Steven Elce served in the Army for 24 years, reaching the prestigious rank of Regimental Signals Warrant Officer of The Royal Lancers. Very few manage to achieve this and was a role Steven aspired to and worked tirelessly to achieve. Steven left in May 2022 and his success in the Army has followed him in Civvy Street, landing the Head of Cyber at Expleo within months of leaving.
Preparing for Civvy Street
Steven started planning early - and ensured his last post in the military was attached to a reserve unit in the area where he was going to settle. Steven explained: “This provided me with the platform I needed to integrate with many civilian sectors. The pace of life was significantly slower, and this gave me the time to network on LinkedIn and study to quantify my experience gained in the military through certifications. I spoke to a few veterans at various levels within the Cyber industry to gain more understanding, to assist in CV writing and interview techniques etc.” Cyber was always the route he wanted to follow, though he was unsure about what role he would like to pursue, applying for a number of positions from Senior Cyber Security Consultant to Senior SOC Analyst. But ultimately, hard work - and some luck paid off: “I was quite fortunate. I spent weekends, evenings and leave periods studying. But ultimately when it came to transitioning I landed a job fairly quickly.”
If you could give one piece of advice to those about to leave the military what would you say? “Start planning early, network as much as possible and you must put the work in to get the just reward.”
Journey to Head of Cyber at Expleo
Steven was promoted within months of landing a role at Expleo: “I left the military in May 2022, and joined Expleo a week later. I initially joined as a Senior Cyber Security Engineer, but was quickly promoted and given further responsibility as the UK Defence, Public Sector and Marine Lead. In November 2022, the current Head of Cyber left Expleo due to personal reasons - so this left a large gap within the team. I’d briefly stood in for this role during leave periods, so was asked to temporarily take on some of the responsibility. As the weeks progressed the responsibilities grew and by the end of January 2023, I was asked to take on the role full time.”
The role is varied - with a huge level of responsibility, which includes:
Responsible for the performance of the Cyber Team
Develop a cyber strategy
Manage a multitude of skilled engineers in rail, aero, space, automotive, defence, public sector, marine, GRC - industrial, pentester, cyber, software and network security
Nurture talents and support employee satisfaction.
Participate in large/strategic deals (supporting negotiation and delivery as required)
Deploy resources onto projects (select competences, distribute workloads etc)
Drive recruitment and growth
Principle Engineer - supporting project governance, deliverables and the Chief/Senior Engineers
Technical and Governance Lead in Cyber
What transferable military skills do you think helped you gain the role - and which of these skills do you continue to use now? “IT/OT and Telecommunications experience in the Forces I use every day. Management and leadership qualities I employ hourly. The will to go above and beyond, and self-motivation to keep going until the problem is resolved - is testament of the ethics founded in the military.”
Cyber Qualifications and Key Advice
Steven has a huge number of cyber-focused qualifications, which include: CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA CIOS, CompTIA CSIS, CompTIA CySA+ and CompTIA PenTest+ and ISO27001 LI. He recommends gaining CompTIA A+, N+ and S+ as a great starting point for ex-military personnel looking to get into cyber as it will ‘provide the platform, and understanding required to break into cyber’.
Expleo and Veterans
Steven said Expleo is a great place to work as a veteran as ‘no day is the same, and at times can be very reactive and challenging’. The dynamic environment is well-suited to ex-military personnel and there is a good cohort of veterans in the organisation already. Steven hopes to offer specific veteran training/internship opportunities to veterans this year - so watch this space. For opportunities at Expleo, search our Directory here.