If you are about to complete your military service and are looking for your next career option, then cybersecurity is the perfect match for your profile. Finding a job as a civilian can be challenging but when you pick up the appropriate work skill, a smooth transition can be initiated.
“This may be the best industry right now; the cybersecurity industry wants you.”
– Robert Fucci, Monster staff
How Is Cybersecurity Perfect for Veterans?
Cybersecurity is protecting computers, networks, digital assets and information from unauthorized access. In a broader sense, any device connected to the internet is prone to a cyber attack and therefore, needs to be protected. In the cyber-field, Veterans can use the same defensive and service motivation they acquire to secure the cyber-nation.
Veterans may come equipped with skills overlapping national defense and cybersecurity, like maintaining situational awareness, on the job learning, quickly processing information, being alert to every move and responding to accept all challenges. It allows veterans to not compromise on their passion for defending our country but simply change the battlefield. Cybersecurity is an option for them to continue their mission of protecting citizens and crucial information in the online battlefield.
Cybersecurity is one of the most in-demand careers globally. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate of job requirements in cybersecurity in 2018 was 28% which is considered as “faster than average” growth rate. BLS defined the average growth rate of jobs in the economy as 7%.  The average salary in cybersecurity is said to be $116,000, which is approximately $55.77 per hour which is almost three times higher than the national median income. 
In cybersecurity, veterans are more likely ahead of other civilians –
As they were exposed to defense security procedures and were trained to handle time bound challenges, they are more likely to be successful in cybersecurity by implementing the same ideologies.
Veterans usually acquire their security clearance while in the military and this can help them when competing for a federal position.
Why employers prefer veterans for cybersecurity jobs –
Having served the country, veterans develop professional qualities and skills during their service that will help them serve the civilian workforce. Here is a quick rundown of the potential attributes that makes veterans or ex-armed servicemen sought-after employees in the cybersecurity industry:
- Experience working in a highly stressed environment
- Leadership skills and experience
- Problem-solving skills
- Disciplined attitude
- Ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance
- Ability to handle time-constraint assignments
- Understand the significance of defense and protection
- Ability to channelize the faster communication process
- Loyal, dedicated and self-driven
There are many multi-national companies that are looking for talented veterans to serve and some of them are partnering with military advocacy organizations to hire veterans immediately after their service.
How to Transition into Cybersecurity
1. Assess your skills
Familiarize yourself with the many job roles that the cybersecurity industry has to offer. For example, ethical hacking, penetration testing, cyber forensic investigation, application security engineer, security architect, etc. Compare and assess your skills against these roles and understand which role you are ‘best-fit’ for. Instead of acquiring skills that are not aligned with your niche, it is better to adopt skills that match your caliber.
For example, if you were employed as a software engineer in the air force, you can pick up a career as an application security engineer where your software development skills can be employed.
2. Know the importance of your security clearance
Having security clearance will make you half-way eligible for a job in the federal government. Even though many cybersecurity jobs are with private companies, these companies contact the federal government for security services.
The National Background Investigations Bureau has an update on the clearance processing time for Department of Defense (DoD) contractors. The last report indicated 501 days in 2017 for a top security clearance which is more than a year and a half. Whereas, 2018 shows an even worse report with 534 days for top security clearances and 221 days for secret and confidential security clearances.  It is not just the time taken that is the problem but also the cost of clearance that usually the hiring company must bear. A security clearance may cost $3000 for an employee and a top secret clearance may cost between $3000 to $15000. 
3. Reach out to potential employers
Walking in the dark is always risky when you have no idea about the right path, which leads to a rising probability of getting lost. It is always advisable to follow a mentor and seek his or her advice whenever taking a new career path. With the advent of online contacts, you can reach out to potential employers or bigger recruiters to learn how far your skills match the requirements.
Leading job portals and job postings online will provide a potential source about the existing opportunities in the cybersecurity market, the skills set that the employers are seeking, and the pay-scale offered based on experience.
4. Specialized cybersecurity education
Industry recognized education is absolutely important to enter the industry. To begin, you must first acquire a degree. A bachelors or a master’s degree in cybersecurity provides a good foundation for a successful career.
EC-Council University (ECCU) is one of the leading education providers in cybersecurity across the world. ECCU offers Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity (BSCS) and Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MSCS) and both the programs are completely online. The BSCS program also gives you an opportunity to attain three industry-recognized certifications from EC-Council: Certified Network Defender (C|ND), Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (C|HFI). After the BSCS, Veterans can join the Master program where ECCU offers five specializations: Security Analyst, Enterprise Security Architect, Digital Forensics, Incident Management and Business Continuity, and Executive Leadership and Information Assurance. You can select any specializations of your choice based on the skills that you are bringing from your background.
Exclusive service to Veterans by ECCU
As a token of honor, ECCU will waive the application fee for veterans. The university recognizes the challenges that the veterans face. With cybersecurity being the most suitable career path for veterans, ECCU encourages them to be a part of it. For more details about our exclusive zero-cost application offer, visit our website: https://www.eccu.edu/welcome-veterans/
EC-council University also offer ‘Cybersecurity Hero’s Scholarship’ as a gesture of courtesy towards U.S. military and first responders and families of their service to community and country. The award will be a scholarship amount of 10% of the tuition for selected applicants. More details about our Hero’s Scholarship can be availed at our website: https://www.eccu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Cyber-Security-Heros-Scholarship.pdf