Faculty Spotlight: Thomas Byrne (Cybersecurity Program)

Part of what makes Coleman University so unique to San Diego is the incredible faculty that we have on our campus. Technology and its development are not pastimes for our faculty; their careers and passions are built around it. We sat down with one of our Cybersecurity instructors, Mr. Thomas Byrne, to talk about his passion for technology and teaching. Hopefully we can show you something new and exciting about your instructors!

Mr. Byrne (far right) stands with his First Robotics Team at the Central Valley Regional in March of 2016. This photo was taken after the team had secured a spot in a semi-final for the second time that month!

1.So, Mr. Byrne, what drew you to technology and network security?

I grew up with technology and thinking back here are some of my memories: I was literally amazed at my first RED Led watch in the mid 1970’s as well as PONG, which I had hooked up to my TV. I thought to myself “this is the future, these digital readouts.”  Then one day in 1982 my father, who worked at McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach as a Branch Chief Engineer, brought home a Compupro 8/16. It ran CP/M off of 8-inch floppies. One of my favorite games to play on the computer was “Colossal Cave Adventure,” which was a text based adventure game that made you visualize the world you were exploring. I spent a lot of time exploring that cave and one day I got stuck in the cave and actually phoned the author for a game hint in the help file. That was cool, knowing that I could phone the creator of the game. The hint was “Did you get the axe? Did you throw the axe at the Minotaur?” Ooops! I also read a lot when I was a kid, and I eventually came across tech magazines in the electronics store. I read an article and found out that you could punch a hole on the back of that huge floppy to make it double sided; it was so exciting to learn that I could double my storage!  I learned to program in Assembly, which meant manipulating the CPU stack, and I watched my dad write code to track expenses and even predict when airplanes were flying overhead as they landed in LAX. I also received my HAM radio license back when you had to learn Morse code and was communicating with people in Japan and Germany… so that’s how I sort of got hooked on technology, it was my fun time. As for network security, I like to be secure and wanted to learn how to maintain my systems against threats. I saw all the virus activity and did not want to lose my data, so I researched how to stay safe online and really liked understanding how the hackers think and what motivates them. I also learned how vulnerable this technology is, and I wanted to do something about it.

2.How long have you been teaching at Coleman? What inspired you to become a teacher?

I was hired as an Instructor in August of 2010. Before that I was a corporate trainer for Luxottica. I always was someone who could learn and then explain almost any topic and gain insights on it. I really like helping people understand difficult concepts in cybersecurity. This is a huge positive, as a lot of the material can be difficult until you understand it. I try to make it easy to understand, so that my students can remember the material down the road and make use of that knowledge. I try my best to cut through the noise to the essence of what’s really important to know.

3.Do you have a piece of advice or information that you want all of your students to know before they graduate?

There is a job for you, as the world certainly needs trained cybersecurity professionals. It will not be handed to you though. One piece of advice I have is to be very flexible in your careers and gravitate to the areas that interest you. Learn everything you can about security and technology; we live in amazing times and the whole world is going through a digital transformation right now. The world needs your help, so study hard and keep up with all the changes in technology and security. The Internet is a great human resource, so use it; learn how to find good sources of information and never stop learning. It’s very important to learn to interact with others in a positive way and become a good communicator. Be a positive person. Technology is hard for many so help them understand it.

4.Where do you go for the most accurate and up-to-date information on what is happening in technology?

I take advantage of my commute time and listen to podcasts. I’ve got my podcast apps, and I can tie into any podcast out there. I listen to Google, Apple, Microsoft, Security Podcasts, etc. It really comes down to about five companies that are at the head of technology development. It is all interesting to watch and hear, like a big game to see who will come out with the next trend.

5.What are some basic tactics that you would recommend to the public, who may not be fully aware of online cyber risks?

First of all, don’t believe in total privacy online. If you’re on the Internet regularly, you are not doing it privately. If you’re using the Internet you’re going to be in some database somewhere. In regard to keeping your own computers and other devices secure, try not to click on links that you don’t recognize, use two-factor authentication whenever possible, have a password manager for your personal emails and other log-ins, keep up with the news, and don’t go to websites that you can’t verify. Most importantly, don’t allow any action on your devices that you do not personally approve. So if an email comes up with a link that you do not know, reverse it, call the company directly and ask if they contacted you. You need to initiate the connection instead of assuming a provided link is good.

