The Navy veteran and Oracle employee shares how she successfully navigated her transition.

Katherine Earls

Service: U.S. Navy, 8 years
Education: Excelsior College, Class of 2018
Major: BS, Electrical Engineering Technology
FourBlock Cohort: Austin, Fall 2018 (and Olympic Peninsula, Summer 2018)
Current Company: Oracle
Position: Proposal Manager
Hobbies: Traveling, Snowboarding, Hiking, Arts & Crafts.

Katie Earls is an eight-year U.S. Navy veteran and graduate of FourBlock’s Career Readiness Program in Austin, TX.

We spoke with Katie to discuss her transition, including how she was able to translate her Navy electrician experience into a career at the world’s third largest software companies.


What struggles did you face during your transition from active duty back into civilian life?

During my last year as an active duty Sailor, I knew I needed to figure out what path I wanted to take. I had no idea what opportunities existed outside the Navy and more importantly, I did not know if I could ever qualify for any roles that I was interested in. Some of the struggles/barriers I faced included not being able to translate work I did as an electrician to be marketable for any role in the tech industry.

What drove you to take the FourBlock program?

When I enrolled in FourBlock, I did not know what to expect. I only knew two things for certain, the first was I did not want to be an electrician and the second was I wanted to work in the tech industry. I did not know how I would make it happen; I just knew I needed help getting there. When I heard about FourBlock, I was excited to not only expand my network but get the chance to talk to these great instructors/mentors that could provide personal experience and amazing advice that helped me get ready for my next career step.

How did the program impact your transition?

The program made me think about all my concerns/struggles. The weekly assignments made me think about what was really important to me. The FourBlock program made sure I understood I had options and that I did not have to settle for just any job. That I needed to ask these important questions and do my research for each company and each role I was looking at. The program gave me the confidence to interview and get my resume ready for the civilian sector.

What were your key takeaways from the course?

My key takeaway which has helped me and keeps helping me as I grow and expand my career is the power of networking. The power of informational interviews, and more importantly, understanding how my skills from the Navy are translated into skills I can market in the tech industry for roles I am in and am interested in learning more about.

What do you love about your current company?

I work at Oracle and what I love is the upper management and their concern and dedication to all of us. They are always making sure we are doing well and are happy with our roles.

What is it you like most about FourBlock’s approach and/or its Career Readiness Program?

I love the approach that FourBlock takes of having different companies host each class. This is such an incredible way for veterans to see the different companies and cultures that exist in the civilian sector. More importantly, FourBlock gives veterans an opportunity to speak to all these incredible and successful individuals at different companies and getting the chance to pick their brains or ask them for feedback/advice.

What can veterans in your region expect from this program?

In Austin (and our other Texas programs), veterans can expect different companies each week. Our region has great resources and connections throughout our regional network, let alone our national network. Our regional director Queta Rodriguez and I are always happy to talk to veterans and give them advice, in addition to connecting them to people in the industry or roles they are interested in.

What one piece of key advice would you give to veterans who are currently transitioning?

If you aren’t networking and reaching out/talking to people, start now. It is never too early or late to start networking. If you are lost/have questions and doubts, we have such an incredible community of instructors as well as incredible alumni at FourBlock who are always willing to talk and help where they can. As long as you are willing to do the leg work and put in the effort to do the work it takes to network and build the relationships, you will be amazed at the opportunities and doors that open up.


To learn more about our Career Readiness Program, visit: fourblock.org/apply

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