Why you can’t afford not to train veterans in cyber security

According to the Wall Street Journal, only 66.7 percent of jobseekers responded to cyber security job postings on Indeed.com between July and September of last year.

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My experience in the information technology sector began roughly 15 years ago this month. I was a young man with a new family struggling from job to job. Many of the jobs I had during the early years were well-paying jobs, however, I never kept one for very long. Looking back (hindsight is always 20/20) I was immature and lacked perspective.

At the age of 24 I was finally tired of the insanity. I went to the Army recruiter expressed my interest and committed to losing the weight necessary to join. Within just a couple of months I was swearing an oath to the United States and picking my new career field. Upon the advice of my father I embarked on a career in the United States Army Signal Corp. It was a choice that literally changed the course of my life.

Ultimately, I chose a technical field because my father had operated a boutique information systems consultancy for years. His practice (like my career later) was born out of necessity. An owner of several small businesses he learned about computers and networking to keep them running efficiently. Gradually, he sold off those businesses and focused solely on information systems consulting.

The IT career field provided me with the best options long term. My goal was to learn a skill or trade that would support my family long after I left the military. Fifteen years later I have risen to senior ranks within the cyber field. For the kid who rarely (if ever) used computers it has been a meteoric rise.

The Armed services

Many of my brothers and sisters in arms chose other career fields. However, they remain excellent candidates to fill positions within the cyber security field. The military instills, leadership, discipline, fitness, team work, dedication and trust within everyone. After 13 years of war in the Middle East they also understand how to wage war.

These core qualities are why more programs need to target veterans and teach them the skills necessary to fill the cyber talent gap. Only 66.7 percent of jobseekers responded to cyber security job postings on Indeed.com between July and September of last year. By 2019 ISACA predicts a global shortage of two million cyber security professionals.

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Security analysts and security managers are two of the most in demand cyber security roles on the market. Many of our veterans are already very adept at analyzation and managing. Now we just need to teach them the cyber specific skillset. Most veterans have spent their entire careers learning on the fly and quickly integrating into new roles.

Organizations such as Operation Code and CyberTraining 365 are dedicated to teaching veterans the skills necessary for a career within the cyber security sector. Currently 100 seats of cyber security based subscription training are offered for free to veterans.

Approximately 29 percent of breached organizations lost revenue. Can your company afford to continue leaving cyber security roles unfilled? Before you start bemoaning the cost of hiring and training veterans to fill these positions take a long hard look at your bottom line. Can your reputation afford to take the hit after a cyber incident?

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