Hackers and data miners are becoming more sophisticated, resulting in a growing threat of cyberattacks on private, corporate, and government data. While some work for individuals and organizations that want to cause harm, others work freelance and sell sensitive data like financial records on the dark web for a profit.
A global analyst firm predicts that by 2025, 45% of global firms will face some kind of cyberattack to disrupt supply chains. The cost of damages due to cybercrime could grow from $8 trillion in 2023 to $10.5 trillion in 2025.
This is where cybersecurity professionals come to the rescue of businesses and government organizations seeking to secure systems. Cybersecurity businesses worldwide employ highly skilled professionals who build cutting-edge software for retail users. Businesses and government agencies have higher stakes and employ white hat hackers.
Military veterans have the right technical, interpersonal, and life skills to fit the role of cybersecurity professionals. The armed forces use some of the most advanced technologies, equipment, and systems. A career in the armed forces also instills qualities like discipline, focus, dedication, and team orientation.
The private sector can benefit from the transferable skills of veterans who have worked in digital information networks, IT, cryptography, communication systems, digital tracking, and information security. Veterans with the necessary training and certifications are in high demand after serving their tenure in the armed forces.
This career guide will explain the benefits of cybersecurity as a career for veterans, steps to get started, training courses, and ways to enter the job market.
Benefits of a Cybersecurity Career for Veterans and Military Personnel
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be a 35% growth in the number of jobs between 2021 and 2031. Military veterans are at the forefront of landing these jobs due to these reasons:
- Transferable skills – Military service provides veterans and military personnel with transferable skills highly valued in the cybersecurity industry. Veterans, especially those working in military technology, must constantly protect data and systems from cyber attacks within and outside the country.
These skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, attention to detail, teamwork, leadership, and communication. Cybersecurity professionals must be able to analyze complex information and work collaboratively to develop effective solutions. Military service often hones these skills, making veterans and military personnel well-suited for a career in cybersecurity.
Military personnel protect the systems from disruption from some of the most sophisticated black hat hackers globally. Such skills reduce the entry barrier into the private sector.
- High demand for cybersecurity professionals – The need for cybersecurity professionals has skyrocketed in recent years, and it is expected to continue to grow as organizations increasingly rely on technology to conduct their business. The threat of cyber-attacks has become more pronounced, and companies are investing heavily in cybersecurity to protect their assets and sensitive information. This demand means that veterans and military personnel have excellent job prospects in the cybersecurity industry.
- GI-Bill pays for your education – Veterans and military personnel may be eligible for additional compensation through their military services, such as GI Bill benefits or tuition assistance. These funding options help military veterans pursue an alternative career path after active service.
- Competitive salaries – The demand for cybersecurity professionals has led to competitive salaries in the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the median wage for information security professionals was $102,600 per year ($49.33 per hour) in 2021. The comfortable corporate work environment in IT, consulting, investment, and financial institutions go hand-in-hand with a handsome salary.
Navigating Your Way into a Cybersecurity Career: A Guide for Veterans
Cybersecurity is a lucrative career path for veterans which will use your existing skills and experience and provide a launch pad in the private sector. Whether you’re a recent veteran or have been out of the military for some time, this guide will help you understand the skills you can transfer from military service, the demand for cybersecurity professionals, and the steps you can take to start your cybersecurity career.
Assessment of Skills and Interests
Veterans and military personnel possess unique skills that can be transferred to a career in cybersecurity. Assessing these skills and interests is essential in forging a successful cybersecurity career.
- Technical Skills: Veterans and military personnel may already have specialized skills that are relevant to cybersecurity. These skills include familiarity with computer systems, programming languages, and network operations. Military service often requires training in technical fields, and veterans may have experience operating and maintaining technical equipment. This knowledge can be invaluable in a cybersecurity career.
- Soft Skills: Soft skills are also important in a cybersecurity career. These skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, leadership, and teamwork. Military service often hones these skills, making veterans and military personnel well-suited for a career in cybersecurity.
