Faculty Recognition – Associate Professor James Taylor, MSITM, CISM
We are pleased to announce Associate Professor James Taylor, MSITM, CISM, is joining the full–time STC administrative faculty and the Program Manager for the BSCY and MSCY. James will assist Director Morgan Zantua with the Cybersecurity Club and provide an industry lens to STC’s programs.
Faculty Recognition – Interview with James Taylor
James is a veteran with 30+ years of experience in delivering Information Security Leadership and Innovation. He has an extensive background in Security Architecture & Engineering, Security Operations, Incident Monitoring & Response, Governance Risk & Compliance, and working knowledge of business processes across multiple industries, including Healthcare, Energy, Retail, and Banking.
Morgan: James, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for the STC Thursday Byte. Let’s start off by telling us about your career path that led you to accept a full-time position as a Program Manager for the STC Cybersecurity degrees.
James: I’ve been in Information Technology for over 30 years and have been doing cyber security for over 15 years. Not just a doer of cyber security and information systems services, there is the aspect of mentorship and training. This has led me to the path of teaching cyber security and then the goal to help create content and training for people.
Morgan: What’s one thing you wish you had known when you began your career?
James: One thing I wish I had known when I began my career is just how invested we, as human beings, would be in technology to enhance our lives.
Morgan: How do you continue to learn in order to stay on top of things within your current role/area of expertise?
James: There are many different ways to learn and grow in order to stay abreast of what is trending in the Cybersecurity world. First, establish a network of folks to speak and interact with, attend conferences such as Black Hat, read articles, and attend trainings. These are just some ways I continue to stay sharp and up-to-date.
Morgan: What are the security trends in the workplace that will impact STC students now and after they graduate?
James: The biggest impact in cyber security today is Ransomware. I can have a whole other segment on that!
Morgan: We hear about success, but I think it is more powerful for our readers to hear you talk about is your biggest failure (which I prefer to call your biggest lesson); can you tell us about your ‘biggest lesson’, and what you learned from it?
James: I would have to say what comes to the top of my mind is the importance of soft skills as part of IT skills. Early in my career, I failed to ‘influence a decision maker’ on a key project. I was too technical. We didn’t get the budget because my presentation was too technical for the decision-maker. It takes awareness and practice to grow and learn communication skills.
We default to what feels comfortable, and for me, that is talking and thinking technically. I learned I had to know my target audience and how to speak in terms they could understand. The sooner you recognize this and can adapt to your audience, the better your presentations will be.
Morgan: What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a technology career and advance into consulting as you have?
James: I would say know your stuff. Never pretend you know something if you don’t know it. But, take initiative and learn! Be sure to have a good professional network, of people you can learn from.
Morgan Great advice! What are the best resources that have helped you along the way?
James: My professional contacts are those trusted circle of friends and colleagues that I can rely on when I am stuck, need advice, or help with a solution or issue. You need a trusted community so you can pick up the “BAT Phone“ and call for backup.
Morgan: What is the one common myth about your profession or field that you want to debunk?
James: One common myth I really want folks to realize is this: Cyber security is more than just coding. Coding is a (tool or a skill) and not all cybersecurity careers require coding. There is a wide range of technical skill sets in cybersecurity. Finding the right set of skills and the right career pathway is key.
Morgan: What have you read or listened to recently that inspired you?
James: The book I read most recently is called “The Art of Invisibility” by Kevin Mitnick the founder of KnowBe4.
Morgan: Where can our students connect with you online?
Morgan: Thank you James for taking the time to be interviewed and we are looking forward to your leadership in guiding the BSCY and MSCY programs.