M.S. in Security Technologies Degree Program Helps Student Gain Confidence to Make Career Change | Technological Leadership Institute

Posted on
May 16, 2016
Rachel Adams

When Rachel Adams graduated from college with hopes to begin her professional career as a child psychologist, she wouldn’t have imagined just two years later she’d make a dramatic career change.

“My undergraduate degree is in psychology and religion. I spent a year out of college working as a personal care attendant (PCA) for a family with a young child.”

Feeling professionally unfulfilled by her role as a PCA, Adams realized she needed a change.

“In addition to being a PCA, I also had experience working with victims of trauma at the Tubman Center in Minneapolis. I worked in the computer lab because I had a baseline knowledge of IT,” Adams explains “I helped women troubleshoot their computers and understand information security risks, and I discovered I enjoyed it a lot.”

Adams’ general knowledge of IT security came from growing up around family friends who were successful in the fields of cybersecurity, encryption, and networking and programming. When one of them heard she was considering exploring the field, he invited her to join the team that was planning the 2014 Security BSides event, which encourages collaboration among local security professionals by bringing them together for two days of discussions, demos and interaction.

“I spent a year helping to plan this event with all these amazing people who were working in the field of security technologies,” Adams says. “I knew I wanted to make a transition into that kind of career, but I needed a master’s degree that would give me the credentials to help secure a job.”

Through the BSides event, Adams met a graduate of the Technological Leadership Institute (TLI) who encouraged her to look into the M.S. in Security Technologies (MSST) degree program. After meeting with TLI admissions staff, Adams learned MSST had everything she was looking for.

“I had an interest in forensics psychology, and I was thinking about a career with the FBI after hearing how FBI cyber analysts helped some of the women I worked with at the Tubman Center,” Adams says. “When I found out forensics psychology was incorporated in the MSST degree program, I knew it was right for me.”

For those who may just be starting out in the industry like Adams, she says the variety and flexibility of the M.S. in Security Technologies curriculum allows students to explore all aspects of security technologies.

“MSST is a good program for someone who is interested in security but maybe isn’t exactly sure what they want to do. It helps you narrow it down, and it allows you to focus on an area you’re interested in.”

Adams currently serves on the committee for InfraGard, a national organization that facilitates the sharing of information between the FBI and the private sector. She also works for Eyra Security, simplifying complex information and technical jargon for non-IT specialists. She says MSST has helped polish her expertise, especially when it comes to communication.

“Even though I have some experience in IT security, I didn’t have confidence in my skillset. MSST has helped me learn how to articulate my ideas in a way that’s professional and gets my point across.”

Adams will soon apply the skills she’s learning as an incident response intern for SUPERVALU. An MSST alumnus helped her land the position. Adams says she’s grateful for the strong network of security professionals she’s gained through the degree program.

“MSST has really helped me find what I want to do and make the connections to succeed,” she says. “The professors push you to be a better leader, and I’ve grown so much. I know my coursework in MSST is going to prepare me for this internship and beyond.”

Students in the M.S. in Security Technologies degree program come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Attend an information session to find out how a master’s degree could give you the security expertise to enhance your career.

I had an interest in forensics psychology, and I was thinking about a career with the FBI. When I found out forensics psychology was incorporated in the MSST degree program, I knew it was right for me.

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