After seeing growth across the United States, Fortinet’s FortiVet program is rolling out nationwide in Canada following a successful trial in Ontario. FortiVet is designed to facilitate the transition of exceptional military service members and veterans to a career in cybersecurity.
Launched in 2013, FortiVet is designed to recruit and upskill military personnel who have backgrounds in cybersecurity, intelligence collection or physical security and who have aptitudes in technology that can be easily transferred to cybersecurity with some additional training. That way, FortiVet can build on the skills, mindset and expertise that veterans have honed in their years in the military for a successful career in cybersecurity.
But why are programs like this important to the cybersecurity and IT sector? And what will it provide for Fortinet and our partners?
Skills Shortage and Finding Cybersecurity Talent in Unexpected Areas
Canada is not immune to the global cybersecurity skills shortage. As Fortinet’s VP for global training and technical field enablement, Rob Rashotte wrote in Policy Options earlier this year, “critical roles are going unfilled, and it’s expected that organizations across Canada will need to fill an estimated 8,000 additional cybersecurity positions by 2021.”
There is no one solution – solving the skills gap requires everyone from security companies to governments and academia to work together. FortiVet is one of the ways that Fortinet is looking to fill the skills gap, with the right talent, by looking outside of the normal pools of skills.
Many veterans bring with them the mindset, skills and security clearances that positions in cybersecurity require, but which can be hard to find in a general recruitment effort. In fact, not only do many military people perform highly technical work during their service, their training also teaches them to operate effectively under pressure, take responsibility for decisions and actions that affect others, and set and meet critical objectives.
Transitioning Skills into the Cybersecurity Workforce
What’s striking is that so many veterans are unaware of how transferable their skills are, imagining that cybersecurity roles are for people who’ve spent their life training specifically for the role.
Veterans also traditionally have not learnt the soft skills needed to be successful in an interview, job application or for the job itself outside of the military world.
That’s why FortiVet has dedicated staff who are recent veterans themselves to help guide them through the program, providing them with mentoring, interview skills and office place tips. This allows FortiVet to help veterans bridge the gap between military service and success in the civilian world – while also supporting the cybersecurity sector in filling these critical positions.
In fact, the FortiVet team works to reach out to those nearing the end of their military career who could be suitable for the competitive program, keeping that flow of veterans steady to meet demand from Fortinet and our partners.
Addressing the Cyber Skills Shortage
Many veterans who take part start by enrolling in the Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) Program to gain Level 1 certification. NSE training and certification is highly sought after by many employers.
More advanced veterans can also be guided through the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and other high-level certifications, including completing all eight levels of NSE training and certification as a part of an internship with participating partners.
It’s important to note that there’s no fee associated with FortiVets. Veterans sign up for free, partners or companies seeking to hire can view current FortiVets without any cost to them. Fortinet shares resumes internally for all graduates who have met the standards of the program for employment opportunities and 71% of all graduated FortiVets end up in positions within the Fortinet-partner network.
Those who want to learn more can read the experience of one FortiVet graduate who went on to join Fortinet when the program was complete. A Q&A with Dawood Manzur, a 8-year veteran of the US Marine Corps and now a Systems Engineer, can be found here.
As the cybersecurity skills gap continues to widen, programs like FortiVet will help to bridge that gap while also providing veterans with careers in a field where their skills are needed and in demand.