More than 15 million military veterans will be honored on November 11. I am one of them. And so are many of my colleagues. About 37% of data center operations employees at CoreSite are veterans.
Before getting into the gist of this post, I’ll relay CoreSite’s appreciation for the entire veteran community, for what they’ve done and are doing. Details aside, it’s a precarious, unsettled world. Our thoughts and gratitude are with all active duty, first responders and veterans, as well as their families and friends.
As a young man living in Montana who wanted to see more of the world, joining the U.S. Navy seemed to be a good decision. Looking back now, as Senior Vice President, Data Center Operations, I’d say it certainly was. I credit my years in the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program as a large influence on my career path and am writing this as a way to show those who have served or are currently serving – and really anyone who wants to be involved in an industry that makes a difference – what great opportunities exist in data centers.
What is it about veterans that make them good candidates for data center operations? There are both tangible and intangible aspects to the answer, I think. Studying nuclear power and power generation, combined with hands-on operations and maintenance of systems enabling it, directly translated to my first data center role. The intangible aspects are being trained on the importance of attention to detail, teamwork, discipline and following procedure – that happened in boot camp and throughout my tour.
To be honest, prior to that job I had no idea what data centers were or why they mattered. So, if you happened to come across this blog as part of hunting for a career and also don’t know about data centers, get in touch. I would be happy to explain to you what data centers are all about.
I would also tell you why I was excited on my first day on the job, shadowing a data center commissioning agent. It was then I realized that I was helping to enable the internet, a technology that only about 65% of Americans were accessing at the time but was already proving to have massive impact on business and life in general.1 That was in 2007. As we all know now, the internet has revolutionized every form of business and affects quality of life globally.
Even after almost two decades, I’m still inspired. The latest technologies, and not just artificial intelligence but also blockchain, augmented and virtual reality and the internet of things (to name only a few), are all dependent on data centers and the operations professionals that keep them running 24x7x365. So are hospitals, schools, researchers, utilities and, of course, the military.
Looking for a career that matters? Look no further. But do keep reading.
In my Navy Nuclear Power Program training, I was tasked with learning all about nuclear power and its application on ships and submarines, then tested to display the knowledge I had acquired, first through written exams and then to an oral review board that posed operational scenarios and evaluated my responses.
When I first started at CoreSite, there wasn’t a formally defined training program. I was applying what I learned in the Navy to backup power generators, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) batteries and other mechanical systems and alarms in the data center. The company was growing. It was clear that we needed more data center ops people to keep pace with the industry and also that not everyone would be able to come to the job with the depth of skills that I had cultivated in the military – but many people have the aptitude and drive to learn them. That’s what inspired us to develop a training program that, as far as I know, is unique to the industry.
We have built and continue to evolve a guide that teaches you all about data center operations and gets increasingly more detailed relative to higher levels of responsibility. At each level, you are tested in written and oral exams. A big plus is that you can be working in a CoreSite data center and training at the same time.
There’s a defined career path. Data center technicians can work their way up from an entry-level to Data Center Technician II position, and to III, IV and Manager roles. Obviously, there’s opportunities for moving up even more. I’m a good example of that, and we have many people in the company in executive positions who started out in operations or even on the security team, and over time moved into other areas of the company such as sales engineering, general management and construction engineering.
The point is that if you are someone who thrives in mission-critical situations, embraces teamwork and has a desire to be a leader, it would be to your advantage to explore a career in data centers. For more information on our available positions, check us out at www.coresite.com/about/careers
Veterans Day is celebrated in the 11th month, on the 11th day, each year. It’s great to raise awareness annually. In a way, CoreSite celebrates veterans every day, and we intend to keep doing that for many years to come.
Please join us.
1. Percentage of population using the internet in the United States from 2000 to 2023, Statistica (source)
SVP, Data Center Operations
Anthony Hatzenbuehler, SVP of Data Center Operations, is responsible for onsite data center operations activities, client services and the Operations Support Center (OSC).Read more from this author