IBM Taps Veterans for Cybersecurity Talent

IBM Security understands the value of the cybersecurity training many military service members receive while on active duty. Retired military veterans with this type of experience can hit the ground running and bring a unique and valuable perspective to security teams in all kinds of industries.

U.S. Air Force veteran Travis Hawker joined IBM after his active duty ended. Below, he shares insights he gained from his experience transitioning from military service to a civilian career in cybersecurity.

Advice From Veteran Travis Hawker

Throughout any military career, active duty members face many challenges. Initial military training, deployments and switching duty stations all introduce stress into an already unique professional life.

With three deployments, nine moves and one short tour throughout my career in the U.S. Air Force, I’ve had my share of stress. However, for me, nothing was more challenging than dealing with the realization that my time in the Air Force was ending and, upon retirement, I would have to transition to civilian life — a situation I had never dealt with as a military brat (child of a military member) or active duty member.

In Search of Core Values

I asked myself: What am I going to do for work? Where am I going to live? Who am I going to work for? These are unique decisions I didn’t often have the opportunity to make while on active duty. Once I was faced with the prospect of choosing for myself, I found it necessary to take a step back and determine what I was looking for in that new career.

Throughout this transition from military to civilian life, I found that the core values and principles traditionally inherent to life within the U.S. Air Force were not necessarily ingrained throughout the civilian sector — integrity, teamwork and tradition, to name a few. Finding an organization outside the military that adheres to similar values and principles became paramount to me, and proved to be surprisingly difficult.

A Seamless Transition

Luckily, having floated through a few positions upon retirement, I finally settled down at IBM and could not be happier. The team has been nothing but supportive, and my position as an IBM cybersecurity solutions representative has allowed me to work for an organization that prides itself on enabling customers to realize their goals through hard work, teamwork and putting the customer first.

I have now found a home at a world-class organization with the core values, principles and traditions I was searching for. Thanks to IBM, I was able to seamlessly transition the skills and experiences I gained on active duty to my cybersecurity career and help the Air Force solve some of its toughest problems.

Share this Article:
Joe Hamblin

Federal Chief Security Architect, IBM

Joe has over twenty-five years’ experience in security, 20 years with IBM, leading the Federal security technical solutions. He has architected and lead several significant security implementations which serve as many as 48+ million (growing to 70 – 100m) users at Federal agencies. Served in the U.S. Air Force then worked at DoD Agency, formed his own company before joining IBM. Joe chairs the IBM Security World Wide IAM Technical Community. The community is responsible for setting product directions, providing direction on product education, and integrating security standards into the IBM security product set. Joe leads the Federal Technical Standards for GSA, FICAM and NSTIC initiatives including E-Authentication and HSPD-12, FIPS 140-3, 800-131, CDM, FedRAMP and many others.