How to excel in Cyber: Top 5 Tips for ex-military jobseekers

Are you an ex-military jobseeker looking to work in the cyber industry? Do you need some expert advice on how best to transition into the field? Well, look no further - the SaluteMyJob team are here to help you. We have interviewed specialists in the field, both ex-military cyber experts and employers to produce a top tips guide, to show transitioning and former military personnel how to prepare for a role in the cyber industry.

 

1. Identify transferable military skills

We know ex-military personnel have a huge amount of transferable skills employers in the cyber industry look for in potential employees. Therefore, it is important to understand what skills and experience you have to offer. For more guidance, look at our skills translation guide which looks closely at the range of soft and hard skills you have to offer an employer.  

 

2. Obtain entry-level Security Certifications and Advanced Certification

Gaining recognised certifications and qualifications will put you in really good stead before you leave the Forces. You really need to start turning your experience and skills into qualifications and if you can, try and complete those accreditations while serving.

So what qualifications should I get?

Stuart Quick, ex-Army, now a Managing Consultant at IBM, recommends:

  • Information Security Principles course from The British Computer Society. They also offer four or five practitioner courses too. These courses are very good value and can be achieved via distance learning and will be recognised on your CV.
  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) and CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) - These courses require a level of mandatory prior experience.   
  • ISO 27001 courses - They will give you a good grounding in how to manage information security.
  • Ethical Hacking and Forensic courses - There are a number of these courses and are aimed at those more technically minded.

Mark Ramsay, ex-Army, now an IT Portfolio Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, recommends:

  • Do a Masters and complete short IT courses.

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3. Gain practical experience through work placements

There’s no substitute for experience, even if you have the qualifications and skills. But if you have little or no commercial or cyber experience, do not panic. There are opportunities out there for work placements and apprenticeships, so you can get some on-the-job-training and experience. Get in touch with SaluteMyJob to find out more about Armed Forces friendly employers offering work placements. Many employers also hold insight days to show jobseekers what it is like to work for them, check out the Career Transition Partnership’s website for more details.

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4. Identify opportunities in your workplace to get involved in Information Security

If you are currently in employment, and looking to move into the cybersecurity industry, or you’re still in the military and want to get more involved in information security, we recommend trying to identify opportunities in your workplace to gain more cyber-related experience. 

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5. Network and read up about Military-Friendly employers and the cyber security industry

Network extensively and connect with Armed Forces employers who are actively looking for cyber experts to join their company, such as:

  • IBM
  • Advent IM
  • Fujitsu
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Accenture
  • Capgemini
  • PA Consulting
  • CGI
  • BT

Also join Linkedin groups and professional networks related to the cyber industry. Attending networking events is a great way to meet other people in the industry and make important connections with potential employers. As well as researching military-friendly employers, it is important to make sure you are up-to-date with any news, events and significant changes in the IT security space. Sign up to online forums and discussion boards around specific cybersecurity topics and the industry as a whole. Another easy way to stay in the loop is to subscribe to blogs and magazines on cyber security. Keeping up-to-date with industry news will help you identify any need for further study, identify possible employment opportunities and could make you stand out from other candidates.


There is undoubtedly a growing demand for skilled people within the cyber industry and it is clear that they are in need of military skills more than ever. If you are ex-military, transitioning from the military or a reservist interested in learning more about working in the industry or looking for further help and advice, please get in touch or register with us.