From Soldier to an IT Career in Cyber Security
Moving from a military career to a private sector IT career is a unique challenge: you move from a structure that’s highly regimented to something that’s seemingly a free-for-all and more about luck than commitment.
But the discipline and commitment soldiers possess helps them exceed far and above their civilian counterparts once they learn to navigate and adapt their discipline to the private companies of corporate America.
If the thrill of hunting down cyber criminals, killing information security threats and viruses, and serving one of your favorite private companies or public offices excites you, Cyber Security training could be the perfect next step after you exit the military and the key to landing an exciting Cyber Security job.
Interested in getting started in a cyber security career? Follow the link below to learn more.
LANDING THE JOB: TALK THE TALK
The way you work and earn a promotion in the military and the way you land a new IT-based position in a private company are completely different: and it’s got a lot to do with the way you talk.
1. Wording Your Resume: Acronyms & Nouns vs. Verbs
In the military, you get so used to using acronyms and noun-based vocabulary that it becomes second nature and you hardly notice yourself doing it.
As you write your résumé, spell out all acronyms: they might mean something totally different to the new industry you’re applying to work in, or mean nothing at all. If the person reviewing your résumé isn’t familiar with the military, acronyms will be totally confusing to them. For example, in the military, APU stands for auxiliary power unit, but in IT, it stands for accelerated processing unit.
Next, focus your resume around verbs, not nouns. Military jobs are very specific and pointed with lots of direct precision. This precision leads to noun-focused work thinking in our minds. It’s not a bad thing—but the corporate world doesn’t work that way.
Even if you work in a super-detailed job like a cyber security analyst, or a similar career in the IT field, private sector companies are all in business for the bottom line: making more money. And to make more money, they want to expand. And to help them expand, you need to show them that you can do things.
Can you see the difference?
So rather than saying you worked on X, Q, M, and T, explain what you fixed, maintained, improved, or gathered.
2. Network, Network, Network
As soon as you know your release date, tell everyone you know that you’re in the job market.
This can be tough, coming from an environment where you learn to rely almost solely on yourself, but there’s no risk involved in putting the word out there.
Once you do get back home, network like crazy: meet new people at ball games, Rotary meetings, and veterans’ organizations. Message people in your LinkedIn network who work in tech-based roles. You never know what opportunities are waiting to be uncovered until you try.
3. Emphasize Your Learning Curve & the Lasting Benefits You Offer
The hard truth is that the military doesn’t give you direct IT training for private sector jobs. Though you’ve earned an incredible breadth of knowledge for things like management, soft skills, and leadership, a lot of military retirees are a bit lacking in the deep technical expertise required to perform specific private sector job.
But that’s okay.
You can tell the interviewer you’ll have a small learning curve during your training period — most new hires do.
What you’ll want to focus on instead is that you’ve got the leadership and bent of mind to handle the tight, quickly evolving and potentially threatening situations information security analysts face in warding off cyber crime.
WORKING: START SMALL & MOVE UP IN YOUR IT CAREER
Working as a Cyber Security Analyst does place you in a corporate desk job, but it still carries excitement and rushes of adrenaline when you find a hacker trying to attack secure information and you’ve got to rally your troops to stop him.
4. Manage Your Expectations
Promotions work differently in the corporate world than they do in the military. Instead of being based on time served, they’re all about performance and potential.
Realize when you’re applying for IT jobs that you might have to take a position that’s a little lower than the one you want (like a Network Support Specialist or Network Administrator), but if the company is growing, you could be in your desired position before you know it.
The day-in-day-out duties of a cyber security analyst include network monitoring, encrypting sensitive data, vulnerability tests, documenting breaches and figuring out how to avoid similar ones, creating security plans and recommending enhancements based on industry trends.
For sure, some of the work could get a little monotonous, especially during times of no threats — but don’t let that stop you from being on your toes. Monitor and execute with the same keen eye you used as a soldier, and you’ll be far more successful at your job than the vast majority of new hires.
6. Embrace Your Leadership
Along with maintaining a keen eye, don’t be afraid to step up and take the lead when your team is faced with a tough situation and can’t seem to repel a security threat.
If you’ve got an idea of how to do it, use your soldier mindset to map out a plan to get there, get everyone on board, and execute the attack on the hacker.
7. Plan for IT Career Growth
Around 200 to 300 people exit the military every day, and for every job opening in the United States, there are 187 applicants.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for cyber security analysts will grow much faster than average at 18% through 2024. In today’s world, cyber security training is key to landing many careers in the IT industry.
Though the job outlook is good for military veterans seeking employment as a cyber security analyst, you do still have to prove yourself as a valuable hire. Boosting your résumé with intensive Cyber Security Training will set you apart from the competition and prepare you to start your new job immediately.
Interested in Starting or Advancing Your IT Career with Cyber Security Training?
If the information provided in this blog posting has interested you and you would like to take the next step, then you should consider talking to an experienced Career Training Advisor at LeaderQuest about our available Cyber Security training programs. We are more than happy to help you chart your path to IT career success!