Cyber Security Community Ready to Hire
Cyber Security Community Ready to Hire
The topic of cyber security is on everyone’s mind. We are so into our Internet, the young people today should be called the Internet Generation (IG). IG does not have a reality outside the Internet. Not too long ago my kids found a typewriter in the attic, and they questioned where the monitor was. What this all means is that we need to take a step back and accept the Internet technological reality. Computer advances will multiply at a rate unmatched in human advancements, this is good news. The bad news is that the Internet was designed to be easily accessible and not designed to be secure; and then we entrusted all our important “stuff” to it. Stuff like Financial systems, critical infrastructure such as; electrical grids, water systems and countless other systems too many to mention. What we are witnessing is that the solutions will come from cyber warriors obtaining their cyber experience in the United States Military. Modern employers with cyber security concerns have identified the U.S. Military is a great place to find the cyber talent so desperately needed today. Military Veterans understand that the U.S. Military the place to find your passion. With that said, it just made sense to interview a U.S. Airforce veteran who has successfully evolved as a cyber security practitioner while on active military duty, and then successfully transitioned into the cyber security civilian community job.
Brian Comperchio former U.S. Airforce, and today a cyber security manager for Booz Allen Hamilton
Brian joined the U.S. Airforce to become a fire fighter. Brian’s story is not uncommon; attending college, and working fulltime to play for classes, to pay the rent and car payment. I asked Brian “why the military?” His response was familiar to me. I had a similar experienced thirty-five years earlier when I entered the U.S. military. Brian said, “I did not know what I wanted to be in life.” “I needed the stability the military provided. There were many education opportunities through the GI Bill, and indeed a great way to pay for school later.” He went into the U.S. Airforce recruiting office, and took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) multiple-aptitude tests. This test is developed and maintained by the Department of Defense. What it does is measure a person’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential for future success. Brian scored 90%, he had the aptitude to do any job, and the recruiter suggested foreign language. Brian said he always like the language classes so he signed up to become a linguist.
ASVAB is a critical military career placement process that all the Armed Services make use of. This writer suggests taking the ASVAB prep tests offered before walking into any Armed Forces Recruiter Station. Having a score of 90% opened many of career doors for Brian. Opportunities happen in the military, such as linguist to becoming airborne intelligence linguist. U.S. Airforce schools took Brian the gambit; he learned Mandurian Chinese, and became a practitioner in Signals intelligence (SIGINT). SIGNET is intelligence-gathering by interception of signals, whether communications between people (communications intelligence—abbreviated to COMINT) or from electronic signals not directly used in communication (electronic intelligence—abbreviated to ELINT).
Brian’s role evolved to support counterinsurgency and to defeat the deadly Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat in Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Brian’s military experience translated to a civilian roll in Booz Allen Hamilton training on the same equipment Brian worked with in the Airforce. Using that experience, he leveraged a role supporting the Department of Defense (DOD) as a civilian. During this time, Brian took courses on cyber security more commonly used in the civilian world. Going back to school, the higher-education component began opening up new critical civilian career paths through the cyber security risk mitigation field that Brian works in today. He goes on to say some people think of transition from the military to the civilian world as one event. It is much more; it can be a gradually slow process on how you transition from one skill set to another, and then to an employment position you want to be in. This transition allowed Brian to fulfill the need to help people, and to support the U.S. Airforce mission. He said he really enjoys the security industry aspect. It became a simple solution to continue in this career path. Today’s cyber market as Brian points out, can take your career in many successful directions.
I asked Brian what sparked him to be successful in this career path, “what is that spark, the secret sauce that motivated your continued success?” I asked him to share with military folks beginning the transition to civilian life? Brian gives the followings advice from his own experience base to help military transitioning to the civilian world, to a career path that fulfills you. His advice has two critical parts:
- The first task is finding something you love doing, do it every day and become the best at it!
- The second task, expect to work hard for what you want, don’t expect because you have a military background, and you worked hard in the military that civilian life will be less work. The fight does not end when you leave the military.
The fight, the passion that made your military path memorable and rewarding must translate to your civilian job. You have to continue to fight for yourself and your family. People will see that in you, and that attitude and work ethic is sought out by people who desire to hire the best employees. Employers recognize that leadership quality!
In summary, never lose sight that the same hard work that contributed to your U.S. Military success can translate into a successful civilian career. Be prepared, and study for the ASVAB multiple-aptitude tests. Our Internet technological reality that computer advances will multiply at a rate unmatched in human advancements, will continue to contribute to a cyber security threat that will need an endless pool of experience practitioners to fix it. There is no reason why that can it be you! And finally, find something you love doing, make it your career, and don’t let anyone talk you out of it!
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