Alumni spotlight: Herman Felder Jr, Ph.D.
With graduation just around the corner, we thought it would be a good time to chat with a three-time Capitol Technology graduate: Herman Felder earned his bachelor’s degree in Information Assurance, a master’s degree in Information Assurance (the Information Assurance programs are now called Cybersecurity) and most recently, his Ph.D. in Business Analytics and Decision Science.
Students taking BUS-101 Introduction to Data Science, know Herman as the adjunct professor teaching that course. This is a required course for three bachelor degrees; Cyber Analytics, Cybersecurity and Business Analytics and Data Science. Herman designed the course, and once you read his background, you’ll see why he was the perfect person to create this course.
Between working full time as a senior systems engineer at Applied Technology Group, LLC, teaching, and hanging out with his wife and one-year-old son, Roman, Herman’s life is very full. We’re happy he took the time to chat with us!
Q: Is it true that a Capitol Technology coffee mug changed your life?
HF: Absolutely! I never heard of Capitol Technology until I saw a coffee mug in my high school guidance counselor’s office. I researched the school, ended up enrolling. I met my wife at the Capitol pool table—I let her win, the rest is history—and the internship I got at a Capitol Technology career fair led to my first job.
Q: Where was your internship?
HF: My internship was with Novii Design, where I later became an associate systems engineer. I learned about cloud computing at that internship and realized that would become the next big thing. I was able to secure a senior position later in life because I stuck with cloud computing, big data analytics.
Q: Your undergraduate and graduate degrees are in cyber security. Why did you earn a Ph.D. in business analytics?
HF: I originally started in the DSc cybersecurity program but at work, my current project is more business analytics focused so the business analytics program matched my topic better.
That’s something undergraduate cyber analytics students should remember; you can branch out beyond cyber. All industries have a need to take raw data and make it something meaningful, something that can be understood.
Q: Did you earn your degrees right after each other?
HF: No. I took a two-year gap after earning my master’s degree to get my life a little normalized. I concentrated on my job, got married. Looking back, I probably should have gone straight into the Ph.D. program because it was hard to get back into study mode. It was a challenge, especially since my son Roman was born two months before I had to finish and defend my dissertation.
Q: A job. A PhD program. A newborn. How did you manage it all?
HF: First, I wasn’t really doing everything by myself. It was a group effort with my whole family. My wife, mother and mother-in-law all helped, especially after the baby was born. And second, I was super organized, I kept track of everything in a calendar and, I also made sure I scheduled some free time because you need time to decompress.
Q: Sounds like you were extremely motivated.
HF: I was driven by the fact that I am the first in my family to earn a Ph.D. degree.
Q: You teach online, but also came on campus to help your students, right?
HF: Yes, one student asked me for help and I didn’t have to be at work until later so I told the whole class I will be in the cyber battle lab between 9 and 10 for anyone who wants to meet me and get help with any of the assignments. I sat with them, saw what errors they were running into and helped them resolve the issues.
My professors were just as helpful when I was an undergrad. That’s what’s great about Capitol, there are no Teaching Assistants. I love helping these students succeed. I enjoy having a hand in shaping the future ‘me’.
Q: What other courses would you like to develop?
I would like to develop a course for Introduction to Programming using Python, as well as an advanced course in Big Data Analytics for juniors and seniors.
Q: Do you remember why you were interested in Capitol?
HF: Growing up in Delaware, I wasn’t familiar with Capitol. I was happy to see they offered a network security course, had small class sizes, and was just an hour and a half from my home town. The best part was that it’s a small school. I had looked at large state universities but I didn’t want to go to a school where I would be just a number. I developed lifelong friendships with so many people, not sure if that would have happened if I went to a large university.Tags: Cyber Analytics