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Jacorious Smith: From Air Force to cybersecurity expert

Jacorious Smith headshot
Jacorious Smith. Photo provided by Smith.

Jacorious Smith recently separated from the United States Air Force where he worked as a bio-environmental engineering tech. During his time in the military, he was responsible for assessing chemical hazards and personal protective equipment. However, towards the end of his military career, Smith realized that he wanted to pursue a career in technology, specifically cybersecurity.

To prepare for this career change, Smith researched different degrees and found that a degree in technology would be the best fit for him. He then enrolled in Boise State’s well-known Bachelor of Science in Cyber Operations and Resilience to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to become successful in the cyber field. During the program, his first internship was an information technology internship at the Ada County Highway District, where he worked with a variety of hardware and software to identify and resolve technical issues.

Smith is currently a cyber analyst at the Boise State Cyberdome, a collaborative hub for students to get hands-on experience supporting Idaho school districts and rural counties. In this role, he is responsible for analyzing alerts using his background in network analysis gained through the cyber operations and resilience program and making recommendations. This is done using an open XDR platform to perform log analyses to monitor network traffic and defend schools and communities that would otherwise be defenseless.

Smith recently obtained another internship position at St. Luke’s Health System and intends to secure a cyber analyst role after completing this internship and graduating in the spring of 2024. When asked for advice for those looking to enter the cybersecurity field, Smith emphasized the importance of utilizing resources to upskill. He mentioned how the cyber operations and resilience program has provided him with many resources, such as VMware licenses, Microsoft Learn, Splunk and TryHackMe — all of which have helped him develop his technical skills.

One of the things Smith enjoys most about his job is problem-solving and piecing together information to understand what is going on in the cyber field. He also mentioned, “It is fun to work with different tools and technical skills to analyze various alerts during log analysis.” Smith has developed a strong background in defensive security and digital forensics, which he believes has been a great asset in his current role.

To stay connected with his classmates, coworkers at the Cyberdome and others in the cybersecurity field, Smith uses Discord. He believes that networking and building relationships with others in the industry is crucial for personal and professional growth.

In addition to his current certifications, such as CompTIA Network+ and Security+, Smith has also received credit for two courses that have helped him seamlessly transition from his prior field to cybersecurity: CPS 411 Foundational Essentials for IT Network Practitioners and CPS 412 Foundational Essential for IT Cybersecurity Practitioners. He was able to study for these certifications and pass on his own. For future cyber operations and resilience students, he said the time, energy and money spent on these certifications will pay off tremendously.

In the next decade, Smith’s goal is to pursue a career in cyber consulting, and he is currently looking to work in the government sector where he can utilize his security clearance. He believes that his skills and experience make him a strong candidate for this type of role.

Numerous current and past students with various backgrounds have succeeded in Boise State’s cyber operations and resilience program. Smith’s journey from a military bio-environmental engineering tech to a cyber analyst is a testament to his determination and passion for technology. He has utilized his investigative skills and technical knowledge to excel in his current role, and he is continuously looking for ways to upskill and grow in cybersecurity.

His advice to others looking to enter this field? “Take advantage of all available resources and to never stop learning.”

Written by Zamzam Nour.