Military veterans: Untapped goldmine of potential Cybersecurity talent

The critical workforce shortage of #cybersecurity professionals is a significant risk to the overall national security and economic security. There are about 3.1 million unfulfilled positions in Cybersecurity around the world, out of which there is a demand for at least a hundred thousand cybersecurity professionals in India.

India is on track to emerge as the epicenter for the cybersecurity product & service sector (4). With the pandemic pushing digital transformation at an unprecedented pace across sectors, the Indian cybersecurity industry is expanding rapidly. The demand for skilled human capital is also rising day by day. However, this field is currently experiencing a 40 to 70 percent gap in the talent supply depending on the specific skill-set. (1,2)

At a time when data breaches and sophisticated #cyberattacks like ransomware are growing at an alarming rate, cybersecurity preparedness is a top priority for every sector. The industry is working hard on building a sustainable workforce pipeline capable of supporting an exponentially growing need for #cyberprofessionals. Companies are trying innovative approaches for tapping and onboarding the right mix of in-demand skill sets and the ex-military talent can be that potential talent pool.

Our military veterans are uniquely qualified for careers in cybersecurity:

They have the talent, knowledge, skills, and abilities that translate well to cybersecurity.

Today’s military utilizes some of the most technologically advanced digital systems. And military computer systems and networks are probably the most heavily targeted high-value assets in the world for hackers. Given this, any active-duty personnel involved directly with these systems and particularly with defending these systems from attack will be extremely well prepared for private sector work in cybersecurity.

There are many positions in the military branches of Radar, Signals, Electronic Warfare, and Military Intelligence that require a deep working knowledge of computers, digital information networks, communications systems, cryptography, digital tracking, spying, and information security.

The personnel deployed in these positions are well-versed with the practices like, Security procedures & operations, Intelligence analysis, Risk Management, Strategic planning, RCA, and Defensive tactics demonstrating a deep understanding of the attribute of “defense”.

They might not be IT experts by education, but they are hands-on with tech equipment for electronics, communications, navigation & satellites, and expertly analyze incoming data. They are tech-savvy and upon retirement from the armed forces can enter a corporate company at a respective level tech position. Military #veterans of any of these specializations are a natural fit for the intense cybersecurity environment. They may not have degrees but they have talent and potential for sure!

The ex-servicemen naturally bring in personality traits like integrity, trustworthiness, strong values, and ethics, team commitment, perseverance, effective communications, adaptability, dedication to service, discipline, accountability, situational awareness, proactivity, analytical thinking & problem solving, and diligence to ensure unimpeded work continuity. Have demonstrated trainability to learn on the job, re-skill, up-skill, or learn new skills and are motivated by the pursuit of excellence.

Engagement:

It is a proven fact that veterans tend to be company-loyal and less likely to job-hop. They remain with the companies that initially employ them 8.3% longer than nonveterans. (Source: LinkedIn data)

Veterans bring in #diversity!

The synergy:

There are strong synergies and a degree of overlap in skill sets between the military and cybersecurity communities such as,

  • Working in high-pressure situations
  • Understanding the importance of discipline and process
  • Commitment to the shared goals of the organization
  • Ability to quickly process information for security decisions
  • Situational awareness handling, “live fire” scenarios
  • Speedy resolution of complex issues with minimal resources
  • Tackling challenges in a timely and systematic fashion
  • Mission-centric context with a warrior mindset

 Challenges:

Despite having the relevant skills and attitude to be successful in the cybersecurity, there is a minimal representation of these ex-servicemen in the corporate sector because,

1.   There is low visibility of cybersecurity as a potential second career path before or during the transition

2.   There are no structured resettlement programs toward cybersecurity for the retiring personnel

3.   Transitioning veterans may not see how their military experience translates to job readiness in the private sector

4.   While in service usually they do not need to seek industry certifications. Also, the active duty and frequent deployments do not give a scope to study and do certifications voluntarily as well

5.   After retirement with the urgency of resettlement the veterans pick up a job that comes first on their way, which may or may not be relevant to their experience and expertise from the military life. So most of the time their talent remains untapped and underutilized

6. Also after separation from the services, the resettlement priorities do not leave an option for the retiring personnel to invest time & money in industry-relevant certifications and training

7. Global certifications are extremely expensive and there is a lack of awareness about equivalent certifications approved by the national-level council, that are affordable, and highly recognized by the industry

8.   On the other hand, the civilian workforce is built on degrees and certifications and the veterans are most likely to be removed from the hiring funnel on the basis of a lack of certification.

No matter how much more real-life experience and personal character a veteran might bring to the table, without the proper credentials, they may not get a job that would put their extensive training to relevant use.

9.   Most corporate employers and talent acquisition team members do not have the knowledge of the military and the main challenge they face is a lack of understanding of the skill sets veterans have, that can translate to cybersecurity positions.

