The last job interview that Tom Marsland, who has served in the U.S. Navy for the past 21 years, had was when he was a 16-year-old high school student applying to McDonald’s. Now on his final tour of duty before retiring in 2024, Marsland, like the approximately 200,000 military members in the United States separating from the armed forces every year, is facing the transition to the civilian workforce. VetSec, the nonprofit he leads on a volunteer basis as chairman and CEO, not only helps veterans prepare to find jobs, but works to put them on a cybersecurity career path.
With so many open positions in cybersecurity, Marsland says it’s both an opportunity and a good fit for veterans. “It's a great way to match the mission-oriented thought process of military members to accomplishing and defending something to cybersecurity, where that's a very similar mindset,” says Marsland, who serves as a technical program manager/information systems security officer, currently stationed in the Seattle area.
Founded in 2019 by two veterans, Heath Adams, CEO and founder of TCM Security, and Elliot Chernofsky, a senior reverse engineer at Google, VetSec accepts members of the U.S. military and friendly nations, both active and reserve, as well as veterans. “Our whole goal and our vision is to create a world where no veteran pursuing a career in cybersecurity goes unemployed,” Marsland explains.
VetSec provides “a chat-based platform where our members can come and share lessons learned and help each other through their military transition, he says. “And then we also partner with industry providers of cybersecurity training and make those available at low or no cost.”
For instance, through a partnership with Immersive Labs, VetSec provides access to the only Veteran Digital Cyber Academy in the U.S. This free training features over 250 labs across all domains of cybersecurity.
As an approved CompTIA Academic Partner, VetSec members receive discounted academic pricing for all CompTIA learning resources and exam vouchers as well as access to the Interactive Career Pathway Planning Tool. And through a partnership with Fortinet, VetSec members can access Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) training and all certifications for free.
Other partners include TCM Security Academy, the Center for Cyber Security Training, CyberKnights, Splunk, Evolve Security Academy, Level Effect, Coursera, and more. VetSec also puts on a yearly conference called VetSecCon.