- Interests: Interests can also be an essential factor in choosing a career in cybersecurity. Veterans and military personnel with a passion for technology and an interest in cybersecurity may find a career in this field fulfilling and enjoyable.
Researching available careers
Networking and reaching out to professionals in the field can provide valuable information and insight into the cybersecurity industry. Veterans can join local organizations and associations on cybersecurity to learn from and network with other professionals. The career options in cybersecurity are:
- Cybersecurity analyst
- Cybercrime analyst
- Risk analyst
- IT auditor
- Incident response analyst
- White hat hacker (Ethical hacking)
- Cybersecurity engineer
- Cybersecurity manager
- Network security analyst
You can visit the U.S. cyber career website, explore job listing websites, or connect directly with potential employers for job opportunities.
Get the Relevant Education
Once individuals have assessed their skills and interests, they can begin to research and explore the various paths available in cybersecurity. Veterans and military personnel may pursue CompTIA Security+ or Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certifications. They can also consider degree programs in cybersecurity, information technology, or computer science.
Cybersecurity Training Options
While a bachelor’s degree in computer science is necessary to enter the field of cybersecurity, military veterans may not have to do so. They can often enter the industry with specialized short-term certifications. Prior knowledge of operating systems is an advantage.
Online Cyber Security Course and Certification
A potential employer may require specific skills in programming languages such as C++, Java, Python, Node, Ruby, Power Shell, or Go. Depending on the job role you target, you may need to pursue specific certifications or a Bachelor’s degree. Some of the popular cybersecurity certifications are:
- CompTIA Security+
- CISM – Certified Information Security Manager
- CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- GIAC – Global Information Assurance Certification
- CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor
- CEH – Certified Ethical Hacker
Online cybersecurity courses and certifications for former military personnel provide the necessary flexibility to complete the studies at your own pace. The courses are affordable compared to their full-time counterparts.
Bootcamps and In-person Training Courses
Consider attending a cybersecurity boot camp to kickstart your career. It is an intensive study program to get both hard and soft skills to land jobs in top companies.
Cybersecurity boot camps are an alternative to traditional degree programs. They may take from 1 to 8 months to complete. The boot camps offer personalized programs that you can choose based on your skills and job aspirations. Boot camps set you up for entry-level jobs such as IT auditor, penetration testing professional, and information security analyst.
Government-sponsored Training Courses
Veterans can get government sponsorships to get the necessary cybersecurity skills and certifications. Some of the sponsorships are:
- VA Financial assistance
- G.I. Bill®
- MyCAA Sponsorship Program
- Veterans Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP)
- Military Spouse Grant
Disclaimer: “Financial aid is available to those who qualify.”
Finding a Job in the Cybersecurity Industry
Finding the right cybersecurity job requires a mix of the right education, interpersonal networking, and an impressive resume.
Networking and Professional Associations
Start with networking within your corps or regimental association for vacant positions. Connect with industry leaders through online groups and network with former colleagues.
Become a part of professional organizations such as (ISC)2 and the International Association of Computer Security Professionals (IACSP)
Job Fairs and Recruitment Events
Several independent and government agencies conduct job fairs and recruitment events. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and CyberSN, with multiple city chapters across the U.S., are two such examples.
Candidates can also participate in hackathons, virtual labs, quizzes, and industry projects to demonstrate their skills to potential employers.
Online Job Boards and Websites
Online job boards and communities such as the ones listed below will help you find the right job:
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- DOD Civilian Careers
Compile a list of desired organizations and showcase your skills to them directly. If a job opening matches your skillset, they’ll likely be eager to bring you on board. Use LinkedIn to network with those in the cybersecurity industry.
Cybersecurity training provides veterans and military personnel with unique opportunities to transition into a new and rewarding career. The skills, experience, and discipline acquired during military service make them well-suited for the cybersecurity industry. With the increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals, veterans and military personnel have many career options.
