Veterans bring a ton of hard-to-find talent to the job market. Their can-do attitude, military experience and discipline make them ideal for sensitive and demanding projects. Below are a number of high paying jobs in the defense contracting industry that are a good fit for veterans.
|Job Title||Median Salary 2016*||Job Growth 2016-2026*||Applicable Military Skills/Traits|
|Information Security Analyst||$92,600||28%||Real-world cyber security experience that non-military cannot match|
|Administrative Services Manager - Aerospace||$132,810||10% (all industries)||Capable of managing complex systems|
|Logistician||$74,170||7%||Ability to complete projects in volatile/dynamic environments|
|Computer Information Systems Managers||$135,800||12%||Leadership skills to plan, coordinate and execute complex projects|
|Geographer||$74,260||7%||Big picture thinking to assess physical, political and cultural environment|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Five Defense Contracting Careers That Favor Veterans
Veterans are particularly valued in the defense contracting industry. Their first-class real-world training in complex computing and telecommunications systems gives them substantial preparation for these careers. In addition, veterans are highly sought-after for roles in logistics, planning, management, and strategy because of their training and experience.
Information Security Analyst
This is one of the fastest growing careers for veterans as cyber security becomes increasingly important. In the field of defense contracting with large amounts of top secret material, information security is paramount. The information security analyst uses a variety of resources, both digital and physical, to test the robust defenses of computer networks. They may engage in vulnerability testing through projects like ethical hacking, or they may focus on implementing defensive systems to prevent various types of cyber attacks.
A civilian information security analyst position may be an obvious choice for those who served as cyber operations officers(17A) or electronic warfare specialists(29E) and related positions. Yet, information security offers growth and opportunity to all veterans with an aptitude for computers, electrical systems, electronics and coding. In addition, veterans tend to do well in the industry because they are comfortable in the culture and have respect and appreciation for the importance of security. Many already hold high-level security clearances, which can be necessary. A bachelor's degree is typically required for these positions.
Administrative Services Manager - Aerospace
For those looking for a challenging and highly paid career, administrative services manager could be a good choice. Veterans may want to particularly consider the aerospace industry, where companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Bell design and build the weapons of tomorrow. Those who take on this position shoulder a great deal of responsibility, since it is the administrative services manager who plans, coordinates and oversees the actual production of complex high-tech products. The manager must be comfortable with a variety of project manager software systems, as well as budgets and timelines..
Planes, rockets, satellites, helicopters and drones are incredibly complex products. Hundreds of thousands of pieces go into every one of them, often uniquely designed for a specific craft to very narrow specifications. The administrative services manager coordinates the entire team so that the work on these products proceeds efficiently. Veterans are a top choice for this position, given their respect for the product and leadership ability. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for this career.
Supply chains are the number one challenge for any military endeavor, making logistics a sound career choice for many veterans. The defense contracting industry requires logisticians for almost everything they do - from supplying troops in the field to ordering or procuring parts and even to guaranteeing medical supplies and personnel are in the right place at the right time.
Veterans will find that there are many opportunities for logisticians in the defense contracting industry. Some may work in manufacturing, and others work in procurement to get the more mundane items that keep military bases humming along. Veterans tend to be regarded as strong candidates due to their experience in the field and understanding of the importance of getting the right supplies to the right place. Veterans may be able to enter this career field based upon their experience alone, but a bachelor's degree is often required.
Computer Information Systems Managers
Computer information systems managers are vital to national defense and the work done by defense contractors. While high-paying, this is also a rewarding career for those who enjoy planning in a complex environment with high levels of security. The computer information systems managers are responsible for the planning, coordination and execution of information technology (IT) systems found within every company and department. It is a good fit for veterans with technical skills because they are able to work within dynamic, changing environments and can make use of their leadership skills while managing other IT professionals. A bachelor's degree is necessary to advance in this field.
Geographers provide vital intelligence for defense contractors. They have the expertise and background to provide input on challenges and opportunities in regions all over the world. Geographers have deep background knowledge about particular regions, and they are also expert researchers. They help defense contractors plan and prepare for the physical environment that a product or an operation may face in the field, as well as the political and cultural expectations. For instance, a geographer may call attention to the timing of typhoons in a particular area that might shut down operations for months, or a national religious custom that interrupts business or operations. It is the geographer's job to alert the team to those unknowns that can hurt or help a mission.
This is an ideal career for veterans who are interested in researching countries all over the world, diving deep into the political, culture and resource issues. Veterans are valued in this position for their field experience and critical thinking skills. Mission-critical research is the order of the day, and geographers help to put that information together. A bachelor's degree is required in this field.