A Cybersecurity Success Story with a Purdue University Global Alum
Cybersecurity students are fascinating to talk with. They come from so many backgrounds. Brenda McBeath is a Purdue University Global alum who’s currently working as an IT Support Analyst. We first connected when she used Project Ares during her Master’s of Science studies in Cybersecurity Management, and we caught up recently as she begins a new IT work role.
Brenda, what got you started on a career path to cybersecurity?
It’s funny. I didn’t get my first degree until I was 42. I started college when I was younger but left to go to work because I had three children to raise. I eventually went back to school and completed my undergrad degree in Computer Science. I took a break for a year and then went back for an MBA and started thinking about next steps.
My husband and I were were victims of identity theft. We spent lots of time discussing cybersecurity and educating ourselves about cyber attacks and security breaches like the one at Equifax. We thought – this is the future. So, I convinced him that we should both pursue the Master’s degree program at Purdue Global University! We studied and finished together.
You’re working now. Can you tell me a little bit about your new job role?
I’m working in an IT role for a large company, I’m solving problems and troubleshooting issues for a software program called ServiceNow. It seems like a piece of cake after gaining experience using software like Splunk. My coworkers all seem nice, and the trainers have been wonderful. I see lots of opportunities for advancement in the organization.
Why do you think studying cybersecurity is important?
I think there’s a strong need for information security professionals right now. It’s like there’s war on information today and people want to know everything about you – like social security numbers and driver’s license numbers. We need to protect ourselves. There are businesses working to protect people and information but I believe it is also important that we educate ourselves so we can better protect ourselves, our families, and our assets.
What drew you to Project Ares?
A lot of learning in school is textbook bound and you don’t not have a chance to get practical experience. The courses at Purdue Global University were fast-paced, accelerated courses – some classes had two labs a week – but I found them fascinating because of the hands-on training with Project Ares. I could familiarize myself with new things or if I didn’t understand something right away, I could work on sharpening my skills.
I think that Project Ares also offers a lot for beginner students who don’t know anything about cybersecurity. It’s appealing and interactive. For the younger generation starting off in cybersecurity, I think this platform will teach them in a way they’ll enjoy because it really does have a gaming platform experience.
What would you like to say to people who are considering pursuing cybersecurity education?
If it’s your passion to protect stuff, this would be the field for you. If you don’t want to stagnate and you like to think outside the box, then the cybersecurity field would be a great fit because it will be ever changing, and you’ll always be learning.