Former Royal Marine anti-tank specialist’s journey to Cloud Engineer

Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 by Faye CoppNo comments

Ross Brook served for 11-years in the Royal Marines, beginning his military career as a Signaller, then as a Anti-tank specialist. He left in June 2020 and is now making his mark at Zaizi as a junior cloud engineer. We hear from Ross about his military transition, his route into cloud engineering and he offers his words of wisdom to other ex-military personnel looking to go down the same career path.


Earning the coveted green beret for Ross was one of his greatest career accomplishments - as well as serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. His decision to leave was down to wanting to prioritise other things in his life - and he admits he didn’t really prepare until he put his notice in.
Ross said: “The day I put my notice in I didn't really have any idea what I wanted to do. I gave myself two months to ID a job or sector I wanted to work in through research and networking. I attended some career fairs early on to gain some info on what would and could be a good fit for me. I liked the idea of working in tech, it was something different, the market and pay I knew were growing.” 

Ross’ first job was during the first covid period, where he worked as an IT Support Technician for four months. Ross said this wasn’t the role he wanted but, due to covid, ‘jobs were few and far between’. He added: “The last three months of my resettlement had moved to damage limitation. I simply needed a job.”


After moving to Zaizi from his first job, Ross found himself working closely with software developers and cloud engineers: “I liked the work the cloud engineers were doing. It seemed to have everything I wanted - they wrote code, exposed to numerous different technologies, security focused as they develop, patch or build infrastructure.” During his first year at Zaizi, he progressed from an associate cloud engineer to a junior cloud engineer. He added: “When I first got the role it was incredibly hard, but over the first few weeks and overcoming a bit of imposter syndrome I found my feet. Now I couldn’t be happier, yes the work is hard and I enjoy that side of it.”

As a junior cloud engineer, Ross works across multiple projects in devops/cloud engineering - both internal and customer facing. He writes and builds cloud based infrastructure using IAC (infrastructure as code). And how has his military skills and experience helped him in this challenging role? Ross said: “My military career and civilian career in terms of practical skills is night and day. Nothing really could be used from one to the other. However, the intangible skills made a huge impact on my life since leaving. My work ethic, ability to get things done without any drama, being 100% reliable etc. These have allowed me to stand out in teams and progress my career.”

And why is Zaizi a great place to work for veterans?

“Zaizi right from the start has been a great place to work, from the recruitment stage all the way to now. They do understand the skills that veterans can bring to the table to help a business grow. They have given me so much space to learn and grow and were a major part in my being able to move to cloud engineering.”


Ross has AWS Cloud Practitioner, Network+, Security+ certifications and although he says these are important to being able to perform tasks and write code - he advised ‘not to run before you can walk’ and getting a good base level of knowledge in things such as networking, docker and linux is just as important. 

Once you have the base level knowledge, he said AWS Cloud practitioner is a good entry point certification for the cloud: “Learning basic python, terraform and scripting will be a good investment in time over the first few years. As these are complex skills that cannot be learned over a course or a few days.

And finally, why do you think ex-military personnel are well-suited to cloud engineering?

Ross said: “I don’t think there is anywhere veterans would not do well. The intangible - i.e. soft - skills we possess are welcome at most organisations.”

If you are looking to find out more about getting into the world of cybersecurity or IT, we have some fantastic resources and guides available to you here. You can also begin your cyber security career journey through our free training pathways - sign up today!

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