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Hiring Top Talent in Defense Tech


Thought Leader

Data Science

Companies like Anduril and Vannevar Labs team up with BreakLine to fill strategic roles within their companies—take a closer look.

Scaling any company starts with building a strong team, but recruiting in defense tech can be tricky. Most companies need candidates with a combination of specialized skills and familiarity with government and military processes. 

How to Hire Top Tech Talent 

At BreakLine, we specialize in identifying and securing those exceptional candidates. Our recruiting strategy is actually grounded in military strategy: we call it effects-based hiring. We work with companies to learn the outcomes they want and use our deep understanding of our pre-vetted talent pool to find needle-in-the-haystack matches. For example, most companies in defense tech need someone who can parse the military’s jargon and is comfortable navigating government bureaucracy—but these are rare skills among tech candidates. Our BreakLiners are unique in this way: many have insight into military and federal government customers because they previously served in the same organizations. This type of deep customer insight can be a powerful differentiator for young startups. 

We’re breaking down our work with companies like Anduril, Vannevar Labs, True Anomaly, and Pryon to show where we excel at placing candidates quickly.

Each ring in our hiring matrix represents an area where we consistently place top talent across defense tech teams and the roles and skills associated. The rings consist of the department / business unit, hard and soft skills our candidates that are in-demand for these departments, and roles that are in highest demand.

The Candidates Behind the Numbers 

When we select candidates for our BreakLine program, one of the most important qualities we look for is a track record of sustained professional excellence. BreakLiners come from a variety of underselected backgrounds: they’re women, people of color, veterans and people with disabilities. Many of them—particularly our veteran BreakLiners—are ideal fits for defense tech companies. The precise matching shows in our time-to-hire: on average we place top talent within four to six weeks, average tenure is three and a half years, and nearly 90% of BreakLiners received a high-performance rating on their most recent performance review.

Take Dan Sheets, for example. We worked with Dan to secure a role in mission development and success. He is an Air Force veteran who successfully transitioned to enterprise customer success management after completing the BreakLine program. At his first role at software company Mulesoft, he was quickly promoted to Senior Principal CSM. After leaving Mulesoft, he continued to develop his career, and ultimately came back to BreakLine when he was looking for his next opportunity. His military experience, combined with his CSM chops, made him an ideal fit for a role as Director of Engagement at the fast-growing defense tech startup, True Anomaly.

Finding high-caliber product + engineering hires can also be a pain point for defense tech startups. Candidates need technical expertise as well as an understanding of the unique processes and operational use cases seen across this subsector. BreakLiner Michael Johnson, who was hired at autonomous systems company Anduril, had both: experience building and managing everything from mobile apps to nuclear reactors for the Navy.

Finally, GTM/Sales is an area where knowledge of the customer is often non-negotiable. We have a deep bench of BreakLiners like Jenny Gerschultz, who joined AI platform and data company Dataminr after building her career in sales and as an Army officer. She now leads their Technology Partnerships and has helped the company reach new markets, penetrate the enterprise technology stack, and scale the business quickly as a result. 

Ready to find your ideal candidates? Contact our team today

© 2022 BreakLine. All Rights Reserved.
© 2022 BreakLine. All Rights Reserved.