Graduate cybersecurity student has secured his future

Contact: Amy Coughenour

Justin Scott is ready to begin the next chapter in his career story with a master's degree in cybersecurity. (Photo by Liz Haskin)

KALAMAZOO, Mich.After spending seven years at Western Michigan University, second-year master’s student Justin Scott is eager to dive into the world of cybersecurity and turn his education into an employed position as a professional security analyst. Originally beginning his academic career as a computer science major during his first year of undergrad, he quickly became interested in the business side of the industry. Learning that cybersecurity was taught by both WMU Haworth and the College of Engineering and Applied Science, Scott found his home.

“I always liked computers, how they work and function and I thought coding was cool,” Scott says, explaining how he first got involved in his passions. “I then took an interest in the more defensive side of things like protecting computers from viruses and other forms of malware. That turned to more of a focus on whole network infrastructure, on top of understanding how computers work.” 

There have been many programs to become familiar with to get the edge on competitors after graduation, and Scott has been mastering them all.  

“To work in cybersecurity, you need to be familiar with networking concepts and gain exposure to the tools and concepts that you would be using once actually in the field,” he says. From foundational topics to various models and rules to follow—all these things and much more were introduced to me through the multiple labs, assignments and tests that I have taken. 

After graduation, Scott anticipates working in a security operations center, monitoring company networks and launching investigations into potential threats. Being able to target these concerns is incredibly important in Scott’s industry, but he’s also been able to have fun in the process. 

“Playing around with the tools that you will use in the workspace has been a favorite part of the program for me. All you’re really doing is using many tools, each doing their own thing, but working together to improve your company’s security posture,” he says. “Being familiar with those tools and concepts before you start working can be a huge help in hitting the ground running." 

Scott has found a lot to take pride in throughout his time at Western. One of the achievements he’s most excited about, however, has been landing an internship at KLA—one of the world’s largest semi-conductor manufacturers. 

“I was a part of their cybersecurity SOC team in their Research and Development Center in Ann Arbor. It was a great experience and hopefully I’ll be back there this summer when I graduate for a full-time position,” he says. 

Having been involved in momentous life experiences such as joining Delta Sigma Pi during undergrad, studying for the CompTIA Network+ certification and discovering what comes next, Scott can head into graduation in April 2023 and look back fondly on the last seven years 

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