Riverside City College cyber security instructor gives talk about careers within the field

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By Tim Lewis
Skip Berry, Riverside City College cyber security instructor, talks to RCC students in the Business Education building room 108 on Feb. 21 about the importance of online security. Mia Magaña | Viewpoints

There are nearly 17 billion devices connected to the web as of right now. It is projected that by 2020 another 20 to 30 billion devices will be added to the global network.

This means that every one of those connected devices, from your phone to your smart refrigerator that tells you when you’re low on milk, are open to being attacked by hackers who threaten to compromised  a system that holds so much of our own personal information.

While this threat is a very real one it also means that up to two million high paying jobs are waiting to be filled by the American people. Skip Berry, a certified information systems security professional, ethical hacker and adviser to the Riverside City College Cyber Security Club, held a presentation on Feb. 21 to share why pursuing a career in cyber security may be the right path for anyone, no matter what their major might be.

Berry began by sharing his ideal group of individuals that he would consider to be his “Dream Team” in regards to cyber security. He spoke of business and history majors who could cover the day to day operations and follow up on trends of past attacks, while those who major in political science or English could have the skills to help detect political motives in cyber attacks or to write well written policies. He even spoke of psychology majors who could understand the thought patterns of cyber criminals. Of course he expressed the need of an IT expert on the team to handle the technicalities of the operation.

From the public realm to the private and national sector, cyber attacks are a constant occurrence, both Berry and employers like him are looking for people of all walks of life who are enthusiastic and critical thinkers willing to protect the digital infrastructure.

Besides the importance a career in cyber security holds in regards to being what Berry calls the “thin digital line,” he explains that it defends our privacy from online threats. It is also quite a financially fulfilling career as well, with a $98,000 average pay for a cybersecurity analyst.

Change is imminent and the field of cybersecurity embodies that idea entirely. The field of cyber security is extremely dynamic and is changing and transforming almost daily. Curiosity drives this profession and high skilled people are in high demand.

“A natural capacity for conceptualizing, synthesizing and solve problems is unique and special and can take you just as far,” Berry said.

There is a misconception that one would have to be good with technology in order to work with it, but it’s actually quite the contrary. One just has to be able to work in the business of it.

For those interested in pursuing a career in cyber security, RCC offers classes in multiple umbrella courses; including: Policy, Information & Network Security, Digital Forensics and Information and Communication Essentials. These classes are transferable to Cal States and other universities.

The Cyber Security Club meets Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m in MLK 205.

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