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Hacked Opinions: Veterans who transitioned into InfoSec

Steve Ragan | Nov. 12, 2015
Veterans discuss moving from the military to their current InfoSec careers.

military salute national guard
Credit: New York National Guard

Yesterday was Veterans Day in the U.S., a federal holiday serving as a way to honor those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. But it isn't just here in the U.S. that veterans are remembered, as the holiday also coincides with Armistice Day and Remembrance Day.

CSO recently questioned six veterans who are all active members of the InfoSec community. The aim of this standalone Hacked Opinions post was to focus on how they transitioned into InfoSec from their military careers, and what advice they'd offer to those looking to follow a similar path.

At the same time, that they were able to move from military careers into their existing jobs is a story in and of itself.

There's a troubling reality that veterans face, not everyone who leaves military service can immediately find a job in a related field. Some can't find work at all.

The good news is that the situation is improving, gradually, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics figures and calculations made by Syracuse University for publication in the October 2015 revision of the Employment Situation for Veterans report.

"Overall, the unemployment rates for all veterans show a gradual improvement (decrease) since 2010, though they remain higher than their non-veteran counterparts. Veterans aged 24 or younger have experienced the highest unemployment, however, this difference has decreased steadily over five years and shows recent signs of convergence with the unemployment rate of veterans 25 years and older," the report explains.

At yet, most polls taken on the topic show that hiring veterans is smart business, as veterans tend to perform better and have lower turnover when compared to the larger workforce.

But the biggest roadblocks are attracting high-quality veterans to open positions, translating military experience into civilian career paths, and transitioning them into the workforce.

Not every job in the military translates into a perfect fit in IT/InfoSec. However, that doesn’t mean the talent pool should be ignored or forgotten.

CSO would like to thank Travis Greene, Mike Orosz, Jeff Schilling, Lewis Kim, Tom Gorup, and Rick Howard for taking the time to speak with us. 

How did you transition from your military career to your current role in InfoSec? Was it a natural fit, or did you have to make adjustments?

Travis Greene, Identity Solutions Strategist at NetIQ (TG): I imagine my path was similar to many others. I was fortunate to find an employer willing to give me an opportunity, even when my experience and skill set was not an obvious fit.

While I had a computer science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, I was six-years removed from it and much of the military tech I had been using wasn’t relevant to the civilian market.


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