Military service is a proven path for gaining skills that are valued in the commercial sector. However, servicemembers transitioning to civilian life are likely to encounter a sense of the “great unknown.” Most enlist straight out of high school—meaning the military is their first “real job”— then leave the military in search of a career that has little resemblance to what they did in uniform. Therein lies the issue: how can someone leaving the military decide on their next career move (or choose a school/course of study that will lead them to that career) and be confident that it will be something they enjoy and find rewarding? Cybersecurity is a growing field that offers many career paths and is in dire need of skilled talent. But how can a servicemember get exposure and experience in cyber before making the .mil to .civ leap?
Veteran Security (VetSec) is nonprofit that helps those transitioning out of the military and veterans who have already made the jump. Founded in 2018, VetSec “focuses on networking with other veterans in the IT and Cyber Security world as well as helping those that are currently transitioning out of the military and looking into these career fields.” Mentorship is provided primarily though a Slack channel with 1,800 members. The VetSec page also includes training videos, development resources, and community member blog posts covering a wide range of topics: mental health, reverse engineering, and ethical hacking (just to name a few).
Transition and job preparation are key themes in the VetSec community. Posts on the VetSec site focus on personal transition journeys, focusing on long-form stories that include highs, lows, and lessons learned along with job search resources and upskilling information. Going beyond blog posts, VetSec’s Slack channel provides an invaluable resource for members to connect and receive mentorship, guidance, and support in real time. The transitioning servicemember can talk to a fellow veteran via Slack to learn the inside scoop about jobs, determine if a role is right for them, and get a roadmap with actionable next steps. It helps get well to the left of transition, saving time and a large amount of money. For vets established in the industry, the Slack channel provides a means of giving back while also networking to develop and advance their own careers. VetSec also hosts virtual events. It held a member-driven digital conference (appropriately named VetSecCon) in April, focusing on social media management, resume writing, mental health resources, Veterans Affairs benefits, and more. It is planning a second online conference in the fall.
While COVID-19 led to the cancellation of in-person veteran transition events across the country, VetSec’s “virtual-only” model gets around any social-distancing concerns. Visit VetSec for more information or join their Slack channel.
Cyber.Media has also created a series highlighting members of the military community who are working in cybersecurity. To read more about moving from the military community to the civilian job market, visit:
The Pipeline: Dan Costantino (CISO/CIO and United States Marine Corps Veteran)
The Pipeline: Mark Ferrari (Entrepreneur, CISO, and United States Air Force Veteran)