The technology and cyber security sector is rapidly growing. Currently though only four percent of veterans are working in tech and cyber, compared to 24 percent of non-veterans. TechVets first initiative, the Digital Cyber Academy, will provide free cybersecurity training to veterans, harnessing the leadership, crisis-management and problem-solving skills they have developed in their former lives.
One veteran who has travelled the path from military service to cyber security is Steve Maguire, a former paratrooper who served in Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and the Balkans. He says more direct engagement is needed between the military community and the private sector.
“There were a lot of hurdles to get over when I left the forces,” he says. “Recruiters preferred to select candidates with technical and commercial experience, rather than core skills.” Skills such as integrity, trust and loyalty that veterans possess are often overlooked by the “vulture market in recruitment” he laments.
Mr Maguire, the owner of Forces Cyber Pathways, a company working alongside TechVets to help former service personnel transition into cyber security specialists, thinks the more help the government can give, the better. “It’s not just about money,” he says, “there needs to be a change in culture”.
“There are no better practitioners of security than military people. Add the technical skills and you have ready-made cyber security experts. It’s a big opportunity being missed”