NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. — For U.S. Army veteran Laura Evans, the world of computers wasn’t one that she ever pictured herself in.
“I am Latina and my family is from Colombia. I'm a first-generation American,” she said. “No one in my family is a software engineer and no one in my family was in the military. So, I've always kind of felt like I’ve translated my life, throughout my life.”
After 15 years, having reached the rank of Staff Sergeant, Evans decided to try something new.
“I heard about Operation Level Up and it really piqued my interest,” she said.
Operation Level Up is run by Galvanize, a technology education company. They help train service members transitioning out of the military and into the world of high tech.
“One thing I try to do for my students is really highlight for them, like what their military experience has done for them and how to leverage that,” said Galvanize’s Caroline Virani.
Speaking with us at Galvanize’s New York City offices, Virani said the company is doing something else, too. They are specifically focusing on women veterans to get them into high-tech jobs.
“It's definitely a huge, huge need that we see and is part of the work that we're doing,” she said.
In the technology sector, women make up only about 28% of the workforce. In the U.S. military, enlisted men far outnumber women, who only make up about 16% of the Armed Forces.
“Women are underrepresented in the tech industry anyways. Women also are less represented in the military,” Virani said. “So, we're kind of dealing with both of those things at once.”
Both are also things Laura Evans has experienced firsthand.
“To me, it was more building up that confidence as a woman in tech and as a female veteran,” Evans said. “You know, veterans are capable of so many things in so many different industries, in so many different facets, that we can't even imagine.”
She graduated from Operation Level Up and went on to work as a software engineer and is now a program manager.
“I kind of did a very, very sharp right turn into a completely different industry,” Evans said, “and I haven't looked back since and I've been so happy honestly.”
It’s something she hopes other women veterans can experience, too.