Why Cyber Security Is a Great Career Option for Military Veterans
Are you a member of the Armed Forces or a military veteran who’s looking for a meaningful new career after serving your country? If so, you’ll want to explore a fast-growing field where there is urgent demand for many of the skills you’ve developed in the military — cyber security.
For those with military experience, working in the critically important arena of cyber security is an opportunity to continue to serve your country, this time combating the widespread and ever-growing threat of cyber crime. In fact, you could call it a $1 trillion opportunity, because that’s how much corporations and governments are projected to spend on cyber security over the next several years.
“Cyber security is a great way to continue serving our country, just on a different battlefield.”
So says Donald Greene, a 23-year Air Force veteran now working as a cyber security analyst for RBR Technologies. “In this position, I continue my commitment to my country by defending the Department of Defense Information Networks. I love the mission-based aspect of my job.”
“The cyber security industry is undergoing a severe talent shortage, putting our communities, economies and nation at risk. If you have an interest in technology, I encourage you to explore your options,” Greene writes in a Military.com article titled “Careers in Cyber Security: 5 Ways to Get Started.”
Answering the Call: Military Vets Ideal for Cyber Security Mission
When it comes to advocating career opportunities for military veterans, Greene and others are sounding a reveille call. Here, we’ll take a closer look at some of the many factors that make cyber security an extremely promising career option for military service members and veterans.
But first, a quick recap:
- The mission is critical: S. public and private sector organizations are literally under siege. CyberSecurityVentures.com calls cyber crime “one of the biggest challenges that humanity will face in the next two decades” and predicts that it will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021.
- The pay is high: The average salary for “entry level cyber security” positions ranges from approximately $54,083 per year for Entry Level Analyst to $106,396 per year for IT Security Specialist, according to careers website Indeed.com.
- The jobs are plentiful: The talent shortage is real. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of new jobs in cyber security to grow 37% through 2022, and a report from Frost & Sullivan and (ISC)2 found that the global cyber security workforce will have more than 1.5 million unfilled positions by 2020.
For military service members and veterans, a career in cyber security is a chance to do important work and get paid well for your efforts.
Why Employers Seek Military Veterans for Cyber Security Jobs
Having served your country, you know you’ve developed some formidable skills and professional qualities during your time in the military — experiences that will serve you well in the civilian workforce. But what makes vets so attractive to potential employers? Here’s a quick rundown of some of the key attributes that make members of the Armed Services and military veterans sought-after candidates for cyber security jobs:
- Learning agility and problem solving
- Leadership capabilities and experience
- Experience working in high-pressure situations
- Experience working in roles where lives and safety are at stake
- Understands the importance of discipline and process
- Ability to obtain and maintain security clearance
- Mission-driven: accustomed to working with a shared sense of purpose
- High personal drive; motivated by pursuit of excellence
- Loyalty, dedication and teamwork
Top companies as diverse as LinkedIn, Walgreens and Capital One are not only on the lookout for talented veterans, they are actively recruiting for key jobs; some partnering with military advocacy organizations like HirePurpose.
A recent report on such efforts (These 7 Companies With Cybersecurity Jobs Are Seeking Veterans) also cites accounting giant PwC, which operates an in-house cyber security for veterans program that led to the hiring of 250 vets in 2016.
“I think (the veteran talent pool) is still a fairly untapped market,” PwC cyber security partner Tim Stoner told CSOonline.com. “Cyber is super-hot across the board – in financial services, health care, government, public services, commercial products, medical devices – we couldn’t get enough of (this skilled talent offered by veterans).”
Government agencies at the federal, state and local level are also intensifying their efforts to recruit military talent to fight the war on cyber crime. For example, in 2016 the commonwealth of Virginia leveraged industry partnerships to launch a comprehensive Cyber Vets Virginia initiative — now, program participants are graduating into some of the thousands of available state jobs. Other states are getting into the act as well.
Cyber Security Career Resources for Veterans
The National Institute for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) is among the many organizations whose mission is to connect veterans with meaningful employment that leverages skills developed during their service.
Part of the Department of Homeland Security, NICCS offers advice, support, toolkits and free training to veterans interested in launching a career in cyber security. The demand for cyber security experts, it reports, is “growing 12 times faster than the current U.S. job market,” making this field “one of the most highly sought-after careers in the country.”
Conducting your own reconnaissance into cyber security career opportunities reveals no shortage of helpful articles and reports. Here is just a small sampling:
- Starting a Career in Cyber Security: A Guide for Veterans [Comparitech.com]
- Companies Ramp Up Recruiting Veterans as Cybersecurity Urgency Grows [CSOonline.com]
- Boots on the Ground: New Collar Careers Bring Military Veterans to the Cybersecurity Battlefield [SecurityIntelligence.com]
Take Command of Your Career … in Cyber Security
All of this — the high stakes, the sense of mission, the urgent need for military skills and discipline, the crucial talent shortage and the excellent pay being earned by cyber security professionals across the country — adds up to an exciting career path that is definitely worth exploring.
In the words of Donald Greene, the career Air Force vet who reinvented himself as a cyber security analyst: “If you are a transitioning veteran who likes technology, wants to utilize your military skills and desires a career with great growth opportunities and strong six-figure earning potential, you should consider cyber security.”
Of course, the more
For example, top-rated University of San Diego offers two graduate degree programs in this vitally important field — the innovative, 100% online Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership and the on-campus Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering.
Veterans should also be aware of military tuition assistance programs that make investing in your education more affordable, including the G.I. Bill and the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program. Many of the veterans who enroll at University of San Diego, for example, are pleasantly surprised to discover that they qualify for financial assistance that covers much of the cost of tuition. USD takes great pride in supporting military veterans who decide to advance their education and in connecting you with information about your available benefits.