Global demand for cyber security experts is forecast to outstrip supply by a third before the end of the decade. The growing demand for skilled people within this sector, highlights why the cyber security industry needs military skills more than ever. At SaluteMyJob, we believe there is a net gain for employers if more is done to connect up veterans with roles where their military skills can be appreciated - and cyber security is one industry where we believe ex-military jobseekers would be a great asset.
To find out more about the cyber industry and what roles ex-military personnel would be suited for, we chat to ex-Army Officer Simon Harris, co-founder of Cysec Resource Co (CRC)., an executive search, head-hunting and recruitment business, that is solely focused on the cyber and information security domain. Simon offers a valuable insight into the key skills he believes veterans and reservists can bring to the cyber security space and offers advice to employers looking to hire veterans.
I think they have a work ethic imbedded in them and they are very much used to working as part of a team, as well as a matrix team.
CRC have helped place a number of veterans into commercial employment within the cyber industry - including ex-RAF, Chris Cope, who SaluteMyJob has interviewed for this month’s Cyber newsletter. Simon said he believes it is important to give job opportunities to ex-Service men and women as they have got “some significant transferable skills”. Simon explains: “I think they have a work ethic imbedded in them and they are very much used to working as part of a team, as well as a matrix team. And conversely, just look at the amount of money and effort that has been spent training them, to make them capable of working in a highly critical environment. Generally speaking, you find that ex-military people are people-people. They can communicate very well.”
The experience they had when they are serving will allow them to get certain accreditations and those accreditations are recognised in the commercial space.
Roles that Simon believes ex-military personnel would be suited for include analyst roles, penetration testers and information security management positions. Simon offered this advice to ex-military jobseekers looking to work in the cyber security industry: “The experience they had when they are serving will allow them to get certain accreditations and those accreditations are recognised in the commercial space. My advice would be, to as far as possible, complete those accreditations while serving. For example, they should look at becoming a Certified Information Systems Security Professional. Also, try and do some work placements - to expose yourself to other opportunities and to gain some commercial experience.”
Simon continues: “But it is also about how the individual veteran positions themselves on their CV’s, there is very little point in mentioning military scenarios - because recruiters may not necessarily understand that. It is all about translating your experience and skills and putting it into commercial speak. As an example, I left the Services a long time ago and the first interview I went for was for a sales role. I was asked ‘what do you know about selling?’ And I used the example of going out on a patrol an operational environment, where I had to sell the idea to my people, as there was a good chance that things might not have gone to plan.”
Veterans must be able to translate their skills for employers - but employers can also play a valuable role in supporting ex-military people, both before and after they are hired. “Before they hire veterans, employers should really look at providing internships for veterans so they can gain more of an understanding about the military - and also the skills they can bring. After, it is a bit more difficult as an employer is not going to employ someone who is not going to add value.
“A lot of military people are quite humble, they do not realise the valuable experience they have had and they find it difficult to translate that into commercial jargon and my advice to employers would be to sit down and sweat out the experience they have had - so the employer can then have a better understanding of how that experience can be applied in a commercial environment.”