Mike Judge '19G has been interested in protecting people and institutions from threats since joining the United States Marine Corps as a 20-year-old college student. That desire to protect progressed into a career in cybersecurity, a field in need of professionals due to the growing frequency and severity of cyber attacks and data breaches. Judge is bringing new knowledge and experience to his role as a cyber security engineer at The RiverStone Group through UNH's fully online Master of Science in Cybersecurity Policy and Risk Management (CPRM). We caught up with him to hear more about his background and experience.
While we were visiting my father-in-law (a UNH alum) in Florida, he attended a Southwest Florida Alumni event where he heard Jim Ramsay, coordinator for UNH's Homeland Security program, speak about the new CPRM program. Jim’s energy and excitement for the program stood out to my father-in-law, which piqued my interest in it as well. UNH is an esteemed and well-established university, and the CPRM program seemed to mesh perfectly with the work I do currently as well as where I want to be in the future. I also thought that the online/distance learning aspect of the program was an added bonus since many of us pursuing the degree are working professionals with families.
When I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2001, I had no idea that almost 20 years later I would be established in the career field of cybersecurity. Since I joined the Marines as a 20 year-old college student, I’ve always been interested in protecting people and institutions from threats. That desire to protect has naturally progressed into cybersecurity due to the challenges we face as a society and the expanding need for more cybersecurity professionals. I’ve been fortunate to be able to pivot my career path from one focused on physical security to one that is exclusively cybersecurity. Every day that I come into work, I envision myself stopping bad actors from harming our organization or accessing the information we are trying to protect.
Every day there are elements of my job that apply to the CPRM program and vice versa. I’ve learned so much from the program that I’ve been able to apply to my current role, and ultimately my career. The program is a good mix of technical applications, legal considerations, and organizational planning as they relate to cyber security.
The people have been the most rewarding part, most notably our instructors and fellow students. There is such a broad skillset and baseline of experience that we all learn from each other, our discussions, and our submitted assignments. There is a premium placed on critical thinking, not just rote learning, and I think that is a crucial skill for cybersecurity professionals in the real world.
I hope to continue to apply what I learn in the CPRM program to my current position and any future endeavors. I think the program has and is broadening our horizons, preparing us for a multitude of experiences, and career opportunities.
UNH has built a spectacular program here with world class professionals like Jim Ramsay and Maeve Dion. You can tell from the course materials and learning modules that many hours of thought and effort were put into developing a holistic and all-encompassing program. I’ve even had unique experiences like the opportunity to meet and discuss cybersecurity challenges with Senator Hassan when she visited UNH last fall. I can also see where the CPRM program will help local institutions (both private and public sector) as students graduate and continue their cybersecurity careers in the New Hampshire area.
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