U.S. veterans and reservists of all military branches and occupational specialties receive mentoring in both hard skills and soft skills, making them ideal candidates for a cybersecurity career.
So, why are military veterans 37% more likely to be underemployed than non-veterans? The unfortunate answer is that the civilian workforce is built on certifications and career training, and not all veterans have a bachelor’s degree.
No matter how much more real-life experience and personal character a veteran might bring to the table, without the right credentials, they may not get a job that puts their extensive training to use.
However, this is also good news for the majority of veterans and military families on a personal level. An estimated 55% of people transitioning to civilian life want to do something totally different than they did while active duty, according to LinkedIn’s recent Veteran Opportunity Report.
The same report found that the three industries hiring U.S. veterans the most are defense and space, utilities, and government administration including the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This is interesting because these are also three of the sectors most in need of cybersecurity expertise today.
Banking and finance, healthcare, and retail are other industries that are having to make rapid changes to meet the now-constant threat of cyberattack. Due to this rising crisis, it’s anticipated 3.5 million jobs will be unfilled as of 2021.
Government agencies and private sector employers need to take steps to support service members. Information technology companies will benefit if they hire our heroes.
Want to help fill the gap? Attend a FREE Intro to Cybersecurity to get started!
Enrolling in a cyber security bootcamp is a great way to use a portion of GI Bill benefits. Our admissions specialist can help check your eligibility for free online training to make it easier for you to make a big career shift into a cybersecurity job.
If you need more reasons to join the cybersecurity workforce, we’ve outlined five ways your military background will be seen as a benefit by potential employers across industries including the Department of Homeland Security.
Why Military Veterans Are Great Cybersecurity Coders
1. You’re used to military-style intensity
Cybersecurity is a high-stakes field with a critical mission—protecting civilians and businesses from cyber attacks. Whether it’s a data breach, ransomware, or another form of systems attack, cybersecurity professionals are on the front lines to protect and minimize threats. Some of the most harmful types of cyber attacks have also become the most common:
- Phishing: A hacker poses as a trusted organization to steal information
- Malware or ransomware: A malicious program infiltrates a device to achieve criminal goals
- Online credential breach: Leaked passwords put users at risk of compromise
Obviously, fighting threats like these means every moment counts and could make the difference between success or failure. Just like government agencies defend national security, network security requires militarization tactics for active, thoughtful, and rapid response.
U.S. veterans of any specialization are a natural fit for this intense environment, and may even be best able at mentoring teams in times of crisis.
2. You’re trained to combat an adversary
Fighting an adversary means being able to think like they do. In combat, this means anticipating the strategy and next steps of an enemy organization.
In cybersecurity jobs, it means doing the same against tens of thousands of hostile organizations. Ethical hackers actively work to ensure the security of their information systems, making sure no outsider can gain access. Symantec reported that in 2019, its sensors blocked 142 million threats per day—and that’s just one cybersecurity company.
In any information security job environment, the knowledge of strategy and mindset of perseverance put you ahead of the curve. Cybersecurity training opportunities will help you achieve the practical skills to support the mental best practices you have already developed.
3. You’re accustomed to teamwork
The science of teams is heavily studied and used to guide best practices among national initiatives including government employees and agencies. Unlike professionals from a different type of background, you know the success of the mission is more important than any one person’s ego. Though it may not always be easy to work on a team in the cybersecurity industry, it’s essential.
This even applies to the prevention of cyber crime and the need for ethical hackers. When one individual is blamed for a data breach, such as the Equifax data breach in 2017, it’s often to cover up that the organization as a whole made mistakes. And, it makes it hard to move forward as a team to do better in the future.
Your military mindset, mentorship, and focus on outcomes, not excuses, will help other civilian employees do better as you lead by example.
4. You’re adaptable
Veterans are used to adapting to new orders, circumstances of living, and colleagues on a regular basis. Cybersecurity is also a field that requires an adaptable work style.
University of Maryland reports that hackers attack every 39 seconds, and no matter where you end up working, your organization could become the next target. That means the long-term project you planned to work on that day might take a back seat, while you’re also expected to pick up right where you left off once the immediate threat is resolved.
Are cybersecurity jobs fun? It’s certainly exciting, and if you like to adapt to new challenges every day, it just might be the field for you.
5. You’re dedicated to service
At its core, cyber security is a profession of service. This industry is dedicated to protecting those at risk and serving the good of the people—a common value of your military service.
How to Get the Best Cybersecurity Training
Just like choosing a branch of the military, the answer depends on the way you want to serve. Some veterans want to help companies achieve cloud security, while others want to focus on email protection, preventing identity theft, or any number of other needs in today’s technical economy.
When it comes to cybersecurity bootcamp and GI Bill considerations, bootcamp qualifications can provide an alternative to VET TEC training providers.
In states like ours, cybersecurity or coding bootcamps provide a valuable alternative for veterans to transition quickly into a well-paying civilian career. As part of the training, students are tested in a federal virtual training environment and graduate with cybersecurity certifications so they can put their experience to work.
If you’re a Hoosier veteran, active National Guard, or an Air Force vet or even a veteran outside of Indiana considering a career transition to cybersecurity jobs, we invite you to sign up to receive free cybersecurity training. Military personnel and military spouses can also contact an admissions specialist to ask questions one-on-one.