As we look forward to the 10th anniversary of the V.E.T.S.TM Program, Sharp Decisions is highlighting some of the first graduates who led the way in bringing the program to where it is today. In this Veteran Spotlight, allow us to introduce David Tejada, who has been in the United States Army for nearly 20 years. David is now a Senior QA Analyst at a major financial services company.
Let’s learn more about David…
David enlisted in the United States Army in August 2001 while he was still in high school. Coming from a long line of service members in the family, David said that this was just one reason he was inspired to enlist. He also saw the Army as an opportunity that could change his life and his surroundings, so he joined to find his own path forward in life.
After David returned from his deployment in Afghanistan, he was struggling to find work due to high unemployment rates – especially among veterans returning home. He said, “As long as someone was giving me the ample opportunity, my goal was to make the best of it.” He found Sharp Decisions’ V.E.T.S.TM Program, applied, and joined the first class of veterans in 2013.
The first V.E.T.S.TM class was trained in pragmatic software testing that allowed them to learn proper quality assurance processes as well as other software-testing based knowledge. In addition to software-based skills, David and his peers learned about corporate workplace etiquette to be set up for success in their platoon deployments as well as throughout their civilian careers – one of the main goals of the V.E.T.S.TM Program.
If it wasn’t for Sharp, I don’t think I would be where I am in my life today. I’m working within a career field that I never even knew existed, and working with people from an international capacity, supporting members all over the world, working in a financial industry, which I happen to love, which I never knew I would have. It definitely opened up not just a doorway, but a complete path that I never knew existed.
Reflecting on his time working with other vets in the V.E.T.S.TM Program, David said “As a person that’s the only member of the military in a company, you deal with a lot of odd questions, and things that are very uncomfortable. When you’re with other people that served, you don’t need to go through those awkward situations, or those discussions. You feel comfortable that if you don’t know something, you can go to them, versus the fear sometimes that happens of being judged for not knowing something.” Providing a support system for veterans within a company helped David and other V.E.T.S.TM Program graduates thrive.
Even though his engagement with the V.E.T.S.TM Program has finished, David still provides support to Sharp Decisions where he can because of his attachment to the program. “It’s still close to my heart,” he says of the V.E.T.S.TM Program.
David is still currently serving in the Army Reserve as a Sergeant First Class.