5 ways a military background prepares you for a career in cybersecurity

One of the primary selling points of serving in the military is the potential career benefits available when you transition to civilian life. Military training and the core values instilled by serving in the military can serve you well in a number of areas of your life – not the least of which is your career after the military. Military values are particularly well suited to a career in information security.

Technology is both the engine and the fuel of our world. It drives commerce and infrastructure and we depend on technology in almost every aspect of our lives today. The importance of technology has created a huge demand to fill jobs and a shortage of viable candidates in some fields. A survey from CompTIA found that 43 percent of IT companies report being understaffed, and many are seeking qualified candidates to fill information security roles.

I feel uniquely qualified to talk about this topic because I served in the U.S. Air Force for six and a half years, and went on to a career in IT and information security. I have been a CISSP-ISSAP for 13 years. My military experience has helped me in my civilian career in two ways: I used my GI Bill funds to pursue a degree in Information Technology, and the skills and values I acquired in the military serve me well.

Here are five attributes of serving in the military that prepare you to be successful in information security:

1. Initiative

Things happen quickly in the world of technology – especially in information security. You can’t be a maverick always doing things your own way, but you do have to have the confidence to take action when it’s necessary rather than waiting to be told what to do all the time.

2. Goals

The military teaches you to establish goals and objectives and develop plans to effectively achieve them. The ability to set and achieve goals is crucial in all areas of life and will serve you very well in IT or information security.

3. Work ethic

The task-oriented work style of the military instills a respectable work ethic. You know what needs to be done and you execute those tasks efficiently to make sure it happens.

4. Problem solving

Sometimes things go wrong. A background in the military teaches you to address unexpected situations calmly and marshal resources effectively to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

5. Leadership

Throughout military service there are opportunities to lead. At all but the lowest level of brand- new recruits, men and women in the military are put into positions to lead others. They’re trained to recognize skills and weaknesses in others and delegate tasks effectively to accomplish the mission.

These five attributes of serving in the military make you a better candidate for virtually any career. If your actual job in the military was related to IT, then you’re already a step ahead of the game. No matter what role you played in the military, the leadership skills and core values you learned are significant benefits. It’s never too late for you to apply those attributes to start a successful career in information security.

I’m compensated by University of Phoenix for this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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