USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION
JOBS & EDUCATION
VetsInTech VETSINTECH; CHRIS REAGAN
one of a growing number of veterans who finds safeguarding networks and securing digital systems to be a good career fit.
SECURITY MINDSET Even veterans who did not work in a cyber specialty while in uniform like Reagan, still may be well placed to leverage their military experience in the cyber job market. Many cyber jobs require security clearances, and veterans typically already have some level of these credentials. That can give them an edge in the job market. More than this, vets bring a security mindset to the table. “In the military, it’s all about how you disclose information, how you keep things
confidential,” said Jesse Varsalone, who teaches cyber to a veteran-heavy student body at University of Maryland University College (UMUC), covering topics such as hacking, network forensics and incident response. “Veterans understand that there are certain things you don’t talk Chris about, even at the dinner Reagan table with your family.” Vets who bring that mindset may discover a corporate world eager for their talents. In 2016, more than 348,000 cybersecurity jobs went unfilled nationwide because organizations could not find qualified talent, according to the Sans Institute, a tech industry research group. A report from trade group (ISC)² and business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan
The National Cyber League expects there to be a 1.8-million person cybersecurity shortage by 2022. forecasts a shortfall of 1.5 million cyber workers by 2020. The National Cyber League expects there to be a 1.8-million person cybersecurity shortage by 2022. Ex-military personnel can be a natural fit for those jobs. “They have the leadership, the work ethic, and they have certain things ingrained in them that are important to cybersecurity. They have an intrinsic understanding of the need to watch out for threats, whether they are physical or cyberthreats,” said Katherine Webster, founder of VetsInTech (vetsintech.co), a group that offeres veterans a free five-day introduction to cybersecurity, through its partner, Palo Alto Networks. Held at Palo Alto Networks offices in Santa Clara,
Calif., the classes are open to any veterans who have experience in IT, networking or CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification. VetsinTech also holds classes in Texas and Virginia. In addition to veterans’ soft skills — like leadership and adaptability — many also leave the service with a solid understanding of the digital ecosystem. “The military today is very technological. You’ve got robots and drones and artificial intelligence,” Webster said. “People think about the veterans’ work ethic. But there is also a big tech component to their experience.” Those looking to leverage that tech CO N T I N U E D