Josey Coles shares what skills translated from the military to the corporate world and her tips for other veterans


Josey Coles, Sr. Manager, Education Services at Elastic®, joined the US military in 2016 as a cyber operations specialist. As a math major, cybersecurity wasn’t her background or on her list of interests but the Army gave her a lot of experience, she says.

As a cyber operations specialist, Josey was part of the Cyber Protection Brigade. She responded to incidents and was required to be onsite within 48 hours of the call. Onsite, her team would listen to network traffic, determine if the line was compromised, and put a risk mitigation plan in place to prevent future intrusions. 

After four years, and a promotion to senior network analyst, Josey transitioned out of the military for medical reasons. 

“The most challenging part was the uncertainty,” she says. “The military has a way of taking care of everything. It becomes daunting to become a ‘real’ person — to do a resume, choose benefit plans, and things like that.”

Her timeline for leaving was also unknown, adding another layer of uncertainty, especially because many of the positions she was applying for had stipulations about timing and security clearance. 

But, Josey landed a job doing the same thing she did in the military, just in a different outfit. Then, in November 2021 she joined Elastic. 

“I heard about the company because I used it in the military,” she says. “We leveraged it heavily on defensive security missions so I used platforms for years.”

Now, she manages Elastic Security training, which includes the content, instructors, and curriculum developers. 

“I encourage the team to showcase Elastic in a great way for a security use case to enable customers in a way that turns them into champions for our technology,” Josey says. 

Upon starting at Elastic, Josey joined the Mil-asticians ERG which helped her connect with others from a personal perspective, but also on a business level.

“Our main customer base is Federal customers, so being aligned on what’s going on in the public sector helps us understand what they need and what we should lean into,” she says. 

The biggest skill that transitioned from her military career to civilian career was how to navigate difficult conversations, she says. 

“I lead a team that is really a melting pot,” Josey says. “In the military, you don’t get a say in your team and everyone has diverse backgrounds so you learn how to get points across clearly and communicate well.”

Her advice for veterans transitioning into civilian life?

“Know that it’s a whole new world,” Josey says. “The military is its own world, acronyms and languages and certain things that are acceptable in a military environment aren’t in a corporate one. It’s been a shift in how I communicate.”

And, she advises people to keep track of everything you’ve done in the military.

“Keeping track of everything I did in the military, all of the trainings, helped me so much when resume building and applying to jobs,” Josey says. 

Looking for a job that supports veterans? Browse open roles at Elastic. 

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