6.What are you involved in outside of the classroom that involves technology development?

Well, I am a mentor for First Robotics. My son wanted to start a robotics club at his high school with two friends, after seeing that other schools around the city, such as Hi Tech High had them. They started a robotics team for Mission Hills High School in San Marcos. I met with them and let them know that I wanted to help out, so I met all the parents of the other students and we worked together to start a robotics team. It’s a lot of work! You have to form the team, and it costs about $4000 to compete in these competitions, so that takes a lot of fundraising. You’re given parameters like the weight of the robots, which has to be 120 pounds, and the cost, which has to be less than $4000, and so on. So you need to get sponsors. We got started in the robotics competitions in San Diego four years ago, and our first project was a defensive robot which was required to have the ability for aerial assist. In that first competition we placed 23rd out of 60 teams, which was pretty high for a rookie team, considering that some of the other teams had been doing this for at least ten years. From there we ended up going to St. Louis to compete, because we won Rookie All Star; we were up against teams from across the nation, but there are also about 30 countries that do this every year as well. Right now there are about 6,000 teams globally that are a part of this competition. We were up against the best and that motivated us to come back even better the next time. So in the following years we have been semi-finalists in both the national and international competitions. This year we were semi-final and quarter-finalists. There are a lot of scholarships attached to this, so students can get money from Boeing and other companies who are looking for engineers to sponsor. Our team is so successful because we have so many mentors who specialize in every aspect of building and implementing.

7.What is an up and coming technology or technology trend that you are really excited about?

Well people like to say that my head is in the clouds, because I am so invested in cloud computing! This is the next paradigm shift in major technology. A cloud service run by major corporations like Google and Microsoft provides the advantage of a powerful storage facility, with massive processing power, and servers that can shift their computing power to adapt to any situation. In regards to hacking, people are going to start seeing the value of the cloud, because it offers more security at less expense, and it is consistently updated. The ability to share and store information will connect the world and give everyone access to technology.

 

We want to thank Mr. Byrne for taking the time to tell us about himself and his passion for technology. Keeping students motivated and engaged is a full-time job and there is a lot more beneath the surface here than you might think. Join us again next month for another spotlight on our incredible faculty at Coleman University! If you would like to know more about First Robotics and the team that Mr. Byrne is mentoring follow the links below.

https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc

https://www.facebook.com/team5137/

 

Tips for Developing a Well-Crafted Resume

This post was written by the Director of Career Services, Robert Sweigart in preparation for the upcoming Job Fair, on March 28, being hosted on our campus. Thank you to Mr. Sweigart and his team for working so hard to help our students find their dream careers! Contact your Career Services adviser for help with your resume, or email careerservices@coleman.edu.

At Coleman University, our diverse student population includes those seeking their first job, returning veterans, students interested in changing careers, and individuals returning to the workforce after a leave of absence. What they all have in common is the need to create an appealing, professional resume that catches an employer’s eye.

Today, employers spend only a few seconds on each resume they receive. Therefore, employees need to develop a resume that differentiates their work background from the competition. Coleman’s career services advisors work one-on-one with students to provide personalized professional development services, and our experience shows that when it comes to resumes, one size does not necessarily fit all.  There are requirements and recommendations that we have for each of our programs. What suits your resume is not guaranteed to work for your peers. The basics of a resume are the same, however each resume is unique. If you need help updating your resume or would like to have it reviewed make time to visit your Career Services Advisor as soon as possible so that we can help you get into the career you really want.

Candidates should thoroughly read the job description and tailor their resume to the needs of the company. Is the company interested only in candidates that hold a specific degree or certification? Does the company require candidates to submit a portfolio of their work? At Coleman, our graphic design and game development and design students are encouraged to refine their portfolios and post them online, so that they are easily accessible to employers. You do not need to bring an arsenal of technology and handouts to go with your resumes, but keep in mind that employers will search for your name online and it is pertinent to ensure that what they find will not disqualify you as a candidate. Update your portfolios, websites, or any other digital media that you curate, before you begin submitting resumes.

Keep in mind that many large and small companies utilize applicant tracking systems to assist in their recruiting efforts. These systems search for key words in your resume to add to their database. It is important that candidates include those key words from the job description so that they are not automatically disqualified before they even meet with an employer.

