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Master of Science in Security Technologies Degree Program Opens Doors for Security VP | Technological Leadership Institute

Posted on
June 28, 2016
Diaa Abu-Shaqra

“I have a firm belief that education is a lifelong journey. I have a desire to continue learning and improving myself.”

Diaa Abu-Shaqra is the VP, operational risk manager for a team of information security consultants at Wells Fargo, a position he’s earned after starting at the company more than a decade ago.

“I started with Wells Fargo in the early 2000s as an application systems engineer. Then I traveled nationally and internationally performing information security risk assessments for third party vendors. Now, my team supports all the corporate staff groups at Wells Fargo. We provide information security compliance and oversight for groups including HR, legal, finance, risk and marketing.”

Despite his extensive experience, Abu-Shaqra wanted to broaden his scope of technical skills in fields like food safety and bioterrorism. So when he found the all-inclusive Master of Science in Security Technologies (MSST) degree program at the Technological Leadership Institute (TLI), he says it was “a gift from heaven.”

“I wanted a master’s degree program that focused on security because it’s where the trend is going. There is a critical need for professionals in the field, and it’s a worldwide issue. The MSST program at TLI took into account my work schedule, and it had that security focus. It’s opened doors and provided me with a wide range of opportunities.”

Abu-Shaqra graduated from the MSST degree program in 2012. He said he’s been able to leverage what he learned to provide value to his company. MSST students complete coursework focused on systems risk analysis, cybersecurity, economics, law, food safety and other disciplines to investigate security technologies and related issues. They also gain skills in public policy and communication.

“The writing and communications courses are very important. You can be as smart as you want, but if you don’t know how to communicate, it’s worthless,” says Abu-Shaqra.

On top of honing his information security skills and expertise, the M.S. in Security Technologies curriculum led Abu-Shaqra to discover a new passion within the field.

“I wasn’t expecting to learn as much as I did in other disciplines. What professor [Massoud] Amin taught us about smart grids and the energy sector got me interested in industrial control systems, which is slightly different than the general IT world,” Abu-Shaqra explains. “Industrial control systems are all connected via Wi-Fi, so there are security concerns. Not everyone can understand or address those issues and the nuances of technologies that go along with it.”

Abu-Shaqra became so interested in learning more about securing critical infrastructures and industrial control systems that he’s continued his education beyond TLI.

“I have taken several courses through the Department of Homeland Security and SANS (IT security training) to nourish my skills and help with future career alignment. What I learned in the MSST program stuck with me, and it’s influenced my career path and interests.”

He encourages other M.S. in Security Technologies students, including his mentee and 2016 MSST graduate Gallo Fall, to take their education seriously because he’s seen how rewarding it can be.

“You will get out of it as much as you put in. If you put your heart and mind in it, and go above and beyond, it could transform your career and passion like it did for me.”

The Technological Leadership Institute M.S. in Security Technologies degree program exposes students to a variety of security-related sub-areas in science, technology and social sciences. Whether you’re interested in specializing in a particular area or would just like to learn more about the security industry as a whole, the MSST degree will provide you with the necessary skills to move forward professionally in this in-demand career field. Connect with our admissions team to request more information.

I wanted a master’s degree program that focused on security because it’s where the trend is going. There is a critical need for professionals in the field, and it’s a worldwide issue. The MSST program at TLI took into account my work schedule, and it had that security focus. It’s opened doors and provided me with a wide range of opportunities.

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