Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The good fight

Cybersecurity experts are needed to combat a growing threat.
Inside ECPI University’s router lab.

Hackers are relentless. They have no reservations, show no mercy. Worse still, they can, and often do, perpetrate crime from the other side of the world.

Recent data breaches at major corporations such as Equifax, eBay and Anthem, compromised the personal information of hundreds of millions of innocent people. And that’s to say nothing of countless smaller businesses and organizations attacked each year.

According to the Pew Research Center, 64% of Americans have experienced a data breach. A report by the FBI indicates that in 2016, nearly 300,000 Americans reported the theft of money by someone online, totaling a staggering $1.33 billion in losses that year alone.

The vast majority of Americans’ lives are now linked to computers, and criminals have followed them online. However, there is a growing body of professionals committed to combating those who perpetrate cyber crime. Because these digital threats will only grow in the future, there are many opportunities for willing participants to fight the good fight, while being well compensated for their efforts.

One of the challenges for individuals who work in cyber and network security is that there’s not a single target for cyber crime. While many hackers aim to extort money, others want to gain access to highly-sensitive government databases or simply disrupt normal day-to-day life. Because computers are a ubiquitous professional tool, there’s a need for employees with cyber security backgrounds in virtually every field.

Dominic Frontera is a technician for Trimark Associates, Inc., a firm that provides technical expertise for electrical infrastructure. Frontera received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer and Information Science, with a major in Cyber and Network Security and a Master of Science in Information Systems from ECPI University.

Dominic Frontera earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degree from ECPI University.

Frontera’s job involves the control and monitoring of solar sites, installing systems that allow the facility’s administrators to have real-time access to information and make modifications where necessary. Security is an important component of Frontera’s work. “Solar sites are tied to the grid directly,” Frontera says. “Certain systems must have extra security, such as having better firewalls.”

Fourteen years as an electronic technician in the U.S. Navy made network security a natural second career choice for Frontera. The technical expertise came in handy, but was not a prerequisite for the degree program, because ECPI University’s hands-on learning environment is designed to build expertise from the ground up.

Frontera says that another trait he took away from his military service goes naturally with cyber-security: adaptability. Military members often possess the skill sets necessary to understand external threats from many places and “our ability to learn and to adapt to different situations helps us,” Frontera says.

Whether that flexibility is learned in the ranks or in the civilian world, it is crucial to those who are protecting against cyber threats. Especially pernicious about cyber crimes is their evolving nature, a sort of whack-a-mole threat that emerges in a new place and with a new design every time they’re defeated on one front.

To prepare students for this, ECPI University offers students vouchers that pay for the tests for professional certifications. Students who earn these credentials demonstrate competency in the rapidly changing world of cyber and network security. Upon graduation, degree holders get five more vouchers.

Students receive hands-on learning in ECPI University’s router lab.

“We foster an environment of lifelong learning,” says David Brandt, Director of Communications for ECPI University. Continuing education, especially in the field of computer and information systems, is important because hackers’ persistence demands professional development that evolves just as quickly.

Being a part of this demanding and growing field – which Bureau of Labor Statistics figures indicate has a $92,600 annual median salary – is only going to become more critical as the world increasingly relies on computers and defends against criminals who exploit digital vulnerabilities.

Jumping into this profession need not be an endeavor that takes many long years of planning and sacrifice. Students can complete ECPI University’s Cyber and Network Security Program in as little as 2 ½ years. That speed and the university’s flexibility, along with a desire to make the world a better place, clinched Frontera’s professional transition.

“My decision had a lot to do with the class schedule, which was accommodating, and the ease of using the G.I. Bill,” he says. “I wanted to start a new career, and I discovered that this was where it would happen.”

This article was sponsored by ECPI University  – A Higher Education leader in the Cyber and Network Security field. For more information on Cyber and Network Security programs, as well as other in-demand technology focused degrees, click here.

To speak directly with an Admissions Representative at ECPI University Newport News, please contact Jonathan Holt, Director of Admissions, to discuss degree and continuing education programs.

Jonathan can be reached at 757-849-0548 or


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