What other aspects should be considered when writing a resume?

  • Formatting is important. You may want to research resumes from peers in your field to determine whether there is a certain outline that should be followed, or speak with a career advisor. Use (but don’t overuse) bullet points. Avoid graphics, large blocks of single-spaced text, and varying font sizes.
  • Proper grammar and punctuation is critical. There is no place for slang words in a resume. If you have questions about grammar or punctuation, check out grammar books from the local library, view online sources, or seek out a career advisor or trusted friend for advice.
  • Place name, phone number(s), address, and e-mail address in the top left-hand corner. Create a professional e-mail address and take a professional photo for social media sites.
  • Write a succinct profile that highlights work experiences and the skills you have to offer an employer. This profile should entice a hiring manager to read further.
  • Resumes no longer include an objective. Instead, we recommend students write a summary of their skills, using bullet points to identify all the relevant abilities that pertain to the job for which they are applying.
  • The work experience section of the resume should include dates of employment in reverse chronological order, the name of organization, the physical location of the employer (city and state), the title of the position, and description of work responsibilities. Under each position, emphasize specific results generated (how you reduced costs, increased sales, overcame a challenge) and use action verbs.
  • Maintain a simple and direct resume. Do not exaggerate your experience or your qualifications as that is a good way to put yourself in a work situation that you may not be ready to handle. Be honest and concise with the information that you put onto your resume as it sets the tone for what an employer can expect from you as a potential employee, including your work ethics.
  • The Career Services Department strongly suggests avoiding using a template for your resume. Downloaded or borrowed templates are not guaranteed to look the same after they are sent off and employers will notice immediately if you have sent in a template resume, which will not work in your favor.

If you experienced a gap in employment due to illness or caring for a family member, be prepared to give a short response that explains the situation. Business Insider gives 3 tips for addressing a job gap: be honest and upfront, consider doing volunteer work or taking relevant classes, and, explain the skills acquired while you were out of work. Gaps in employment are not necessarily viewed as negative if it can be explained how time away from the workforce has strengthened your background as the perfect candidate for the job.

  • The education section should include the name of the institution, dates attended, and degree or degrees earned. Remember to include the major, minor, and important certifications. Make mention of academic awards if they are applicable to the position. Include a GPA if it is higher than 3.0, or if you do not have previous work experience.
  • Veterans are often concerned how to transferring their military experience into civilian terms. Many skills gained in the military, such as organization, leadership, responsibility, and technical ability can be easily translated to a civilian job.
  • Make sure that you include everything that an employer asks for with your resume submission, which may include a cover letter. The Harvard Business Review suggests a list of important cover letter aspects that will make your resume stand out. The Career Services Advisors at Coleman are here to help you with drafting your cover letters. Again, it is important that you make time to speak with them as soon as possible in order to be completely prepared for your career search.

Now that you have an understanding of what to include in a resume, we recommend omitting the following information:

  • Personal information, such as age, marital status, race, or number of dependent children need not be included. Hobbies should be mentioned, only if they are applicable to the job. There is also no need to include high school graduation information.
  • Irrelevant work history and nonessential extracurricular activities should not be listed. Think of your resume as your personal “elevator speech.” Only include work experience that highlights relevant skills and experience.
  • All employers expect job applicants to have references, so there is no need to include a statement such as, “References will be furnished upon request.”
  • It has become a more common practice among employers to seek out the private social media profiles of candidates in order to gain better insight into an applicant’s background. However, there is no need to include links or information pertaining to your personal social media profiles on your resume. It can be beneficial to include a link to your LinkedIn profile, so make sure that you have updated your LinkedIn before you start applying to employment opportunities. However, that is not something you are required to provide as part of a resume submission.

While we all live in a fast-paced world, it is important to take time with the resume process. Developing a carefully constructed resume could be the difference between hiring you, or the competition, for the next “dream” job.

Coleman University Hosts Job Fair & AITP SD Career Panel Discussion

On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, Coleman University will be hosting two great career-centric events on campus!


