Wednesday, March 28, 2012

UT Austin: infoSecEvaluations.setLocation(“Austin”); II

L-R: Jeremy Powell, Prof. Bill Young, Auston Holt

Jeremy Powell and I, both UT alumni, who are now information security consultants with atsec information security, gave a talk Friday morning at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin. We were guest lecturers at Professor Bill Young's Information Assurance and Security class where we presented on application security evaluations as a practical application of information security education.
Our lecture, titled: "infoSecEvaluations.setLocation(“Austin”);"focused on the real world evaluations of commercial products with security functionality. The presentation centered around products with general security functionality (access control, identification and authentication, logging, etc.) and products making use of cryptography.

How to get started in an Information Security career:
After the presentation, a student wrote to us and asked how to get involved in the industry. As a follow up, and for the benefit of all students looking to get into the field, here is a generalized summary of our personal recommendations.
  • Complete your Computer Science (CS) degree (BA/BS)
    • Take as many information security classes in school as you can!
    • Take a variety of technical computer science classes:
      specifically on databases, networking, programming (a variety of languages), etc. - don't worry about how this might be tough on your GPA, the knowledge you pick up will be an asset to you on the job.
    • Business classes:
      Use your non-CS electives to attain a business minor (or equivalent) to gain the business sense you need in your job (the UT Austin Business Foundations classes have been priceless for me).
    • Learn about auditing and assessment techniques.
  • Back up academic prowess with real practical experience:
    • Take a job in the IT industry or get involved with software development, networking etc.
    • Develop strong people skills for interfacing with customers and learn how to network.
    • Get involved with the local Austin area chapters of organizations supporting IT security, for example:
    • Consider joining a social fraternity to learn how to work with others together in a team (I am a member of Theta Chi for example).
    • Try to make it out to relevant conferences and seminars. The local ones may be the cheapest and easiest to attend. For example:
  • Follow the information security companies and people that you're interested in. For example their websites, blogs, Linked In,Twitter and Facebook. They may even be posting some jobs! 
By Auston Holt, CISSP

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