RAF CAREER AND TRANSITIONING INTO CIVVY STREET
As well as commendations throughout his RAF career, Ryan was deployed to numerous locations around Greece, Cyprus and the UK with specific Cyber security and Cryptographic focuses. Preparing for life in civvy street was a ‘jump feet first’ process as Ryan had a job offer upon leaving, but he did copious amounts of research, in terms of what market gaps he could fill, his strengths, weaknesses and what he could work on. He said YouTube and the former serving community was his main focus in his transition.
“I knew the sector of Cyber from my service, I knew that’s where my strengths were and that’s what I stuck with. So in short, yes I knew my industry sector before starting my civilian career,” explained Ryan. “The thing is, there is no shortage of roles, there is in fact a shortage of candidates. It was hard to pick a role. I did my first role (technical risk auditor) for around nine months and decided to change, but instead of limiting myself to one role, I started a company that allowed me the freedom to move in lateral directions within the sector and used each role I chose to focus my craft. The best advice I can give is try something out first. Consider your options, weigh the pros and cons, but importantly do not jump at the first offer because you think it's all you will get.”
BECOMING A CYBER ENTREPRENEUR USING TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
Ryan said it was quite the culture shock leaving the RAF, but he soon adapted and was able to focus his experience, knowledge and skills in setting up RMG Cyber Consulting. His role is now is a varied one, which he says is why he loved the military - ‘no one day was the same’: “I now run a company, which entails a lot but when I am not doing admin and running scoping calls, I focus my efforts on clients, doing various elements of engagements from road mapping, risk assessments, and security testing.”
The entrepreneur said he uses the skills he gained within his military career everyday: “My transferable skills was hands down my experience with wide ranging tools and technologies - from phones to sat comms, ability to leading teams and thanks to what everyone faces in the Armed Forces; rapid agility in the face of new challenges, adapting and learning quick. I use every skill I learned in the RAF in civilian life except donning a gas mask, shooting a rifle and sweeping hangers - occasional office hovering aside.”
Ryan holds a number of cyber qualifications, including numerous qualifications in pen testing, digital forensics, all of CompTIA’s Cyber security certifications and numerous cloud qualifications, Azure and CISSP.
EX-MILITARY PERSONNEL AND CYBER SECURITY
Ryan believes ex-military personnel are well-suited to roles in the cyber industry, because: “The training, the skills and the pace – no where else in the UK can you get so much experience from such a high threat tier environment, especially not the mix you get as no one is ever stove piped in the military. You go where needed so that adaptability is an amazing resource to tap into. With everyone of our veterans I know I can trust them to get the job done without hand holding or chasing. It just gets done.
Why is RMG a great place for veterans to work?
Ryan said: “Well, we are owned and run by veterans, we know the struggles of adapting, what it's like coming from MoD to civilian life, the bantershock is incredible – having an understanding of people's pasts but above all their value, you don’t get that with most employers. We care about people first. Veterans are our driving force. So we make sure they are looked after.”
RYAN’S TOP TIPS FOR VETERANS LOOKING TO GET INTO CYBER
And finally, we asked Ryan for his top tips for ex-military personnel looking to get into cyber - and he has given some fantastic advice:
Don’t down sell yourself – you are more experienced than you know.
Don’t fork out for a training course that costs thousands when reading the book is all it requires to sit the exam.
Be flexible in your approach to learning – invest time in your career.
Don’t be fooled by job security – the most secure jobs in the world you’ll end up hating your first role after the MoD in 6 months to a year will be history.
Don’t take the first offer, scout around – you are a valuable asset.
Make sure your employer pays for certifications.
Be realistic – you wont leave and land your dream role, just like being in the MoD you have to prove skills but chase what you want.
Set goals immediately
Believe in yourself.
Train, learn, grow, listen, but above all else stick to the ethics!