers. It’s easy to see that at Capital One, our customers are always the driving force behind everything we do. 



Blair Merlino
Chief Operating Officer

Cogo Labs is a startup incubator. 


Describe your military service, and what you are doing now. 

Since leaving the Army, I’ve learned formal business strategies, organizational structures, and some hard skills around analytics and data manipulation tools. 

The most important thing that I have learned is not to act like you are owed anything. What has always mattered in the military still matters in the civilian world; focus on impact and outcomes. Do not expect to be handed a career. Do not look for accolades just for trying hard. Decide what it is you want out of your life and pursue it. Avoid the trap of taking the first defense industry or contract job you are offered, unless it is critical to what you are trying to achieve long term.

What aspects of your military service have helped you build a career in tech, and what are some new skills youve developed since you left the service?

My time in the Army, particularly the time I was deployed, taught me to focus on what is important and shed the rest.

This drove home the importance of planning; not so much because we thought we could predict anything that might go wrong during a mission (it is often said, “no plan survives first contact with the enemy”) but because planning ensured we would not be distracted by missions that didn’t serve our goal, and would make sure that we put our lives on the line for truly important reasons that had the best chance of success.

In the business world, the stakes are different: if I don’t stay focused, no one’s physical safety is put at risk. When lives aren’t factored into the equation, it makes it much easier to become distracted by the vast number of optimizations and improvements that seem so ripe for the taking. Learning to focus with such high stakes has been invaluable to accelerating my career and informing my leadership at Cogo.

Focus on what is important and shed the rest.”



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