VA's Latest Benefit: On-Demand Cyber Training

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A DHS online school is offering vets cybersecurity classes as the number of open cyber jobs and jobless veterans grows.

Your hacked credit card account could be the ultimate beneficiary of a relatively new perk the Homeland Security Department is offering former service members.  

A DHS online school is providing vets classes in malware analysis, mobile security and ethical hacking, among other subjects, as the number of open cyber jobs and jobless veterans grows. The lessons are available on demand, so veterans can progress through the training at their own pace.  

The need for cybersecurity experts is increasing 12 times faster than the current U.S. job market, according to a Veterans Affairs Department blog post advertising the courses.

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Through the DHS Federal Virtual Training Environment, veterans also can take preparatory classes for professional certification tests administered by ISACA, (ISC)2 and CompTIA.  

Cyber pros typically can command six-figure salaries.  

"Veterans can sign up for an account through the Hire Our Heroes website and follow instructions through to verify veteran status and register for a FedVTE account," VA officials said in the post.  

The cyber skills e-learning program is co-sponsored by Hire Our Heroes, a nonprofit, veteran-run organization that aims to employ the country's millions of out-of-work vets and service members close to retirement.  

The DHS school is not the only no-cost information security training program targeted at vets. For example, VetSuccess, run by the privately operated SANS Institute, promotes itself as a hands-on academy that supplies the technical skills required to land current openings.   

"One of the veterans in the first cohort had offers for $30,000-$40,000 help desk jobs," SANS Institute Research Director Alan Paller told Nextgov in an email Friday. "He applied for VetSuccess, got in and did well in the training and certification exams. Now, he is choosing among three offers in the $70,000 to $100,000 range."

Earlier this year, internet security firm Solutionary partnered with SANS on a six-week training program for qualified veterans who promise to work for the company at least two years.  

Classmates in Solutionary's customized sessions "are ready to perform effectively on day one," Paller said. "They need intrusion detection skills as well as knowledge on exploits and how to find them and eliminate the attackers."