California Proposal Could Speed Veteran Cybersecurity Job Access

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Sailors stand watch in the Fleet Operations Center at the headquarters of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet (FCC/C10F) at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, Sept. 27, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Samuel Souvannason/Released)

A new proposal in California aims to eliminate red tape for veterans seeking cybersecurity jobs with the state while creating a uniform standard for all civil careers that require a security clearance.

The bill, which outlines a path for veterans to receive a preferential fast-track for cybersecurity jobs in the state, was offered in the California State Assembly by Democrat Assembly Members James Ramos and Eloise Gómez Reyes.

"When our veterans return home and seek civilian employment, it's important they know we're there for them. For veterans who have previous cybersecurity experience and have a security clearance, this bill will help them quickly transition from military service to their new career," Ramos said in a statement.

Related: Search for Veteran Jobs

California Assembly Bill 1376 would require that all state agencies, including public colleges and universities, give preference for all cybersecurity-related positions to veterans who have held a security clearance and have an honorable discharge.

Cybersecurity a Lucrative Career for Vets

Cybersecurity threats have made big news in recent years, affecting everything from hospitals to city governments.

Most recently, hackers held the city of Baltimore's computer systems hostage for three weeks. This is the second time the city has fallen prey to hackers. And in a similar incident, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center's computer systems were hit by ransomware; it paid an estimated $17,000 in bitcoins to gain back control of its system.

In 2018, there were 53 reported attacks on local and state governments. This marks a sharp increase from previous years against municipalities and educational institutions, according to Allen Liska, senior security architect at Recorded Future.

Related: Veterans Eligible to Receive Free Cybersecurity Training

Demand is higher than ever for veterans to utilize their military training and security clearance to transition to a career in cybersecurity. This bill seeks to help increase access to qualified veterans. And it makes good money sense as well. According to Glassdoor.com, a cybersecurity engineer makes an average of $129,847 annually.

The legislation has moved to the California state Senate for the final vote. If it passes, it will head to the governor's desk for signature.

-- Sean Mclain Brown can be reached at sean.brown@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @seanmclainbrown.

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