Teens learn about careers in cyber security at Fort Meade
By Fort Meade Public Affairs
Jul 23, 2018 at 1:45 PM
Judson Lyons, a cyber security expert with 20 years of experience in cyber intelligence, spoke to students about the growing field recently at Fort George G. Meade.
He also discussed why Department of Defense organizations, like the National Security Agency and the Defense Information Systems Agency, are eager to hire young adults with cyber skills.
“We wanted to give students an opportunity to gain a basic knowledge and understanding of cyber security, [and] receive information about credentials, certification and positions that exist within cyber security,” Andrus said.
Lyons, a DoD contractor at DISA, told students he took his first computer coding class in seventh grade and that he has had a passion for math, science and technology ever since.
“The cyber field is continuing to develop and it can be a career path,” Lyons said. “I take a lot of pride in what I do.”
When Lyons enlisted in the Army in 1998, he worked as an information systems operations analyst in information technology.
He retired a decade later and his career path led to the National Reconnaissance Office, DISA, U.S. Cyber Command and the Department of Justice where he worked in IT security, cyber intelligence and threat detection, and strategic cyber operations.
Defending The Nation
During his presentation, Lyons showed a short YouTube video on Stuxnet, the malicious computer worm that threatened Iran’s nuclear facility in Natanz in 2007. The documentary “Zero Days” about Stuxnet was produced in 2016.
“Cyber security is a part of our daily life,” Lyons said. “Just as you (can) protect people, you can kill people. That’s why we need people like you fighting the fight.”
Young adults who are interested in entering the field may not need to earn a college degree to land an entry-level job.
Lyons has earned nine certifications and continues to keep abreast of professional requirements for the field.
“Anybody can do it; you just have to invest the time,” he said. “The road map can get you to where you want quite quickly.”
Andrus said an entry-level job can earn a high school graduate a salary of $50,000 to $60,000.
Lyons, who disclosed he earns a salary upward of six figures in addition to his Army pension, said the field of cyber intelligence offers competitive salaries and the chance to serve the nation at a critical time in its defense.
During the seminar, Garrison Commander Col. Tom Rickard told students they live in a military community that offers more opportunities in cyber security than anywhere else in the world.
Rickard said Fort Meade is the nation’s platform for information, intelligence and cyber operations.
“There are people in China, there are people in Russia that study what is going on here in Maryland,”he said. “We want to make sure you have the advantage. I’m very very proud of your moms and dads that are doing all this for a living because they are keeping us a lot safer than you know.”
As a side note, Rickard warned teens to be careful when they use their cellphones, Snap Chat, Instagram and social media.
“If your parents are involved in the NSA or Cyber Command, you are of great interest to some of our enemies,” Rickard said. “Be careful and listen to your parents. Each of you are very special and you’re related to a special community here. I want to keep you safe — that’s my job.”
Encouragement And Inspiration
Connor Iden, son of Col. Curtis Iden and Lt. Col. Amanda Iden who work at DISA, said he was impressed with Lyon’s presentation.
Joshua said he wasn’t sure if he would use his knowledge of computer science and programming to work for the military, but he would like to explore using these skills in the field of medicine.
“I want to start a business creating small robots to help people with their problems,” he said.
Joshua said small robots could help doctors perform surgery or help patients rehabilitate through physical therapy.
“Robots are a lot less intrusive,” Joshua said.
Lyons said he hopes he inspired the teens to pursue cyber careers.
“I wanted to give them the encouragement and inspiration,” he said. “They can profit not only financially, but personally as well.”
Executive transitions through SFL-TAP
Even sergeants major with 30 years of service could use some transition tweaks as they prepare for their next career.
That’s one of the reasons why Fort Meade’s Soldier for Life — Transition Assistance Program has put an executive transition assistance program in place for senior-level military members who are preparing to re-enter the job market.
“Our ETAP is specifically designed to provide appropriate services to our senior personnel who tend to have multiple skills and experiences, and tend to be interested in entering the employment marketplace at the managerial and supervisory level,” said George Matthews, Fort Meade SFL-TAP manager.
“Additionally, the networking among this group provides a tremendous value-added experience. We believe it’s making a difference, and numerous feedback data validate that belief.”