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Newcomer I

What am I worth? Leaving military, young professional.

Hello folks, 

 

I'm trying to find good salary information. I'm planning on moving to Tennessee after I get out of the Air Force. I look at job sites and the salaries range from 80,000-120,000+. I'm not sure what to ask for. Should I ask them what are they willing to offer me first? I don't want to be rude. I have my CISSP, SEC+, CEH, and GCIH. I'm completing my Masters in Cybersecurity. I only have about 6 years in the cybersecurity industry from my military experience. I'm a Joint Cyber Analysis Course graduate and I have mostly offensive experience, but some defensive too. I know my experience doesn't match the level of my certifications and education so I feel like I am worth less money than someone who has their CISSP for example because they usually have 10+ years experience. Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Thanks!!!

5 Replies
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Contributor I

Re: What am I worth? Leaving military, young professional.

I highly recommend that you use the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data at https://www.bls.gov/ if you want to know what the real data is on salaries.  

 

If you search on information security analyst with less than 5 years experience you will get to this link https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm 

 

Then you need to click on the state and area tab to see what the job pays in various states and localities because pay varies widely depending on where you plan on living.

 

When I left the military and went to find a job in 1992 no one taught me about this but I found it on my own and I learned to trust the data professionals at the BLS over pie in the sky figures you see at the varius sites or the low ball figures in many other references.  The BLS is reporting hard facts.

 

 

Respectfully,

Francis (Frank) Mayer, CISSP
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Newcomer I

Re: What am I worth? Leaving military, young professional.

Hard facts. That's what I need. Thank you so much for the advice! 

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Newcomer II

Re: What am I worth? Leaving military, young professional.

Hopefully you are off to a good start.  Most military with clearances typically look for government contract jobs. If this is the case you might be able to find some kind of general labor category pay schedule or GSA schedule which is where companies post their rates. Also understand that while in the military the actual hands on experience with technologies and systems not might quite match up in the commercial world so don't expect top rate.  If you have good experience you might not start out as high as you wanted but after a few years of what is considered proven experience you should be able to find better opportunities.  Main challenge will be location, relocation, telework/remote, and also open jobs in what you plan to do.  Typical experienced IT positions under US DOL statistics are around 80K.  Either way look at the whole package (rate, training, medical/dental, leave, travel, etc.).

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Advocate III

Re: What am I worth? Leaving military, young professional.


@bgallo_123 wrote:
 

... I'm not sure what to ask for. Should I ask them what are they willing to offer me first? I don't want to be rude. I have my CISSP, SEC+, CEH, and GCIH. I'm completing my Masters in Cybersecurity. I only have about 6 years in the cybersecurity industry from my military experience. I'm a Joint Cyber Analysis Course graduate and I have mostly offensive experience, but some defensive too. ...


Brent,

First, thank you  for serving. And congratulations on planning your transition. Over twenty-five years ago I hung up my uniform when I retired, and in six months entered the IT job market working for a contractor. Looking back, I realize I was horribly naive about salary levels and negotiations, and wish I had been more savvy on both my first and second job negotiations.  Here are some of my thoughts, based on hindsight, but not experience. As such, please take this as things to consider, not advice to act, unless it makes sense to you.

 

First, check with your security officer on how you can list your clearance on resumés. There are rules, and a right way and several wrong ways to do it. For six months after you separate, your clearance can be reactivated by a cleared contractor company or government agency without undergoing a new background investigation. That is a very valuable ticket to have in some areas. If you have any access tickets, be sure to understand the rules on when and how to acknowledge them. 

 

Nest, head to the library and read several books on salary negotiation. I wish I had.

 

Don't even think about taking salary until the company says they are ready to hire you and want to make an offer. If you ask about salary too early in the interview and negotiation process, you may get labelled as only caring about the money. Let them bring up the subject. If they try to before offering you an job, pu them off and say we can talk about money once wee know you have the right job for me.

 

Also, remember, during the hiring process, you are interviewing them as much, or more, than they are interviewing you. Research the company and be ready to ask about responsibilities, tasks, working environment, etc. 

 

Keep this in mind: They should pay you based on what the job is worth to them, not on any concept of income escalation based on your past salary history. If they ask for a salary history, consider simply telling them as a member of the Air Force it is a matter of public record, so no need to tell them a specific number.

 

Rule: the hiring person will ALWAYS try to get you to name a number of desired salary or what you most recently earned, before they throw a number to you. They want to get you for as little as possible.

 

When asked my current salary I wish i had resounded by firs asking the person in front of  me his salary, and next asking what the current salary range is in the company for the opening you are interviewing for. You have to be a bit ballsy to do that. I was not at the time.

 

Do not allow them to talk about your total income, only about what THAT JOB is worth to them. As a retiree, I was faced with the idea that they could lowball me, knowing I was already getting retired pay. That is none of their business. I realize this does not apply to you, but others may chime in on the topic.

 

Good luck!

And let us know what part of Tennessee you are considering. There should be government-related jobs that would like to see your clearance in both central TN (TVA and Dept of Energy work) and in Wast TN (FEdEx and UPS contract work), among other opportunities.

 

   

 

D. Cragin Shelton, DSc
Dr.Cragin@iCloud.com
https://CraginS.blogspot.com/
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Community Champion

Re: What am I worth? Leaving military, young professional.


@CraginS wrote:

Nest, head to the library and read several books on salary negotiation.

 

  


The lost art of salary negotiation. The truth is unless you are working in silicon valley you can't expect much to negotiate especially in a southern state economy. Having a clearance does though give you a bargaining chip...