Are you a member of the military or recent veteran looking for your next step in the cybersecurity workforce? First, thank you for your service! There are many paths to take in transitioning your career, and we’ve compiled some helpful information to start you on your journey.
There are many opportunities available to active military and those transitioning out of the service and into the civilian workforce. ISC2 is one of the many organizations dedicated to being a resource for members of all service branches. You can reserve a one-on-one appointment with an ISC2 specialist who can assist you with guidance in your post-military career. On December 4, 2023, ISC2 will host a CISSP five-day online instructor-led training course for Department of Defense, register now.
During a packed career coaching session Next Steps for Transitioning Military at ISC2 Security Congress 2023, panelists from Verizon’s Military Recruitment Program, Accenture, Quest Defense and ClearedJobs gave attendees advice and tips for navigating the transition from active duty to civilian life. They each encouraged service members to start thinking ahead one to two years before exiting which will result in a smoother transition.
ISC2 is an approved provider of via the Air Force CA or TA Funding (COOL) program for active-duty Air Force enlisted members, or reservists and National Guard. In addition, ArmyIgnitED has partnered with ISC2 to offer discounts on Official ISC2 Online Instructor-Led Training and Self-Paced Training program to receive training, payment for exams and educational courses.
Veterans and military service members have options to help pay for ISC2 training and exam fees. If your current role requires a certification under DoD 8570/8140, training and Annual Maintenance Fees can be sponsored by your membership office.
We asked ISC2 members who transitioned to a career in cybersecurity from active military duty to give feedback and advice based on their different journeys.
Damon Drake, CISSP, spent a combined 17 years in the Air Force and as an active reservist before using his GI Bill to help pay for his training and degrees including his master’s degree and his CISSP. Currently, he is on staff at ISC2 as our Lead Exam Content Developer.
As a self-proclaimed high school kid who only knew how to play a Nintendo before entering the Air Force, Damon says, “I learned a ton throughout my military career, always saying yes to the next opportunity. I never knew where it would lead me, but after leaving Active Duty, I was more than prepared to handle the challenges ahead.”
Marylyn R. Harris, CC, RN, MSN, MBA, joined the United States Army in 1981. She was one of less than 5% of enlisted women at the time. Ms. Harris served as an Army MEDIC (91B), an X-Ray Specialist (91P) and a Practical Nurse (91C). In 1990, Ms. Harris deployed to Saudi Arabia to support Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. She served as a night supervisor in an ARMY field hospital and worked in the Intensive Care Unit with wounded allied service members and POWs.
After the Gulf War, she completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing, a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing as well as an MBA. In 2010, she started the country's first Women Veterans Business Center where she trains women veterans to start and grow businesses. She was honored in 2013 by President Barack Obama for her national advocacy work as a woman Veteran “White House Champion of Change.”
In 2018, Marylyn started studying cybersecurity. She is proud to hold the ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity certification. She is currently enrolled in a master’s degree program in cybersecurity management and studying for the ISC2 CISSP.
Ms. Harris says, based on her experience and career, “Nurses make great cybersecurity professionals.”
Terence “Terry” Dutton, CISSP, PMP, is the Senior Exam Content Development Manager at ISC2 and stresses that it is never too early to start thinking about and planning your transition whether you have a four-year or 30-year career. Terry said, “Having the experience, certifications and education helped me secure my first post-military position, which I had lined up two months before my actual retirement.”
During his 23-year military career, he worked in three different career fields: Inventory Management Specialist, Supply Systems Analyst and Communications-Computer Systems Controller where he had cybersecurity responsibilities as part of his assigned duties across all three.
Around ten years into his military career, he began paying attention to job postings. He suggests that others do the same and take note of what the listings are looking for in reference to experience, education and certifications. He completed his bachelor’s degree in information technology before officially retiring and continued his education using the Montgomery GI Bill and Post-9/11 GI Bill to earn multiple master’s degrees, the CISSP, and other certifications. He says that the process for reimbursement was fairly easy; just submit the form and exam results. “You don’t even have to pass the exam to get reimbursed,” he says.
Knowing how much his CISSP certification positively impacted his career, Terry says “I wish I had known about ISC2’s CISSP certification earlier in my military career.”
Bill Clancy, CISSP, CCSP, CEH, CISA, CRISC, CISM, responded to our request for ISC2 member feedback for transitioning veterans and he encourages others to always continue to develop themselves. “Gain the proper skills, certifications and clearance for open positions,” he says. He spent many years in Department of Defense contracting roles and now that he’s retired, he mentors others.
If you are looking to follow in these Veteran’s footsteps by using your military benefits to further your career such as receiving ISC2 training and reimbursement for ISC2 exams, please visit https://www.isc2.org/training/us-government and reach out for assistance from our dedicated team. We have an Army Veteran on staff who has first-hand experience going through this program and ready to help you on your journey. ISC2 has a long history of working with the U.S. government and serving those who have served their country.
While looking to earn your next certification or wanting to connect with other veterans and active-duty military, be sure to connect with your colleagues on the ISC2 Community Military Group.
Thank you again for your service.