When talking with technical hiring managers, they belong to one of two camps. They either believe what they do is very specialized and that prospective employees need industry-specific experience. Or, they know they can teach the right person, someone with a good technical base, their specific equipment/service.
The latter group understands the value of “transferable skills” when hiring technical talent – they bridge the industry skill gap with military experience. This strategy is detailed very well in the G. I. Jobs article, “Tracking Technicians” (featuring three Bradley-Morris, Inc. placements).
When I was learning to sail, I experienced a similar bias. Some skippers focus on sailing’s difficulties while others described it as easy. Learning to sail is not “rocket science” but getting really good at it can consume a lifetime. Somewhere in between, you can build a great race crew and win races.
Technical skills are like riding a bike. Once learned, they are ingrained. It may take a little investment of time to teach someone to master a different bike, but not much.