BACK

Veterans in Cyber Security

Prior to working as a Security Operations Centre (SOC) Analyst for DigitalXRAID I served in the military for 8 years. During that time, I didn’t use computers apart from personal use and basic office use. I was computer literate from school and college but had no cyber security knowledge. So how did I become a …

  • 24 Jun 2019
  • Thomas Clarkson
3 min read
Veterans in Cyber Security

Prior to working as a Security Operations Centre (SOC) Analyst for DigitalXRAID I served in the military for 8 years. During that time, I didn’t use computers apart from personal use and basic office use. I was computer literate from school and college but had no cyber security knowledge.

So how did I become a SOC Analyst?

To leave the Military you must carry out a 12-month notice period. This gave me one year to decide what I was going to do when I left, and how I would execute a plan to succeed. I started researching careers and specialisations in computing and found career paths that suit my skills and experience. SOC Analyst and Penetration testing were the key routes that stood out for me due to the physical security experience, which assists when planning red teaming exercises, or when talking about human error and how important physical security is in a cyber security context. Whilst routes such as Infrastructure, networking, IT support, and intelligence were available my skillset was more appropriate to other areas of IT and cyber security.

I set clear goals to achieve what I needed to do. With so many qualifications out there and so many niche areas of cyber security it wasn’t easy. I needed to get a baseline knowledge of all routes and jobs before choosing.

I discovered a route of qualifications I could do that gave me a basic knowledge of all areas, including those I had no intention of pursuing, to give me an understanding of the cyber security landscape.

With this new understanding I began completing all the basic qualifications I could. I watched tutorials, completed short courses, and attended events. From here I focused on security related qualifications, such as CompTIA Security+, to help build that core knowledge. In my opinion, anybody with this qualification can undertake a basic role in cyber security, either in a junior position or as a trainee, but should study for and push towards the CompTIA Cyber Security Analyst qualification (CompTIA CYSA+) or CREST Practitioner Security Analyst (CPSA) and CREST Registered Tester (CRT) if penetration testing is what you want to do.  The last qualification I studied for was my CREST CPSA qualification. This was the first real challenge due to the vague syllabus, NDA surrounding the exam and the content, and the vague notes for students provided on their website.

It was at this point that an SOC Analyst job came up with DigitalXRAID. I applied and was invited for an interview. After I applied the company told me I would have to complete a technical assessment. As a self-taught individual I was worried. I had no previous hands on experience and the idea of sitting an assessment with a professional company was incredibly daunting. What if they ask me to demonstrate something and I have no idea how to do it? What if I come across too nervous? If it doesn’t go well what do I do now? Everything I knew suddenly became inadequate, and the last 12 months of studying, configuring, and lab work I had done felt like it wasn’t enough.  Fortunately, I aced the assessment and proved to myself that my hard work had paid off.

The next stage was a personal interview. Again, as a person with no previous SOC experience I was concerned.

Little did I know that I had two key factors working to my advantage. The first was that I had been driving my own career. I had no employers providing training or telling me to pass any exams. I had to actively study for and pursue the qualifications I gained through my own efforts. This is a mindset you don’t often develop through normal education. The second factor was all the things you don’t get from having certificates, but from life and work experience. I had discipline. I was organized. I was punctual. I was well presented. I had all the transferrable skills that make veterans excellent people to integrate into a company.

As you can tell from this post, I was successful. And now my journey continues with more work, more studying, and more effort to ensure I am not complacent with my career.

If your journey is just beginning, I offer you this advice: Set realistic goals and timelines. Study often but not to excess. Think about what style of work suits you (does travelling to carry out audits/ penetration tests work with your lifestyle, kids etc.) And most importantly, believe in yourself.

Find out more about our Security Operations Centre

Blog Details
  • 24 Jun 2019
  • Thomas Clarkson

Newest Articles.

View all
  • 29 Aug 19

    Why Cyber Security Needs To Be On Your 2020 Road Map

    Read Article logo
  • 27 Aug 19

    Careers: Lead Generation Executive

    Read Article logo

Get a Quote

Click below and we’ll send you a quote as soon as possible.

quote-form-pattern
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Contact Us

Click below and we’ll send you a quote as soon as possible.

quote-form-pattern
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Step 1 of 4 - Let’s get started

25%
  • Thanks for your interest in working with us. Please complete the details below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Close ×
price-popup-pattern
Close ×
price-popup-pattern
Close ×

Step 1 of 3

33%
  • Cyber Essentials Basic Pass Guarantee - £750

    Your Details

price-popup-pattern
Close ×

Step 1 of 3

33%
  • Cyber Essentials Basic Pay Monthly - £79 pcm

    Your Details

price-popup-pattern
Close ×

Step 1 of 2

50%
  • Cyber Essentials Plus - Get a Quote

    Your Details

price-popup-pattern
Close ×

Get In Touch

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
price-popup-pattern
Close ×

Get A Quote

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
price-popup-pattern
Close ×
price-popup-pattern

Buy Cyber Essentials

price-popup-pattern