CIT major Sirvaughn Hobdy ’17 found a job as a remote support engineer before graduating, joining the front line of cyber security experts keeping data safe from hackers.
Whether you grew up as a millenial or as part of Gen Z, chances are you know what a digital scam is. Sometimes it’s a badly written email asking for money to be wired somewhere, ASAP. Other times it’s a website link that just doesn’t look quite … right. Occasionally the scam is done so well, we accidentally click on the link.
When that happens, businesses call Sirvaughn Hobdy ’17 to make sure their data is safe.
“Cyber security is one of the most important fields today,” said the Smyrna, GA, native. “If you look online or on TV, the biggest thing they’re going to talk about is making sure your accounts are secure.”
After graduating in 2017 with a degree in computer information technology (CIT), Sirvaughn found a job working as a remote support engineer with Integrated IT Solutions, a cyber security support company based in Massachusetts. In his role, he helps a range of clients across the country troubleshoot issues with their networks, servers, firewalls, and anti-virus software, making sure that their information stays out of the hands of hackers.
“In the call center, I’ll take calls, triage each ticket, troubleshoot the issue, and see if I can resolve it,” Sirvaughn said. The medical metaphor is an apt one, as information leaks can devastate the health of an organization in an instant.
Help Desk to the Rescue
After taking a class titled Networks and Security his junior year, Sirvaughn knew that he had a preference for cyber security over web design.
“We were going through the basic levels of a network, and also going into security and cryptography,” he said. “Going into detail with those two aspects, that definitely caught my attention. When we started doing labs and test procedures, I thought, ‘This is really important stuff.’ ”
To prepare for his career as a tech support guru, Sirvaughn completed an internship with the Elms IT department during his senior year. With the Help Desk, he assisted faculty, students, and staff in solving their technology woes. This experience paid off, as he had a job offer in hand before he even graduated.
“Internships help you get your foot in the door,” the Agawam, MA, local said. “You’re making a name for yourself. When companies look at your resume, internships help a ton.”
On the advice of Beryl Hoffman, associate professor of computer science, Sirvaughn attended a campus career fair, where he was able to network with representatives from Integrated IT Solutions. After sharing his real-world experience, Sirvaughn landed an interview and eventually a job.
“The thing that people don’t realize about Elms is that even though it’s a small school, they have so many connections that will lead you to the best career path you want to take,” he said.
For the moment, Sirvaughn is planning on gaining more experience and diversifying his skills as a remote support engineer. While his expertise is already impressive — he and his colleagues work on Microsoft Office 365, Raiser’s Edge, Sharepoint, and other software and computer applications — he is motivated to keep honing his craft.
“As a managed service provider, we work with so many clients on a given day,” he said. “We use a lot more software than internal IT would. We work on Microsoft Office and Visual-Basic programming modules, as well as all sorts of firewalls and anti-viruses. That’s definitely a good benefit.”
Eventually, Sirvaughn hopes to become an information security analyst, or work his way up to a level 3 tech support role at his current job, handling more advanced tickets and strategizing about the best ways to protect client information.
Majoring in computer information technology at Elms College prepares you for exciting careers in the IT and business industries. Our cyber security minor offers you the chance to further specialize your skill set, too. Contact us or schedule a campus visit to learn more.