The opportunity:

 There exists an opportunity for the ex-military technical workforce in an effort to address the growing demand for cyber talent across the country and beyond.

Opportunity to build on the existing scenario, identify the missing stones for improvement, and increase the speed to move our transitioned warriors to a rewarding second career in the field of cybersecurity.

An opportunity for our military veterans to continue to support a mission that protects citizens, critical information, and national security online!

The solution:

The ex-military talent would benefit from well-informed coaching and guidance, access to cyber labs, and an on-job training/internship.

Well equipped with a thorough understanding of diverse opportunities in the cybersecurity space and an appropriate short and affordable training & certification, the ex-servicemen can rapidly get on to work, provide fresh and diverse ideas and bring practical hands-on solutions backed with experience to the corporate sector.

Conclusion

The whole of the cyber industry is facing a pressing shortage of talent. Veterans inherently have an edge when it comes to cybersecurity.

The increased demand for cybersecurity professionals also presents a great opportunity for ex-servicemen with technology backgrounds to train for a long-term, meaningful second career that’s just as challenging and as rewarding as being Military personnel.

*1 – https://hr.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/3-1-million-cybersecurity-positions-vacant-around-the-globe-michael-page-india/82081725

*2 – https://www.livemint.com/news/india/indiainc-struggles-to-fill-roles-to-counter-risingcyberattacks-11617215268679.html

*3 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New-collar_worker

*4 – cybersecurity: India poised to be cybersecurity hub as Covid ups virus threats, IT News, ET CIO (indiatimes.com)

Skillster www.skillsterheroes.com on its mission to facilitate meaningful career opportunities for our heroes suggests, ‘Cybersecurity’ as an avenue to build a rewarding second career for the veterans.

For the Cyber industry, Skillster is working towards expanding the critical, diverse pipeline of skilled professionals for in-demand talent.

#skillsterheroes #Skillsteropportunity #Secondcareer #indianarmedforces

Please get in touch to know more at +91-7774022021 / director@skillsterheroes.com

How to find the right corporate career after leaving the Military services

Too often, immediately after retirement the Ex-servicemen in transition get into action and start looking for a job without having any useful plan in place. This results in longer job searches or landing into an unworthy career. 

If you are looking forward to a fulfilling and rewarding corporate job, the first step is NOT to jump into a job search!

Every job has specific requirements. One should not simply apply with military titles and responsibilities and hope to get hired. You need to assess your qualifications to the job requirements first. Then you need to demonstrate your relevant achievements in terms the employer understands. Only apply for jobs that match your skills and will help you achieve the career you want.

 Do recognize that a successful and smoother transition takes lots of preparation and time. A comprehensive industry research on businesses of different companies along with the assessment of what you have to offer will equip you with an effective “action plan”.  

First develop a list of target employers where you could successfully work in your chosen field. Figure out which function or project you would like to take on. Research the qualifications for those profiles and match them to your qualifications. Fill in the missing qualifications, if needed, with more education or training or certifications.

Most of the times, senior executive jobs are not advertised publicly. It is therefore essential for you to identify organisations that are likely to benefit from your skills and experiences. Try understanding their challenges and being the answer. Employers recruit when they need someone to solve a problem – be that person!

You also have to do a lot of self-assessment which is often skipped. You must analyse the value you can offer to the potential employer. By thinking about the problems you can solve for an employer, you will be able to identify your skills, knowledge and experience relevant to his needs.

Make a good list of all of the jobs that you performed during various postings, take a stock of all the courses you attended, temporary duties, deputations, cross attachments and operations to determine your transferable skills.

Ask several people you trust, your family, friends, colleagues about what they think your strengths are. They can add a lot of information. This step will surely lay a strong foundation for a successful career and a shorter job search.

Once you discover your unique selling proposition that most appeal to the right employers be sure your resume and LinkedIn profile demonstrate these relevant attributes.

In the resume too often through your military appointments you want employers to know that you can do a lot, in hopes that you will find a job. But civilian employers do not understand ‘Military experience’ or ‘Military competencies’ and how those can be applicable in to civilian jobs. They want to know what you can do for them in terms which they understand. They want you to show why they should hire you.

That doesn’t mean you hide your military background, but your CV should demonstrate why it helps to make you a strong candidate in the corporate world. Your resume should show your relevant achievements and experiences in terms of your future work.

It will be helpful to use numbers, statistics, comparisons and achievements against targets, testimonials, reference quotes and hard data to prove that you can deliver meaningful results.

There is a great opportunity out there for you. But it takes all your effort to understand yourself and your goals first to make an effective transition.

Believe that you are a high end product having unique combination of knowledge, skills, experience, and attitudes. Corporate employers are unaware of how uniquely qualified you are to help them. It’s your job to make them understand that!

 

For more advice on transition plan, get in touch with info@skillsterheroes.com

or call +91-7774022021