MSIS Alumni Perspectives: Success in Cybersecurity

In an increasingly digital era, it is more important than ever to understand the implications of data security in all levels of a business enterprise. It’s no wonder that careers in cybersecurity are seeing immense growth across industries, with roles such as Cybersecurity Specialists breaking into the top 10 emerging jobs in 2020 according to LinkedIn.
As Cybersecurity Awareness Month comes to an end, the Master of Science in Information Systems Program connected with two of our alumni to learn more about the diverse world of cybersecurity careers and how the MSIS program can set you up for success in the field.

Blending Technical Acumen and Effective Communication

Xiaoxian (Gavin) Wang, MSIS Class of 2020, began his post-graduate career as a Cybersecurity Engineer at Providence. He is a key player on the incident response team, taking care of firewall maintenance and configuration, investigating phishing attacks, and more. His unique role is high-stakes – when hackers enter the organization’s enterprise system, he is on the front lines working around the clock to capture them and keep the organization’s data secure.

Gavin Wang MSIS Class of 2020 Cybersecurity Engineer, Providence
This might seem like a daunting task, but part of Gavin’s success includes learning to think not only about how to protect data, but where those threats might come from. “The best way to protect an organization is to understand how hackers hack. Security is keeping the balance between the human mindset and the technical solutions on an enterprise level.”

The field of cybersecurity is surprisingly human-centric, as Deeksha Saksena, MSIS Class of 2019, explains. A Cyber Risk Consultant for Deloitte, Deeksha works in Application Vulnerability Management to identify vulnerabilities in organizational systems. She helps her clients better understand potential security threats and provides them with recommendations to remain secure.

“A challenging, yet rewarding part for me has been to bring the security perspective to clients who are viewing things from the business or developer lens. This goes beyond mere technical knowledge – it’s more about handling sensitive dialogue with client teams and the importance of instilling a culture of cybersecurity.”

In both roles, the MSIS alumni emphasized that tech skills alone do not make a successful cybersecurity professional. Whether working on the front lines or helping clients understand threats in their systems, both Gavin and Deeksha cited effective communication skills as integral to their careers.

What makes us stand out, even as engineers, is not necessarily technical skills, but communication skills. It is important to become a subject matter expert in certain topics, but we shine because of how we express our opinions or solutions and work with the team, not because we know more or better than others.
– Gavin Wang

Leveraging MSIS to Create a Career in Security

For Deeksha, the MSIS program provided the foundational cybersecurity courses to build up her technical acumen. She credits the opportunities she received to meet with industry professionals to better understand what cybersecurity truly looks like outside of the classroom. Gavin agreed, sharing that the courses in MSIS helped him understand the concept of security on a high level, but also gave him the opportunity to have conversations with senior leaders and learn more about the actual security pain points they face.


Outside of the classroom, opportunities like the annual MSIS Mock Interviews, access to Career Services, and professional development workshops help students like Deeksha and Gavin prepare for long-term careers in critical industries like cybersecurity by providing a holistic view of the importance of information systems.

Through her time as a Cyber Risk Consultant, Deeksha was surprised to see how far-reaching the field of cybersecurity truly was. She recognizes that cyber risk is in every domain, and there is so much you can do in the industry moving forward when you have the right background.

Leverage your MSIS resources – course structure, MSIS alumni and industry network, workshops being hosted, etc. Information systems is not managed in isolation – while it is good to know where you wish to grow, it is equally important to keep an open mind and learn everything this program offers holistically.”
– Deeksha Saksena


Want to learn more about how the MSIS program can prepare you for a career in fields like cybersecurity? Attend an Open House or contact us today!