Hometown: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Program: MS Cyber Intelligence
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2023
Cause I am passionate about: I am determined to support and advance cybersecurity in my home region, as it is still in its early stages.
The deciding factor was that the University of Dallas had been designated a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) by the National Security Agency (NSA) for the last 20 years. Since the program of study aligns with the NSA requirements, I was confident that the covered material is up-to-date, the quality is high, and the instructors are industry experts.
I aim to continue working in the industry, gain enough experience to become confident in my knowledge and open a free online school in my native language.
Currently, I’m employed at Signet Jewelers as a Security Engineer. Signet Jewelers is a retailer of jewelry and owns different brands, such as Zales and Kay Jewelers. My daily responsibilities include helping the company manage newly discovered vulnerabilities and reducing the attack surface. Working while in school is a unique opportunity to combine knowledge with practice. My journey has been full of “a-ha!” moments when a topic from the Network Security class aligned with a unit from the Data Protection class. I must confess that these experiences are satisfying since I realize that the sleepless nights I spent studying were absolutely worth it.
There will never be a moment when you could say, “This is the end, I know it all, and I am an expert now.” Ask questions, research, study, and most importantly, challenge! You will be surprised how many things are outdated in our industry, and I’m not talking about legacy apps.
Meeting like-minded people.
I joined the program with experience in pentesting, cloud security, and SOC. However, my knowledge was scattered, and I struggled to connect the dots. The classes taken at UD allowed me to look at the industry from a different perspective. Instead of trying to take smaller bites from many different paths, I got a more holistic view of cybersecurity. I realized that an efficient security system depends on many gears working together, and it is our responsibility to find and install the missing components. Once I started my full-time job, this perspective allowed me to transition faster and more efficiently.