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Cyber Operations and Resilience – A new degree for a changing world

Boise State Online’s Cyber Operations and Resilience programs equip future cyber professionals and leaders with applicable learning and skills to create holistic resiliency across people, processes and technology. For students interested in a non-engineering or non-computer science degree in cybersecurity, our Cyber Operations and Resilience (CORe), offers both undergraduate and graduate options in an asynchronous, online degree program. That was one of the reasons why Kris Pruett chose it as her bachelor’s degree.

Video Transcript

My name is Kris Pruett and I am currently working towards a Bachelors of Science in Cyber Operations and Resilience.

Always in the back of my head I was like, I need to go back to school, but I don’t know what it’s going to look like. And I knew computers was what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know if there was a field for me. It didn’t exist. And then one day out of the blue, I looked and there it was.

My life has changed tremendously. I don’t think there’s a single aspect of it that hasn’t changed. I have come through this program to realize I’m not my past experiences. I am capable of great things. The opportunities that have been opened for me have been immense. I just can’t imagine not going through this program and not getting this degree. I know that it will affect my life. It will give my children more opportunities to be able to do things, but also for them to see their mom pursuing her dreams and being a mom. To be able to do both is really cool and that hopefully sets a blueprint for them, when they grow up and become adults and they want to chase their dreams, they’ll know that it’s possible.

I live in a small town northeast of Boise. It’s a mountain town and it’s great. Our community is so tight knit and small and you know, it’s a great place to raise kids. So it’s been really fun. I love those outdoor sports, and so I wanted somewhere where I could do that in my backyard.

You know, working in cyber and doing this program, I’m realizing that the possibilities are endless, and I don’t have to move to make those possibilities happen. Those opportunities are available so that I can continue to live in rural Idaho or wherever I want to live. I can, you know, make that work.

Diversified Work Force

What I’ve learned is that everyone is valuable in cybersecurity. People with writing backgrounds are really important. People who are good communicators are very important in cybersecurity. People who just see problems from different perspectives. People who have different backgrounds. It really comes down to we need everybody. There’s not a field that cybersecurity doesn’t touch. And so we need to have people look at the problems from every different view that’s possible.

Getting an internship was incredibly important to me. I wanted that experience. I wanted the network. I wanted to learn from people who are doing what I want to do. So I work as part of the security and analytics team. Our team is responsible to go out as senior security advisors and assess our customers’ work environments.

Cybersecurity is mission driven work

If you don’t understand what you have, you cannot protect it. And so it’s really important to look at all of those different gaps that we find. And then I am actually working as part of the audit team. Finding a career or a job that aligns with my values is really important to me, maybe more so than money or any other factors. I just want to make sure that I’m working for something I can be proud of.

What I came to learn about HP is that they really work towards diversity, equity and inclusivity. And attackers and hackers, they’re coming from all sorts of backgrounds, and you can’t fight that with one kind of person. The relationships I’ve built with my professors and having so many mentors who really want to bring up the next generation of cybersecurity professionals is unbelievable.

The students within the program have really created a community to be a part of. So it’s really cool because I’m connected to every single one of them. I can reach out and say, hey guys, does anyone know what is going on here? Or Did I miss something? And everyone is so quick to be like, hey, I’ll help out, no problem.

They really are putting students first, and you can feel it. You know that they have your back and you’re not alone.