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From the military to civilian work-life: Dimitri Hammerer narrates his story

26 Sep 2022

My transition from the military to civilian life started by the end of 2019. The French MoD had accepted my resignation from active duty in the armed forces after 22 years of service. And I was free to look outside for a new job. The immediate need for me was to build up my strengths in areas best suited for a civilian career, but since I was already an experienced naval combat expert, I decided to hone my expertise in relevant fields.

Year 2020: Finding my feet outside the armed forces

Using the time I had in hand, I worked on my existing engineering expertise in submarine combat systems and maintenance. Of course, my strong functional experience in the French submarine force headquarters helped a lot. Also, I had to deepen my knowledge of the French MoD acquisition process and identify companies that would be potentially interested in a profile like mine. Since I was geographically tied to Brest (Britanny), where my wife works, I reactivated my professional network to showcase my capabilities and looked around for companies recruiting in and around Brest.

As you may guess: I hadn’t considered working for Capgemini at this point. Who would have thought that a software and IT giant like Capgemini could have a global employee base made of veterans and ex-military folks like me?

Year 2021: Resigning from the Navy and applying for jobs

I applied to two major companies in my area of search: Naval Group and Thales, also extending my application to their subcontractors. But I faced challenges right away. The merger between Fincantieri and the Naval Group meant a freeze in the recruitment process until the end of summer with no visibility thereafter. Also, Thales was mostly recruiting junior profiles, and HR wasn’t really hooked on my resume so far.

Year 2022: Finding common ground at Capgemini

My life in the armed forces had taught me resilience. So instead of giving up, I started looking into sectors where my experience, mostly in functional specification and project management, would be relevant. That’s when I got in touch with Capgemini.

When I found an offer on LinkedIn for a project manager’s job at Capgemini I had my doubts. I had an impression that careers in digital services companies were for young engineers. But, I wanted to give it a shot anyway – I started looking for my former colleagues working in Capgemini. I found both where really enthusiastic about Capgemini’s work atmosphere, career opportunities, learning and development plans.

Recruitment process at Capgemini

All my previous fears disappeared right at the hiring stage. The talent acquisition manager was a woman enthusiastic about Capgemini. The HR director also described Capgemini as a people-centered company both in terms of work-life balance and carrier opportunities. My manager had this vision of what I could bring to the company and described my role as a business analyst that perfectly suited both my aspirations and capacities. Finally, although a part of my capabilities were useless in Capgemini, I was offered the best pay package possible.

My first 9 months at Capgemini… and my next 20 years!

I will never forget the day when Anthony, my manager called to offer me the position and me rushing to share the news with my wife. Anthony also advised to make the best of my last three months in the navy to learn and prepare for my new role. When I joined Capgemini on January 3, 2022, he took me under his wing to explain the complex organization structure and introduced me to my peers in the company.

My goals in Capgemini were two-fold:

  • extend my company network to gain visibility in my field of competence: business analysis, DoD knowledge and digital maintenance
  • develop my IT skills to become the trusted business analyst practitioner – hence the certification that I worked so hard for

If you are an ex-military, and thinking of joining the civil workforce, Capgemini is THE place to be!

I met incredibly skilled people who shared their knowledge with me, specially thinking about Cyrille and Jean-Marie. I learned a lot of new stuff: BA technics, business development, management and many tools such as JIRA, Squash, Mural, BPMN. I have worked on a wide variety of projects and even cybersecurity already:

  • framing of an HR software ;
  • ideation session with Air Forces ;
  • pre-sales of an Aviation software and a maintenance software ;
  • Software development for Rail maintenance.

I have started to share my knowledge with newcomers. The different communities within Capgemini across geographies are huge opportunities to meet new people. The variety of digital projects is the assurance of never getting bored at work. And lastly, the team spirit I found here is just like the one I loved in the navy.

After 22 years spent in the navy…will the next 22 be spent at Capgemini?

Only time will tell, but the company has all the assets for the long haul…and I hope I have them too!

Dimitri Hammerer

Digital Maintenance & Defence sector