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Air Force veteran finds a renewed sense of purpose at Oracle

"Helping the government move to the cloud has given me as much job satisfaction as I've ever had." -Jo S., Principal Technical Program Manager, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Meet Jo. A Principal Technical Program Manager, she works for the Oracle National Security Regions—a unique division of our Oracle Cloud Infrastructure team for which you need a US Government Top Secret SCI or higher clearance. 

Sounds intriguing, right? It is. Jo’s team is building a new class of cloud for the mission-critical systems that protect America. It’s what gives Jo her sense of purpose—something she wasn’t sure she would find again when she left the Air Force. 

What made her want to get into this line of work? “I like problem-solving and working fast under pressure,” she begins. “But when I first started looking into program management, it wasn’t immediately obvious that I would get the same job satisfaction that I had while serving in the Air Force,” she admits.

“There isn’t a career tool that connects the dots between being a B52 Weapon System Officer and being a cloud computing program manager. But as it turns out, helping the government protect their information and move to the cloud has given me as much purpose and job satisfaction as I’ve ever had.“

Jo says her boss Melissa was a big part of the reason she joined Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “She spent a lot of time talking to me about the team I’d be joining and the culture at Oracle. The team values she spoke about struck a chord, especially the ones ‘act now and iterate’ and ‘don’t be a jerk,’ she recalls. “I believe Oracle is doing a lot of things right and I want to be a part of what comes next.”

So what does a program manager on the Oracle National Security Regions team do? “I’m focused on the disconnected government clouds. This includes building a comprehensive training program for site reliability engineers who provide tier 3 support, as well as ensuring the tools they need to provide a scalable cloud for our government partners are available and working,” she explains. “Distilling the work into just a few words: My job is to see and solve problems before they impact the customer or the business.”

Jo believes the skills she gained in the Air Force are put to great use in her current role. “My time in the Air Force taught me how to solve important problems, and it gave me the technical training I needed to become a skilled systems engineer,” she continues. “The critical thinking skills I learned while operating as a bomber navigator and weapons system officer have been very valuable in understanding cloud computing.”

Jo says that correcting problems on the fly in navigation and weapons systems is not dissimilar from the kinds of problems that have to be solved in cloud computing. “I also got a lot of experience planning work and assigning resources when I was an executive officer for an operations support squadron. The key is prioritization and making sure the criteria for success are as clearly defined as the requirements.”

When it comes to achieving success in her role, Jo says having a good team around her makes all the difference. “Everyone is working towards the same goal and supports each other. When I was thinking about leaving my last job for this opportunity with Oracle, my now boss commented that there were no “knuckle heads” on her team,” Jo remembers. “It turns out she wasn’t fibbing! Everyone on my team is super sharp and adds a lot of value to any given scenario.”

Talent isn’t the only thing that Jo loves about her team. She appreciates them on a personal level too. “Everyone cares about doing the right thing and having good work ethics,” she reveals. “Because of COVID-19 we’ve been working from home 100% of the time, but everyone has made an effort to stay connected, and not just for work reasons. We take the time to care for each other’s mental well-being too.”

Have you got a Top Secret SCI or higher clearance from the US Government? Explore the range of career opportunities on the Oracle National Security Regions team. We’re hiring!

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