In 2005, TechVets member and former paratrooper James Lugassy, 28 signed left the British Army to pursue civilian role in cyber security and the tech industry.
In our latest data tags to dog tags blog we catch up with veteran James Lugassy to find out what his journey into the civilian sector has been like so far.
Full name: James Lugassy
Current job title: Information Security Manager
When did you join the military? 1998
Who did you serve with? The Parachute Regiment
Why did you decide to leave? To pursue a career in the private security industry overseas.
Once you’d signed off, how did you feel? I felt confident I was making the right decision. It was time to move on.
How did you tackle the resettlement process? What was your plan? I didn’t have much of a plan. Back in 2005, the resettlement process was really just a month’s long Close Protection course and a couple of days of CV writing skills.
Did you always want to pursue a tech career? No, but I’ve always been interested in tech and have always been an early adopter of new technology. I was computer literate to a high standard before joining the Army in 1998 and always tried to remain current.
What did you enjoy about the military? The adventure, the excitement, and the comradery.
What qualities did it give you to survive in the outside world? Self-confidence, a sense of self worth and a great work ethic. An ability to prioritise getting the job done (to a high standard), and never having a mindset of being slave to restrictive working hours.
Do you regret leaving the military? No. I loved it, but I’ve never looked back.
What were your main concerns when you were leaving the military? I didn’t have any. Because I loved the military, I saw it as a safety net to go back to if civilian life didn’t work out. I never had to, but knowing that gave me the confidence to make the jump.
How has TechVets and the community supported you? A year ago, I decided to re-train as a security and risk practitioner. I could no longer ignore the growing threats found in the cyber domain, I joined TechVets, it was my first introduction to the cyber industry.
The more I spoke to the other members and the more free training I undertook through the TechVets community made me realise that I wanted to move into a tech career full time. I started to understand that good Cyber Security came down to strong risk management, and realised I wasn’t as out of my depth as I first thought. The community not only reassured me that side-stepping into the industry was achievable, but also provided me with the training and advice that I needed to move my CV in a direction that fitted my end goals (the cyber domain is massive, so it’s good to understand it and take a focused approach to joining the industry).
What advice would you give to people in the military who are considering leaving but are too scared to go through the seven clicks to freedom? If you enjoy your career now, but are intrigued as to what civilian life has to offer, give it a try. The worst case scenario is that you still have a career you enjoy to come back to.
What are you doing now? Thanks to the help and advice of the TechVets team, combined with a year of studying and test taking, I have managed to side step from risk management into cyber risk management as an Information Security Officer.
What training or advice would you offer to others embarking on a similar resettlement journey? Understand your strengths and how they offer some of the experience relevant to the various cyber positions and then and build on those, as opposed to starting over.
For instance, my background in risk management gave me a lot of the experience needed to move into governance, risk and compliance (infosec), as opposed to starting over as a SOC Analyst (for instance).