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Security Technologies Graduate Says Degree Program Reconnected Him with His Passion | Technological Leadership Institute

Posted on
December 22, 2015
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“MSST was a gateway back into what I was doing in Kenya. I am where I am now because of [the MSST program.] It made me better at what I do.”

Phelix Oluoch was working in IT as a security consultant in Kenya when he moved to the United States in 2011. He worked as an IT engineer, field service technician and data security analyst with various organizations in the Twin Cities, with a goal of landing a position where he focus on what he enjoyed most: cyber security.

Oluoch joined the 2015 M.S. in Security Technologies (MSST) cohort to strengthen his security subject matter expertise.

“MSST is holistic. We not only learned the technical skills but the soft skills,” Oluoch explains. “A lot of the technical training you learn on the job as you go, but there’s not much training in the field as far as those important soft skills.”

One year later, Oluoch was hired as a cyber security analyst with United Health Group, where he worked for six months monitoring security, performing network analysis and responding to threats.

His well-rounded education helped Oluoch transition to his current role as a senior information assurance engineer for global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin in Houston, Texas. He says the skills gained from the cyber-related electives in the MSST program are applicable in his current role – monitoring and analysis, computer forensics, and threat intelligence.

Oluoch already has an MBA, but says his master’s in Security Technologies has put him several steps ahead in the security industry.

“Not many people have a master’s degree in my field, they either have a bachelor’s degree or maybe a certification. They go to a weeklong boot camp, study for an exam and pass. The MBA is about business management, where, in MSST, you’re using security resources to manage current and probable security issues. It’s focused on security concerns.”

In the future, Oluoch is looking forward to becoming a U.S. citizen, and he wants to work on earning Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certifications. He also wants to encourage more people to join the growing security technologies industry. Overall, Oluoch is thankful for what he learned in the Security Technologies degree program because it provided him with preparation for real-world experiences.

“MSST taught me how to talk to superiors and explain technical things in plain English. Communication is huge. It has to be timely and through the right channel. I also learned how to interact with others and time management. These outweigh the technical skills. I apply these all the time. My job relies on it.”

The demand for security technologies professionals like Oluoch is higher than ever before. According to Careerbuilder.com, there are more than 20,000 open cyber security-related positions in the U.S. Attend an information session to learn about admission requirements, meet program faculty and to find out how a Master of Science in Security Technologies degree can prepare you to lead in this field.

MSST is holistic. We not only learned the technical skills but the soft skills. A lot of the technical training you learn on the job as you go, but there’s not much training in the field as far as those important soft skills.

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