Let's face it — It's going to be challenging!
By Ian Malloy, August 2015
One of the most important things to expect in the Cyber Operations specialization is that you will be challenged to do your best work, every day of the week in all classes you take. Another thing that can be expected, and an expectation that is always fulfilled, is that the educators and instructors are the best and brightest in their respective fields. Each assignment is a new challenge pushing you to further your knowledge of cyber security and to develop the skills you will use immediately upon graduating. The instructors are not the only experts, but the students and colleagues working on your team or communicating with you in the forums are also experts in cyber security in their own right.
No "Busy Work" here
One of the surprises at Utica is that each class is a different area of relevance to cyber security. The assignments are not simply "busy work" to be handed in at the end of the week, but help to hone skill sets that are in growing demand. Each week requires some submission of an assignment, whether it's posting an original and thought provoking discussion question to the class, responding with insightful thoughts to a peer's post, conducting research on the most cutting edge breakthroughs in cyber security, or participating in advanced research laboratories aimed to foster both creativity and scientific prowess in your own capabilities for cyber operations, forensics analysis, or intelligence collection.
A peek at the class requirements
As a computer network/cyber operations candidate, some of the class requirements are to analyze the use of an advanced malware and zero days, while also developing a defensive plan to mitigate against them.
Computer Network Operations places you within Defense, Attack and Exploit with the purview of how to safely protect networks to keep all operations running. Computer network defense places you at the frontlines of cybersecurity, and instills within you the confidence and techniques necessary to be a successful network defender. Computer network attacks are studied in safe, lab-environments to give the student familiarity with how attacks can be successful against a network but also how to deny that success to those who would try to attack a network you may find yourself defending. Computer network exploitation is not the same as attacking, but rather shows how someone may breach the defense of a network to steal personally identifiable information or perhaps trade-secrets of a company. These are all aspects of the Cyber Operations focus at Utica College.
Prior Experience: Not Required
Many classes at Utica involve learning how to build resiliency into networks or how to be among the best in the field, but the Cybersecurity program does not assume any prior experience in computer science. This makes the program approachable to any interested in furthering their career in cyber security, making a career change to cyber security, or for those who wish to take what they learn at Utica and teach others in academia. In Cyber Operations, you can expect the best from yourself, your classmates, and your professors as you learn the mechanics of how to defend against advanced threats and attacks.
Hard Work Pays Off
Not only can you expect to be pushed to the limits of excellence in all work and studies done at Utica, you can rest assured that with the current need for cyber security professionals in the job market, you can also expect a strong career when you complete your degree.
About the Author
Ian Malloy is a NASA Space Grant Alumnus and graduated from Augustana College with a double-major in Philosophy and Psychology. He is a Computer Network Operations MSc. candidate at Utica College.