From Royal Navy to career in cyber security

A tremendous desire to succeed, combined with courses, CV and skills translation backing from SaluteMyJob consultants, helped an ex-Royal Navy petty officer into a successful new career in cyber-security and a promotion in his first year.

The challenge of translating military skills

Carl Rowley, a former Royal Navy air traffic controller, initially struggled to find a fulfilling career after leaving the Navy. The former Petty Officer found it a challenge to translate his transferable military skills and find the right job to complement his valuable skill-set. But with a strong interest in IT and ambitions to work as a SOC Analyst, Carl taught himself a number of cybersecurity skills. He was the 100th veteran to complete both the IBM QRadar Cyber Security Training Course and IBM's i2 Analyst Notebook Training Course, organised by SaluteMyJob and supported by the Corsham Institute (Ci) and IBM’s Citizenship team.

Placement leads to job

He is now working as an IT security consultant for Luton-based cyber-security company Satisnet after he completed a successful month-long placement at the company and was recently promoted to pre-sales team lead, a move which will involve him creating a strong management link between the sales and technical teams.

"The new role will mean me carrying out customer integration, assigning members of the technical team to demonstrations and on-site installations, working closely with vendor channel leads and keeping the sales team up to date with prices, data sheets and advertising, as well as taking ownership of the sales force customer relations management software.

"In the military, our natural progress through our career is to lead and manage, and that's what has allowed me take on this new position with Satisnet."

Satisnet offers Carl, who lives in Wrexham with his wife Mary and children Izzy, Alfie and Hayden, the flexibility to combine working from home with working at the company’s Luton-based offices.

“I started the placement on October 16 and began my full-time job the following month,” Carl said. “It seems to be going very well so far. I would definitely recommend getting as much help as possible with job-hunting when leaving the military.”

Ex-military soft skills perfect for cyber security roles

Satisnet managing director, John McCann, offered Carl an interview after he was sent his CV by SaluteMyJob.

"He had good people skills, he was well-organised and very enthusiastic," said John.

"It has worked out well as he is able to work using his own initiative, quickly certifying on the products we gave him to learn and I would definitely recommend other companies give ex-service people a go.

"They understand security, they are disciplined, they can work using their own initiative while, at the same time, being great team players."

Military background

Carl had an exemplary 18 year career, leaving the Royal Navy in 2010. He said some of the highlights of his military career included qualifying as an air traffic controller and becoming a training officer. Carl said: “I joined as a young seaman radar operator and becoming an air traffic controller was one of the main highlights of my career. Another achievement, later on in my career, was becoming a training officer, where I was responsible for putting together task books for new trainees and creating an online monitoring system for instructors and trainees to monitor their progress.”

Using SaluteMyJob to help with transition

Carl was medically discharged in 2010 and said he struggled to identify the key skills and experience that he acquired during his Service that he believed were of value to civilian companies.

“I only had ten weeks resettlement so I wasn’t as prepared for it as others who get 24 months. Ten weeks to change your life, from something I had done since I was 17, was incredibly daunting. The military was all I knew, so I personally struggled to bring across the soft skills. But most certainly leadership is a big key skill and being a team player, as well as loyalty,” he said.

Carl said he would advise other service leavers to prepare as much as they could and look towards trying to get work placements during their resettlement period to help with the transition, as well as taking advantage of all the help on offer from agencies such as SaluteMyJob. Our recruitment consultants work with service leavers to translate their acquired military skills into civilian ones as well as assisting with writing competitive CVs to enable veterans to stand out.

Cross training and upskilling to achieve job goals

The former Petty Officer did not initially know what he wanted to do when he left the Navy and so tried various roles, including an accident investigator and landscape gardener. He was always interested in pursuing a job in IT and a chance meeting with a university student led to him learning about SaluteMyJob’s IBM's i2 Analyst Notebook Training Course.

Carl explained: “I was part of a study by a student at Sheffield Hallam University, who had a brother in the military and she recognised that service leavers could be well-suited to jobs in cybersecurity, so she came up with a Tech for Troops initiative.”

Through the project, Carl was introduced to SaluteMyJob and he went on to complete both their IBM QRadarand i2 Analyst Notebook Training Courses.

As well as his cybersecurity qualifications and experience, he believes the skills he acquired during his distinguished Naval career will help him become successful in a SOC analyst role.

He explained: “The big problem at the moment is getting professionals into cybersecurity – and where they are struggling is loyalty. Our instructor here gave us a fine example of a company taking students from a university course on a placement – and then as soon as that placement is finished they are gone. Whereas an ex-military person will get their foot in the door and keep improving their personal development and will give that company much more loyalty.”

Free cyber security training through SaluteMyJob

Earlier this year, Carl became the 100th veteran to qualify through SaluteMyJob, IBM and the Corsham Institute’s free cybersecurity training courses. Carl said he would recommend both courses to service leavers looking to get into the cybersecurity industry. Visit our training section to find out more about both courses, along with other training opportunities.