Gaining real-world experience in cybersecurity

Gustavus Shaw prepared for a software engineering career by getting real-world experience before graduation.

Gustavus Shaw

That’s why he transferred as a junior to Towson University from an out-of-state school. (Being nearer to his Maryland family was also a plus.)

“There are so many opportunities in this area,” says the computer science major, because of the proximity to Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Turns out he didn’t have to travel to any of those cities for on-the-job experience, though. Shaw worked right on campus as a full stack developer on a software development team supported by the National Security Agency (NSA). The group was building a cybersecurity curriculum management platform known as CLARK (Cybersecurity Labs and Resource Knowledge-base) in response to the need for a repository for curricular and ancillary resources in the cybersecurity education community.

“It was a great opportunity to learn,” says Shaw. “I’ve grown exponentially, not only my skills as a developer but also as a person, learning from everyone on the team, learning to be a better leader, learning how to be a better team member.”

Lessons that served him well when he interviewed for a technology development program at Capital One, which he expects to jump into right after graduation.

I’ve grown exponentially, not only my skills as a developer, but also as a person. ”

Gustavus Shaw

Also preparing him for what he calls “life after this degree” are exciting initiatives within the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, such as visits from Microsoft and Google, and a commitment to growing a collaborative culture between students and faculty. Supportive faculty members like department chair Sidd Kaza, he adds, offer helpful academic and career advice.

The department cultivates an environment with “opportunities to grow and prepare for the field,” says Shaw, “and prepares you to be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.”

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