Closing the Talent Gap in Security by Tapping into the Veteran Community

SecurityPal Growth Team
February 27, 2024
Closing the Talent Gap in Security by Tapping into the Veteran Community

Podcast Episode 2: Closing the Talent Gap in Security by Tapping into the Veteran Community

In episode two of “In Security” podcast, our go-to-market (GTM) leader and host, Mike Cataffo, chats with David Cross, Senior VP and CISO at Oracle, about how veterans can not only bridge the security talent gap, but also bring unique and valuable skill sets to the industry.

The cybersecurity talent gap has risen to a record high of just under 4 million despite the fact that the pool of qualified talent has grown by almost 10% in the last year. The unemployment rate for veterans is generally lower than the national average. However, many veterans find themselves working in jobs that are below their skill level.

As a veteran and CISO, David advocates for veterans who are transitioning from military to civilian roles. Here’s what he had to say about why veterans make exceptional security professionals and how organizations can close the talent gap by hiring and developing veterans.

About our guest, David Cross

David is a Navy veteran, Oracle CISO, and travel blogger. In the late 1990s, David left the military and decided that he wanted to work for Microsoft, but he couldn’t figure out how to get his foot in the door with limited civilian work experience.

He committed to investing in himself and his future, earning an MBA in Management Information Systems, while taking odd jobs to gain experience and completing Windows certifications to prove his knowledge. His hard work eventually paid off. After completing his degree, he moved to Washington and “banged on the door of Microsoft” until they hired him six weeks later.

Now, as Senior VP and CISO at Oracle, David finds himself on the other side of the hiring table, and he’s using his platform to create more opportunities for veterans in security.

Why organizations should hire more military veterans

Not only is the veteran community diverse, but veterans offer major principles and values that apply to any industry, including integrity, attention to detail, loyalty, passion, and the ability to learn and follow orders. That’s why veterans make exceptional employees when given the opportunity to learn and develop in a civilian role.

In entry-level security roles, like a Tier 1 SOC Analyst, veterans have specific skills that transfer extremely well. For example, if you’re hiring SOC roles, you need people who are focused, structured, can follow playbooks, and operate well under stressful conditions. While veterans may not have the immediate skills needed, they have the foundational experience and values to learn the job efficiently and be successful long-term.

For example, David hired an Air Force veteran into Oracle’s veteran internship program, which helps to transition veterans from military to civilian roles. After completing the internship and earning her computer science degree, was able to lead by example and successfully spearhead a program manager role in cybersecurity.

Resources for veterans transitioning from military to civilian roles

David’s number one tip for veterans transitioning out of the military is to build your network. He recommends connecting with people in the jobs or companies you want to work for. Offeri to take them out to lunch or give them a gift card in exchange for their time. This is a simple way to connect with the right people and get your foot in the door for future opportunities.

There are also resources available to veterans to help empower the right connections and ease the transition.

  • Skill Bridge is a DOD program that partners with organizations to match civilian opportunities to veterans’ job training and work experience at the end of their military duty. Skill Bridge can enhance marketability and career prospects for participating veterans as they transition to civilian life.
  • Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) provide connections and resources to veterans within organizations. However, you can find ERG leaders at the companies you want to work for to access information about employment opportunities. For example, Oracle’s Military Affiliated Veteran Employee Network (MAVEN) not only supports veterans but also their families.
  • Oracle’s MAVEN Podcast highlights veteran affiliated employees, activities, partners, and organizations. It’s a helpful resource for veterans to find motivation and actionable advice while they navigate the civilian workforce.
  • Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi offers tips and mindset shifts to help you tap into the most powerful factor of success: relationships. David recommends this book to build networking skills to help you connect, learn, and grow throughout your career.

How organizations can get started hiring more veterans

David says that the best way for organizations to get started is to learn from other organizations that have veteran programs or actively seek out veterans in their hiring process. Organizations should know that there’s already a passionate community around hiring veterans into security roles.

Reach out to veteran communities on LinkedIn or CISO communities to see who else is hiring veterans. Hiring veterans to fill talent gaps is about more than one company being successful. It’s about uplifting the entire veteran community. That’s why organizations who are hiring veterans are so willing to help out if you have questions.

Listen to episode two: Closing the Talent Gap in Security by Tapping into the Veteran Community

In episode two of “In Security” podcast, Mike and David look back at their experiences transitioning from military to civilian careers. They offer actionable advice for veterans trying to get a foot in the door of civilian security roles, including resources, networking tips, and more. Plus, they discuss how organizations can tap into the highly skilled veteran community to fill security roles.

Whether you're a veteran seeking a career in security, a hiring manager seeking to diversify your team, or simply interested in talent development, this episode has something for you.

“In Security” podcast brings you conversations and thoughts on the shifting landscape of security, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), technology, and beyond. Featuring insights from industry executives and leaders from cybersecurity and GRC, we explore the crucial strategies, trends, and stories shaping our ever evolving digital world.

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