Coleman University Job Fair
Location: Hopper Hall
Time: 4:00-6:00pm
This career fair is free and open to the public. Speak with employers in the IT industry. Dress to impress and bring plenty of resumes, pens, and your winning networking skills! Questions? Give us a call at 858-499-0202 or email us at careerservices@coleman.edu


AITP Career Panel Events (RSVP Required)
Location: Scott L Rhude Hall
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 PM – Dinner
6:30 – 7:30 PM – Career Panel Discussion
7:30 – 8:00 PM – Q&A with coffee

The Career Panel Discussion will be an exciting opportunity to learn about the present IT job market in San Diego – who’s hiring, skills in demand, training opportunities, job searching and interviewing advice, etc. It is designed for job seekers, professionals in IT and application development and for hiring managers looking to learn some tips on what other companies are doing.
REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED:
Member: $15
Non-Member: $20
Students, military: FREE (online RSVP still required)
For more information, itinerary, list of panel speakers and registration, visit: http://tinyurl.com/aitp-career-panel


 

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Work Study Positions Now Available!

This is a paid, part time position.

Gain real-world experience while attending school.

We are looking for motivated, outgoing individuals to assume an essential role in the day-to0day University Operations.

A complete job description and required qualifications can be found at http://www.coleman.edu/about/working-at-coleman.php

The deadline to apply is Friday, February 12th!

Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Apply online or drop off a resume and cover letter listing the title for which you wish to be considered with the front desk.

No phone calls please.

The deadline to apply is Friday, February 12th. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!
Footer: Apply online at Coleman.edu or drop off a resume and cover letter listing the title of the position for which you wish to be considered to the front desk.
No phone calls, please

 

Job Opportunities – H&R Block, Outerwall

H&R Block is looking to fill ten (10) Technical Support positions. No experience is required. Students within their 2nd and 3rd mods can apply. They are offering one month of full-time paid training as well and are willing to work around student class schedules day or night. The pay for these positions is $14.50 per hour. The location they would be working from is about 10 minutes away from the campus. Open to students from all programs. So far, about 6 students have been hired by H&R Block.

Outerwall (ecoATM) is looking to fill seven (7) Electronics Processor positions within the next two weeks. No experience is required. This is a full time position, 8am-4:30pm, Monday through Friday. They are located in the Mira Mesa area about 12-15 minutes from our campus. These are considered a foot in the door positions and they do have IT positions that you can move into. The pay for the Electronics Processor positions is $10.00 per hour. Open to students of all programs.

Interested students should email David Camarena in Career Services for complete details.

Job Opening: Production Artist Lead

Career Services is looking for qualified students to apply for a Production Artist Lead position at a local San Diego company.

From the listing:

A qualified candidate to work closely with our Direct Marketing and Sales teams to fulfill customer production design requests for all marketing materials. The successful candidate will edit and review multiple versions of 2 and 4-color direct mail art packages for in-house printing and mailing.

Minimum Requirements:
Must be proficient in Adobe InDesign & Acrobat. Knowledge of print production strongly preferred. Ability to work a flexible schedule with overtime as needed, complete mailing projects for our clients with very tight turnarounds and assist with various office tasks in multiple departments periodically.

Technical Skills:
Is able to learn and proficiently utilize various software and data processing programs.
Experience with Microsoft Office applications and intermediate-level traditional computer skills.
Experience with Salesforce, Illustrator, & Photoshop a plus.
Graphic Arts, Marketing or Computer Sciences majors preferred.

Work Skills:
Strong eye for detail and excellent proof-reading skills.
Ability to work independently and multi-task with solid organizational skills.
Motivated, self-starter who is able to prioritize schedules and deadlines while working in a fast-paced environment.
Maintains high levels of quality and accuracy.

Leadership Skills:
Proactively supports company procedures and processes.
Ability to problem-solve, as well as evaluate and identify potential growth and procedural enhancement opportunities.
Is able to communicate and maintain a positive attitude while working with others.
Ability to motivate diverse team members and hold individuals accountable for their performance.

To apply for this position please contact your Career Services advisor.

Job Listing – Software Developer, ASP.NET, Web Developer, & more

The Career Services Department works one-on-one with students to help turn their passion into an exciting career. The department partners with local employers to bring a variety of professional opportunities to our well qualified pool of students.

Below is a current list of open job positions. If you’re interested and would like to apply, please email your resume to Julia Katawazi, Career Services Advisor.

ASP.NET

Front-End Specialist

Housing Accounting Associate

Layout Engineer

Software Developer II

Software QA

Sr. Web Developer (Linux/Unix)