Wednesday, May 8, 2019

As a tech professional, Patricia Estrada ’20G knows the importance of securing and protecting sensitive data. Estrada works as a back-end developer and administrator for the University of New Hampshire, primarily working with the University's learning management system. While working full-time, she is also keeping her tech skillset current and enhancing her background in cybersecurity through UNH’s fully online Master of Science in Cybersecurity Policy and Risk Management (CPRM). We caught up with her to hear more about her background and experience.

What sparked your interest in the field of cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is an exciting newer field within the realm of technology and computer science. It ties in with business intelligence and the legal field in a way that makes the application of tech skills holistically relevant to the interests of any organization, and right down to the individual (I think we’ve all been a victim of a fraudulent credit card charge or a phishing attempt by this point).

The world wide web has only been in existence for about a nanosecond in the span of human evolution. It’s still very much a Wild West situation and we’re at the point where we need to start laying down the ground work to protect ourselves and each other from malicious cyber attackers. Cybersecurity is like a blank canvas and the decisions made by our generation will affect the lives of those to come.

Why did you choose the CPRM program at UNH?

The fact that the CPRM program is 100% online was a huge factor in my decision. I am interested in keeping my tech skillset updated and relevant in a time-efficient manner, which can be an arduous task when you also want to maintain a full-time job and other responsibilities. I think that the accessibility and flexibility offered by fully online graduate-level programs is a big selling point for most working professionals.

How does what you’ve learned / are learning in the CPRM program apply to your career?

I work as a back-end developer and administrator primarily for UNH’s LMS (learning management system), Canvas. We are entrusted with very sensitive data and I work very carefully to apply the best technological practices to protect it from any infiltrations.

What has been the most rewarding part of your UNH experience so far?

The most rewarding part of my UNH experience is being a part of a change and the sense of connectedness while using technology to learn. UNH Online is doing a great job of fostering a sense of community and learning with their new website and helpful communications about job fairs and meetups for those in any online program.

What are your hopes for after graduation?

I’m really interested in back-end programming/database administration and the realm of Big Data. CPRM marries very nicely with those two fields, and I think with the help of CPRM, I have found my niche and which direction I want my career to grow.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

If you’re thinking about joining CPRM or any other UNH Online program, don’t hesitate to contact them on their website! I know this might sound like a sales pitch, but I genuinely mean it. Everyone who works there is very friendly and smart, and they’re great about answering any questions you might have. Your future self and your career will thank you!