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Cyber Security Career Prep: Spotlight Department of Homeland Security

What pressing issues do you most worry about? Although the list varies among individuals, many would include the threat of terrorism at or near the top. In recent years, successive polls – including from CNNGallup, and Politico -- have shown that public concern remains high, with alarm tending to spike in the wake of new incidents.

The potential for acts of terror remains a sinister reality, but so have careers that allow people the opportunity to help our country fight against them.

cybersecurity professionalThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS), formed shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is an employer of Capitol students able to provide rewarding careers defending our country. “As a Homeland Security employee, you will help secure our borders, airports, seaports and waterways; research and develop the latest security technologies; respond to natural disasters or terrorist acts; and analyze intelligence reports,” according to the Department of Homeland Security’s website.

The DHS is a cabinet department of the United States that includes the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FEMA, The Secret Service, the TSA, the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, The Office of Health Affairs, and the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, among others. There are a number of different career paths available through the Department of Homeland Security.

“We have a lot of students that end up going into cybersecurity analyst-type positions,” said Sarah Alspaw, director of career development and student success for Capitol. “We have quite a few that end up as civilian military.”

Making the transition from student to employed professional can be intimidating, but students can rely on Career Services to help guide them to the best fit for them.

“I like to meet with students individually. I like to sit and talk with them about what their interests are, about what their long term plans are, and how an internship would fit into that. A lot of times I do encourage students to consider federal opportunities. It’s easier to get cleared and it’s also a really good baseline to have. They’ll be more marketable to contractors after they’ve had a couple years in federal service,” said Alspaw.

Career Services strives to make every effort to connect our students to the opportunities available to them. As Alspaw put it, “My job is to make connections, to understand what potential employers are looking for, and to help you with the application process; but I also bring a lot of those employers to campus to give students the opportunity to meet with them face to face.”

“We are digitizing a lot of our student services too,” she said. “With CTSP for example, which is the cyber transfer scholars program, we are live streaming some of our students into the job fair. There’s a tablet that a volunteer student walks around with to bring up to employers so that they can see the students face to face even if they aren’t physically here.”   

For more information on how you can prepare and launch your cybersecurity career with the Department of Homeland Security, or to find out more about the right career path for you, make an appointment with Career Services today: careers@captechu.edu.