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Student Spotlight – Changing Careers to Focus on Cybersecurity

James DelFoire

James DelFiore, a recent graduate of the MPS Cyber Policy & Risk Analysis program, talks about his decision to choose Utica College for his education in cyber policy, his experience in the program, and his transition into the cyber policy field.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I am a licensed attorney living in Alexandria, VA, with my wife and two young sons.  I have practiced law for over 15 years and recently became interested in the field of cybersecurity and data privacy.  I operate as a sole practitioner in law, which means that I try to be a “jack of all trades.”

Why Utica College?

Upon talking to a few people in the defense industry and their recommendations of Utica College in this field, I contacted Utica and was impressed with the representatives upon first contact. I had researched several local cybersecurity graduate programs before settling on Utica College. The local universities did not offer a cyber policy graduate program, while one required a full weekend of on-site study each month. This requirement would be difficult for me due to having two small children and working full-time.

I liked the flexibility of the online program as well as the fact that Utica College offered a program that was policy-driven

--good for a candidate, like myself, devoid of the IT skills of a typical MS student in cybersecurity. Also, the complete online experience fit in well with what I was capable of giving back to the program.

What was the impact of the program on your career?

This master’s program was the first step of a career transition for myself into the cybersecurity and data privacy field. So far, the transition has been slow, as I am attempting to make contacts in this industry in order to transition into full-time employment. I also have a goal of gaining CIPP/US certification from the International Association of Privacy Professionals in order to specialize in data privacy/cybersecurity matters. Also, I started a blog that specializes in all things cyber in terms of national security and legal matters called, “It’s a Cyber World After All.”

Tell us about some highlights of the program in your experience.

By far, my favorite experience with the program were the two classes taught by David Smith, Cyber War and Deterrence, and Cyber Law and Public Policy. I enjoyed his enthusiasm and commitment that he brought forward in our weekly chat sessions. Both classes touched a foundation of learning that I had acquired both as a political science major and in law school. More importantly, the point-counterpoint assignments in these classes were helpful for establishing skills in presenting what we learned on a particular subject to the rest of the class in a cogent and persuasive manner.

Would you recommend Utica College to others?

I would tell any student that is considering Utica College to do their research and make sure that this program fits their career goals in the present or the future before committing to it. If the candidate has IT experience in the field, then this program is a great complement to their background. I would also recommend the program institute a week or long weekend retreat for students to meet one another during the coursework, which mirrors what the MS Cybersecurity program does.

Personally, I will always value the interactions with faculty and classmates that I made in the MPS Cyber Policy program.

To learn more about the online MPS in Cyber Policy and Risk Analysis program at Utica College, complete the form or call us at 315.732.2640 or toll free at 866.295.3106.