During a SAS Hackathon, Zencos set out to help veterans reintegrate into a rapidly changing job market and discover potential career paths.

Read more stories from this series about successful SAS Hackathon teams

Life after the military can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding meaningful employment that utilizes a returning service member’s unique knowledge and skills. Veterans must navigate the discovery of civilian careers that are appealing to them on top of the pressures added by a constantly changing job market.

According to the Washington Post, job openings in industries such as restaurants, hotels and retail are at or near record highs. And some sectors, particularly retail and health care, have barely been able to hire enough people to balance out the number of workers leaving their jobs.

Zencos joined the SAS Hackathon and, in a partnership with the National Institute for Innovation and Technology (NIIT), developed a workforce analytics system intended to support the integration and reintegration of former military members and to advance their capabilities by guiding job seekers to new career-advancing opportunities.

Using SAS® Visual Analytics and SAS® Viya® on Microsoft Azure, Zencos’ AI and analytics-powered jobs portal for veterans helps them build a successful career post-military.

“We are hopeful that this will make a positive change in the lives of our service members.”
 Chris St. Jeor, Senior Consultant, Zencos

Making career moves possible with analytics

The team developed a model that augments O-Net, a popular web app for service members to conduct a job search-oriented toward civilian careers. Using Python, the team performed text mining and topic clustering to align the 900+ job descriptions in O-Net to the Military Occupation Codes that define service member jobs.

The team then created a user interface in SAS Viya that will allow service members to quickly explore opportunities that align with their specific skills and interests, helping them make informed decisions about the next step in their career path.

See how they built an interactive experience for viewing potential career paths:

Zencos developed a homepage that's more visually appealing and easy to navigate than a crowded results page. The network analysis view visualizes the alignment of a military job to civilian job opportunities when veterans select the role they held in the military.

Users can explore career clusters, which categorize hundreds of jobs on O-Net into broader topic areas and provide information like mean annual wage and level of education required for different job sectors. Veterans who are interested in exploring opportunities can explore every sector in greater depth.

Veterans searching for a civilian job can see opportunities that may be closely aligned with their military service or explore an entirely new direction.

The Zencos Hackathon team’s use of SAS Visual Analytics on SAS Viya helps give veterans a path to civilian employment that lets them put their interests at the center of their career journey. By making the user interface highly visual and rooted in the Military Occupation Code, the Zencos team created an application that will make a real difference in the lives of returning service members.

Learn more about the success of SAS Hackathon teams and keep up with our 2022 Hackathon!


About Author

Briana Ullman

Sr Associate Product Marketing Specialist

Briana Ullman is a Sr Associate Product Marketing Specialist at SAS with a focus on visualization and chatbots. Having spent time in Product Management and Go-To-Market previously as a SAS Marketing Associate, her experience helps to bridge the divide between audiences of any background, whether they’re analytics pros or newcomers. Briana is an alum of North Carolina State University. Outside of work, you can find Briana listening to an almost-alarming number of podcasts and daydreaming about her next hike.


  1. Interested in learning more about O-Net and the Zencos homepage. Where can I find more info?

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