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Student Profile: Roger Hales, Master’s in Information Security
Assuming your organization is immune to cyber threats, likely poses a threat of its own. That’s one takeaway Roger Hales gathered while pursuing his Master’s in Information Security at CityU. Roger, a former cyber security architect at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, enrolled in the program after it was recommended to him by a co-worker. The online format allows him to continue working while getting his master’s, and he’s able to apply skills he learned at CityU to projects at work surrounding threat assessments, network intrusion detection and computer network defense. Here’s what he had to say about his experience at CityU.
City University of Seattle (CU): Can you tell us a little more about yourself? What did you do before enrolling at CityU?
Roger Hales (RH): I graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology and a minor in physics. Immediately after graduation I started working as a cyber security architect for a well-known and prestigious employer, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). A majority of my past and current projects deal with information security, and it’s an area where I envision a long-lasting and enjoyable career. I’m pursing CityU’s Master’s in information Security in order to gain more experience and knowledge in that arena. I want to learn how to maintain networks more efficiently, and learn more about industry best practices.
CU: What made you decide to enroll in CityU?
RH: I chose CityU because they offered an online information security program, which I first heard about from a former co-worker who recommended it to me. As a professional in cyber security/electrical engineering, this degree is a great way to continue my education and become better-rounded in the field. This master’s will help me reach my educational and career goals, and the flexibility of the online format allows me to take courses even with my busy work schedule.
CU: What stands out to you as something you really enjoy or appreciate about the MS in Information Security?
RH: I liked the broad range of courses offered in the program and the depth blocks (emphasis areas) you can choose from. I really liked that the program was not test-focused, but is focused more on application. As a student you research information and do your weekly reading, and then apply what you have learned in discussion questions and papers. Participating in the discussion question every week gives you the ability to learn more about information security from other classmates and your professor.
CU: Would you recommend CityU’s Master’s in Information Security program?
RH: Yes, I would recommend CityU’s Master’s in Information Security as it gives you a good understanding of information security and it’s certified to meet the National Training Standard for Information Systems Security (INFOSEC) by the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) and the Information Assurance Directorate at the United States National Security Agency (NSA). Also, the flexibility of the online program gives people the ability to work and go to school. Furthermore, I liked that the program is more application-focused than test-focused.
CU: Have you been able to apply what you’ve learned at CityU directly to the workplace?
RH: I have been able to get managers to think about information security, as some managers believe there aren’t cyber threats to their organization. I believe not thinking about cyber threats is, in itself, a cyber threat to your organization. I have offered recommendations to managers to help improve information security in their organizations. As a cyber security architect at PNNL I was able to apply what I learned at CityU to PNNL projects. I was providing analyst and system administrator services by conducting technical analyses related to information operations and cyber security for the PNNL Cyber Technology and Analysis program, while developing computer hardware suites, tools, technologies and reports for policy and technical audiences. I ensured that correct training methods are being developed based on assembled systems and unique design. I fostered best results by providing detailed evaluations of assembled systems for training, administered threat assessments, network intrusion detection, computer network defense and secure network architecture in support of the PNNL Cyber Technology and Analysis program clients.
CU: When will you graduate and what are your plans once you’ve obtained your degree?
RH: I plan to graduate in the fall of 2015. After I graduate with my Master’s in Information Security I plan to purse security auditing and security analyst positions to help organizations better protect their assets and critical infrastructure.