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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: