I've really tried to commit myself to learning as much as I can before I leave the military by seeking the knowledge gained in the certification courses that I've taken (I currently hold the following certifications: CISSP, GCWN, GCIA, CEH, GSEC, GSNA, GCIH, SSCP, SEC+, CCNA Cyber OPS, ITILv3) but I'm concerned about my transition to the civilian sector. As a field grade officer I feel comfortable that I have the management/leadership skills that will be of value to an organization but maintaining my technical skills is the issue. I have been assisgned to an Information Assurance role (which may be somewhat limited as far as technical exposure is concerned) and don't believe I will get the opportunity to hone my technical skills in a production environment. I'm interested in IT Auditing, Cybersecurity Engineering and maybe Cybersecurity Operations. It was suggested that I try to find a place where I can volunteer and/or dabble in my home-built lab with virtual machines but I'm concerned that I might not be able to "talk the talk" or "walk the walk" well enough in the civilian sector. Anybody have any suggestions or words of wisdom that can help with my situation?
Thank you for your service, Reginald!
Per my understanding, you are open for two roles - 1. Compliance Analyst or similar in Compliance domain which mainly involves audit of the sector. i.e. Pharma, Finance etc. 2. Security Operations Center which involves safeguarding frontline by various tools. This involves lots of tool analysis, data analysis and configuration.
Both of above have good scope. My suggestion is to expand your LinkedIn network by getting connected to Groups based on those topics, connecting with Talent teams (you can search in LinkedIn with 'Talent' word). Big consulting firms like PWC, EY, Deloitte, KPMG have their Information Security department who may have frequent requirements.
Regarding TtT & WtW - Just like you did all along that you learned the terrain before steping in, same thing you will do on job.
With such a shortage of cyber skilled people you should not have a problem getting a job.
Our company is short dozens with your abilities.
Getting involved with the NIST group would be good and continue to learn in the area of cloud computing. Austin is a great place to be when it comes to associations and Meetups.
Heya Reginald, This may be helpful. It's a simulated hands on VMware lab:
Wow Scott. Pleasure to meet you. I will definitely keep the lines of communication open with you. Thank you for opening up and offering to assist me. I've wondered about expanding my knowledge to cloud/hybrid technologies. It's encouraging to know that "on paper" I should find some level of success but I really want to map out the best road to improve/continue my technical aptitude until I transition to the civilian sector in two years.
Reginald, your experience and Certifications are very much sought after. In Massachusetts alone, there is a vast shortage of Engineers with your qualifications, experience and desire to find your place in technology. I work at a cloud computing service provider and currently becoming a Certified VMWare Sales Professional and VMWare Technical Solutions Professional. Virtualization and cloud/hybrid cloud is the the way almost all IT organizations are heading. I'd be more than happy to keep a dialog open with you answering as many questions as I can. if I can't answer them, I have access to many Advanced Engineers who can give me answers. Good to meet you. Scott G
Louis, I've been exposed to numerous tools and software during my certification courses and I'm just wanting to improve upon using them and maintain some level of proficiency.
I commend you for taking your transition seriously and planning further out in advance than most of my clients. You are setting a great example for those who will transition after you.
As far as getting some civilian sector experience, I highly recommend three things:
1) Contact your installation's SkillBridge Program (https://dodskillbridge.com/) to learn which employers are participating in your location of choice. With your command's permission, you may be able to work for them up to six months prior to separation. If there is a specific employer you'd like to work for that is not currently participating, they can help you by pitching the program to them. As an active duty service member, you would not be on their payroll, but on the government dime. Some companies take a while to set something like this up, so start working on it soon to make sure all the paperwork is done by the time you are eligible.
2) Register with https://hiremilitary.us/. It's free for service members. They connect employers with active duty candidates who want to participate in the SkillBridge Program. It's Michael Quinn's company. He's a veteran, LinkedIn expert, Director of Veteran Programs at ProSphere, and all around great guy. Connect with him on LI to get almost-daily transition tips in your news feed. Which leads me to #3...
3) Get active on LinkedIn. Use Michael Quinn's cheat sheet (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ultimate-linkedin-cheat-sheet-michael-quinn/) to learn how to connect with recruiters and optimize your news feed. Start joining groups and engaging with people (military AND civilian) in your industry. This will help you get on the radar of companies who are going to want to hire you as soon as you hit the job market because of your experience and certifications. It's not enough to have a profile, you also need to thoughtfully engage in conversations to express your knowledge and expertise. Many potential employers will be interested in your clearance status, so extend it as much as you can before leaving the military. It saves employers a lot of money and makes you a valuable candidate.
I've sent you a LinkedIn connection request. Reach out if you'd like more tips and/or introductions to anyone in my network.
Best of luck!
I do not have quite the extensive list of Certs that you do, but I built a homelab off of items that I purchased. There is a lot of open source software and also software that is free up to a certain amount of hosts. I think it all comes down to exposure even if it is in just a homelab situation. What tools are you trying to learn to use?
Hi Reginald, I don't know what all these certs mean, but IT consulting firms may consider you as an entry level. They are always looking for certified candidates for their practice. IT security is a growing opportunity and most firms want to be in that practice. Your experience brings a level of maturity and experience which is a desirable asset in a consulting firm staff member. Texas , Austin, is a growing area for IT companies and therefore the need for security professionals is high. Try the consulting firms by sending your resume, and see what feedback you get. Most firms are looking for maturity and experience in their staff for these security positions, since they are high visibility positions.
Have fun and good luck!!
Thanks. I'll check it out Scott.
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