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The worst-kept secret in the United States’ cybersecurity industry is that there aren’t enough skilled cybersecurity workers to sustain the industry’s rapid growth over the next decade.
More than 700,000 cybersecurity jobs have yet to be filled as of last year, and that number is only expected to rise as demand for security grows worldwide in virtually every business sector. The problem has historically been exacerbated by the lack of championing cybersecurity as an accessible, learnable skill, but this month’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month theme — “See yourself in Cyber” — seems to have zeroed in on the issue. And as a veteran who entered the cybersecurity industry directly from the Air Force, I believe it’s time for my colleagues to amplify the opportunities that veterans wondering where to take their career can obtain in the cybersecurity industry.
The relationship between veterans and the cybersecurity workforce in the United States can be a symbiotic one, with each group benefitting the other. Just as the cybersecurity industry comes to terms with a talent shortage, the New York Times reported in 2020 that military veterans are 37% more likely to be underemployed than non-veterans, making the math of employing veterans in the cybersecurity industry work out in everybody’s favor.
But of course, it’s never as simple as just giving peoples jobs. Speaking from experience, it can be confusing and unfamiliar to enter the private sector after having only served your country prior. I served as an Active Duty Officer in the Air Force for six years before joining the private cybersecurity industry, having never focused on business risk, assessed financia …