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CYBER DEGREE RESOURCES For veterans considering a career in cybersecurity, a number of organizations offer free education and other support. Hire Our Heroes works with the Department of Homeland Security to offer free training and certification-prep courses. „

The Sans Institute VetSuccess Academy PROVIDED BY SANS INSTITUTE; NIK ROBY

expertise in a cyber career may find multiple paths. While a computer science degree can be a launching point for some, it’s not the only way.

FOOT IN THE DOOR The Warrior to Cyber Warrior (W2CW) program ( can train a veteran for a cyber career in 24 weeks, for free. The project of security automation firm Lunarline is one of a number of initiatives nationwide that offer veterans a free introduction to cyber skills (see sidebar). Participants earn certifications to show they can do the job, including Comp TIA Security+, Certified Expert Incident Responder (CEIR) and Certified Expert Privacy Professional (CEPP). The program has trained about 300 people since 2012, and with the demand for cyber skills as high as it is, most participants receive job offers within weeks of starting the program, said Lunarline co-founder and CEO Waylon Krush. “There are never enough people in the field to support the need, so we know that if we train the guys and girls coming back

from the military, it will open the doors of opportunity for them,” he said. W2CW graduates have taken jobs in a range of cyber positions. Most people want to be “ethical hackers” — those paid to try to break into corporate networks to expose potential vulnerabilities. But Krush encourages veterans to look beyond such “cool” jobs and consider regulated industries as a first step into the cyber workforce. Finance, health care and many other sectors operate under government mandate when it comes to the security of digital information. “Compliance programs are large; they are funded; they are required; and most executives understand them,” Krush said. “That makes them one of the easiest ways to get into cyber.” For such jobs, a handful of certifications can be enough to get a foot in the door. Still, some veterans opt for additional

training and education. Nik Roby earned an undergrad degree from UMUC while in uniform, left the Army in 2010 and, then worked in various computer science roles before eventually earning a UMUC master’s degree in 2016. The academic path required a lot of time and effort, but it paid off. He recently moved to Silicon Nik Roby Valley to take a dream position as a security engineer with Google. “If you’ve got a degree in a computer science, especially in security, the sky is the limit,” he said. Cyber will get you not just a job, but a cool career. “It’s fun because the landscape is constantly changing,” Roby said. “I like this whole cat-and-mouse game. Any time you finally figure out their trick, they change it, and then you figure out the new one. It’s like constantly solving puzzles. I wouldn’t want a job that stays the same all the time.”

The government’s FedVTE program gives veterans free access to more than 800 hours of training on topics such as ethical hacking and surveillance, risk management and malware analysis. „ Veterans pursuing academic work in cybersecurity may be eligible for the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS). It’s available to those who go on to work in federal, state, local or tribal government service upon graduation. „ Through the Department of Homeland Security, the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies consolidates information about scholarships, training and other assets available to veterans looking for a way into cyber. „ The Sans Institute VetSuccess Academy is designed to encourage veterans to join the cyber workforce through technical training and certifications. „ vetsuccess


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