The cybersecurity industry plays a crucial role in protecting our digital infrastructure from cyber threats. By pursuing a career in this field, veterans and military personnel can continue to serve their country meaningfully. With the proper training and resources, veterans and military personnel can build successful and fulfilling careers in cybersecurity.
If you are considering a rewarding career with high salaries in cybersecurity, consider enrolling in a certified cybersecurity specialist course. Call us at (858) 581-9460 or fill out the form for more information.
What Are the Benefits of a Cybersecurity Career for Veterans and Military Personnel?
A cybersecurity career can offer numerous benefits for veterans and military personnel, making it an attractive and rewarding career option. Here are some of the key benefits of pursuing a career in cybersecurity:
- Transferable Skills: Veterans and military personnel possess unique skills, such as security assessment and risk management, that can be transferred to a career in cybersecurity. Skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, attention to detail, and the ability to work under pressure are highly valued in the cybersecurity industry. Veterans and military personnel with experience in technical fields may also possess relevant technical skills.
- High Demand: The demand for cybersecurity professionals is rapidly increasing due to the rise in cyber threats and the need to protect digital infrastructure. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in the cybersecurity industry will grow much faster than the average for all occupations.
- Competitive Salaries: The high demand for cybersecurity professionals has led to competitive salaries and benefits packages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for information security analysts was $103,590 in 2020.
- Job Security: Cybersecurity professionals are essential in protecting organizations from cyber threats, making cybersecurity careers highly secure. As long as cyber threats continue to exist, the need for cybersecurity professionals will remain.
- Opportunities for Advancement: The cybersecurity industry offers numerous opportunities for career advancement. As cybersecurity professionals gain experience and expertise, they can progress to more senior roles with greater responsibilities and higher salaries.
- Continuing Education: Cybersecurity constantly evolves, and professionals must stay updated with the latest developments and trends. As such, the cybersecurity industry provides ample opportunities for continuing education, training, and professional development.
What Steps Do I Need to Take to Begin a Cybersecurity Career?
The typical pathway to building a career in cybersecurity is –
- Identify your skills and assess areas of interest within cybersecurity.
- Understand the importance of security clearance for government jobs.
- Find a mentor for guidance.
- Research potential employers for ex-military personnel.
- Take specialist cybersecurity training as per the need of the employer.
- Build an impressive resume and start applying.
What Are the Available Cybersecurity Training Options?
Military veterans in the U.S. have the following options to pursue a career in cybersecurity –
- Online courses in programming languages such as C++, Java, Python, Node, and Ruby. Popular cybersecurity certifications are CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Security Manager, Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Global Information Assurance Certification, Certified Information Systems Auditor, and Certified Ethical Hacker.
- Online and in-person boot camps are intensive study programs to get you jobs in top companies.
- Veterans get government sponsorships, such as the VA Financial assistance and Veterans Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP), to get the necessary cybersecurity skills and certifications.
Disclaimer: “Financial aid is available to those who qualify.”
Is It Necessary To Have Prior Experience in the Military To Pursue a Cybersecurity Career?
No, it is not necessary to have prior military experience to pursue a cybersecurity career. While military experience can provide individuals with valuable skills and knowledge that are transferable to the cybersecurity industry, it is not a requirement. You can pursue a bachelor’s degree or a certificate in cybersecurity, followed by an internship.
Does a Cybersecurity Career Pay Well in the U.S.?
Cybersecurity is a lucrative career path with explosive growth projections. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it will grow faster than any other career in the U.S. and comes with a mean annual wage of $102,600 per year. The highest 10 percent of professionals earn more than $165,920 per year.
Industries that give top salaries in the U.S. are:
- Information technology – $128,970
- Finance and insurance – $104,790
- Management – $101,350
- Computer system design – $101,170
- Administrative and support services – $95,270