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Instructor Kieth Tresh builds a career in cybersecurity

When Keith Tresh first joined the military, he had no idea it would guide him to a career he felt so passionate about. There have been many stepping stones, each providing valuable lessons that would lead him to where he is today. Now, decades later, he can look back and say that he has no regrets about dedicating 17 years of his life to the exciting field of cybersecurity.

Tresh began his journey as a signal officer for the United States Army. This high-pressure position helped him develop strong communication and decision-making skills early on in his career, which served him well as he naturally gravitated towards more technical roles. He enjoyed working in information technology and diligently progressed through help desk and other networking roles.

Unsurprisingly, Tresh was eventually promoted to a chief information officer position where he began seeking out skills in network protection.

“While I was a chief information officer in the military, I got into information assurance and network protection,” he explained. This position was his gateway into cybersecurity.

Thanks to his previous work experience, Tresh was used to the fast-paced environment he found himself in and led efforts to establish strategies to oversee and manage critical IT processes. His strong leadership skills shone through, and it was not long before he was promoted to chief information security officer for the State of California.

Keith Tresh’s Impact on Boise State’s Cyber Program

Life was good; Tresh was thriving in his career and enjoyed tackling each challenge. However, he felt that it was time for a change. After two years of working for the State of California, he began to expand his horizons. Drawn to the charming city of Boise, he and his family embarked on a new adventure and relocated to Idaho.

Tresh was working for the State of Idaho when he learned about the cyber operations and resilience program at Boise State University. Tresh enthusiastically joined the team of experienced instructors. He saw it as an opportunity to combine his passion for cybersecurity and helping others grow.

As an adjunct instructor for Boise State, Tresh began developing his courses. In doing so, he drew upon the first-hand experience he had gained while working in the cybersecurity industry. This is a great advantage to students as it prepares them to use textbook knowledge in real-life scenarios.

“The curriculum that is being taught highlights the different areas of what you will actually be doing when you are in the cybersecurity field,” he said.

Risk Management in Cyber Programs

Throughout his career, Tresh has experienced the importance of managing risk and sees it as an essential part of cybersecurity. He simplifies the concept by explaining that risks must be identified, evaluated and communicated effectively to management and executive leaders.

Tresh expands on this concept and explains how risk is relevant to cybersecurity in two of his classes: Cyber Risk Assessment and Cyber Risk Management and Governance.

“Risk has been around for a long time; now on top of physical and man-made risks, there are cyber risks. In class, we look at the cyber piece,” he said.

Tresh’s courses teach students to use existing risk assessment and management frameworks. These tools offer a systematic approach to identifying, classifying and mitigating risks. While this is taught in the context of cybersecurity, the foundational knowledge of assessing risk is also a beneficial skill for navigating many of life’s inevitable challenges.

Teaching comes naturally to Tresh. He is grateful for the many mentors who have supported him through the years and is happy to step into that role for others.

“I have been teaching for a long time, and the reason I do this is to give back; I have a passion for helping people and a passion for cyber,” he said.

Advice to Students Choosing a Career in Cyber

For those considering a career in cybersecurity, Tresh suggests getting involved in local cyber programs and attending conferences regularly to stay informed on the latest trends. He strongly encourages anyone interested in cybersecurity to attend the national DEF CON cybersecurity convention at least once in their lifetime.

Tresh also urges students to pursue internships that will allow them to explore different areas of cybersecurity. This is crucial because it is a vast field with many career paths.

For example, some positions focus on operational duties such as policy-making and management. At the same time, other roles require the technical skills typically associated with cybersecurity. Exposure to the many different aspects of cybersecurity is an excellent way for individuals to discover the niche that best suits their skill sets.

Tresh loves Boise State’s cyber operations and resilience program because it offers exposure even before students apply for internships.

“The program is unique and one of the broadest and most comprehensive programs that I have seen in the nation,” Tresh said.

Learn More about Cyber Operations and Resilience at Boise State

Boise State University’s online cyber operations and resilience undergraduate and graduate programs prepare you for a purposeful career. In our increasingly interconnected world, skilled cyber professionals are vital to the safety of our economy, government and society. Learn more about our cyber bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and certificates.

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