Location: Allen, Texas
Occupation: Senior director of information, security risk management at Thomson Reuters
Education: B.A. from Trinity International University
MBA in cybersecurity from The University of Dallas
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I enjoy watching sports, working out and spending time with my wife of 15 years and our 6-year-old son. We have a 13-year-old dog named Emmitt who is also a lot of fun.
What initially attracted you to the field of data science?
I’m passionate about cybersecurity and I’m constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to threats, vulnerabilities and best practices. The more and more I read about big data, analytics and data science overall, the more I knew that this area of technology would drastically change the information security landscape. I wanted to get training to enhance my understanding of the field, and apply these new data science principles to the field of cybersecurity. When I heard that SMU was starting a master’s program in data science, I jumped at the chance to apply.
Why did you choose an online program?
It’s 2015, and I’m done with driving to a campus to take classes. It simply isn’t practical at this stage in my life. I also travel for my job and the SMU online classes work perfectly with my schedule. Since being in the program, I’ve attended classes while in London, England, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. That wouldn’t be possible if we had to attend classes in person every week at the Dallas campus. The convenience of the online format for working professionals is fantastic.
Were there any adjustments you had to make in acclimating to an online learning environment?
Not really. The platform that SMU uses is easy to learn and very practical. The ability to interact with the professors and classmates has been great. Additionally, the class sizes are small, so the learning environment is probably better than being in a classroom with more people. I wouldn’t change a thing.
How will earning your Master of Science in Data Science degree from SMU help you achieve your future career goals?
I aspire to be a chief information security officer (CISO) or a chief data officer (CDO). This data science program at SMU is giving me all of the tools I will need to achieve these ambitions. The statistics courses, database classes and data mining are all equipping me with the skills I’m going to need to tackle the continuing wave of big data challenges that corporations are facing. I couldn’t be more excited about my future.
How do you think data science will evolve in the future? How will that impact DataScience@SMU graduates?
Threat models in cybersecurity are going to change radically. Predictive analytics will change the marketing and retail industries forever. Insurance underwriting will also be done differently in the future. All of these fields and others will change because of data. The people with the skills in data science will be the new “masters of the universe,” if you will, because we will have the ability to make sense of all of this data. SMU graduates will complete this program with the necessary foundation in statistics, databases, analytics and information security that can be applied to any number of industries where data science is required.