Veterans bring high-value, real-life experience as potential cybersecurity employees

Johanna Wood was an armored crewman with Lord Strathcona’s Horse, a Canadian Army regiment. At first glance, Wood’s military role may seem incompatible with civilian work; there’s not a lot of call for tank operators in private companies. But Wood believes her experience working in tanks gives her a significant edge as she enters the cybersecurity profession.

“I was trained in reconnaissance, so I’m already trained to look for threats, I’m already trained to look for something that’s unusual and that shouldn’t be there. And it’s that reconnaissance mindset, looking for things that don’t belong, that I find myself drawing on [in cybersecurity work],” she says.

Wood, who served from 2007 to 2012, worked in public relations for several years after leaving the military. A full-time parent since 2017, she is now preparing for a cybersecurity career through training offered by the nonprofit Coding for Veterans. Wood initially thought about studying web development but changed course when her aptitude tests and a mentor suggested her skills and experience made her a good fit for the security profession.

Other veterans now working in cybersecurity have similar perspectives.

“I know what I learned during my time in the Army was incredibly valuable to me,” says Austin Berglas. Berglas served in the US Army for six years, rising to the rank of captain. He then worked in cybersecurity with the FBI and is now global head of professional services at BlueVoyant, where he leads incident response and forensic teams as well as consulting services.

Veterans understand discipline and

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