TU alumnus shares career advice with Cyber Fellows - The University of Tulsa
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TU alumnus shares career advice with Cyber Fellows

Alex Janas

Alex Janas (MS ’05) recently returned to The University of Tulsa to speak to TU’s Cyber Fellows and share his experience in the cybersecurity industry. Janas is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who has built an impressive resume since receiving his master’s degree in computer science.

He spent a decade working for the U.S. Department of Defense and now is the field CTO at Commvault, a data protection and cyber recovery company. He told the doctoral students that his job is to work with company leaders to bridge the gap between cybersecurity and business strategy, explaining how they can prepare for cyberattacks because it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.”

“I think the reality is that your network is breached right now, you just don’t know it yet,” Janas said. “And if it’s not, you should still benefit from living in that space. Because if you live to that, then you will know how to react to that, and how to respond to that situation.”

Janas told the Cyber Fellows that 20 years ago he was sitting in their spot, eager to take on the industry. He shared some advice that’s helpful for students, regardless of where their career takes them.

  • First: Master the fundamentals, and don’t be tempted to move on to more advanced skills until you do.
  • Second: Learn how to communicate with people, regardless of their background or job title. Specifically, avoid using jargon or abbreviations that could confuse people. “There’s a peer that doesn’t know what you’re talking about, and they won’t ask,” Janas explained.
  • Finally: Later in your career, remember to make space for people who are coming up behind you. Give them a hand and serve as a mentor when you can.

TU’s Cyber Fellows are innovators willing to go beyond the research and start building. The fellowship is a Ph.D. program that puts students on track to solve tomorrow’s cyber challenges through an entrepreneurial lens. Learn how Cyber Fellows work with mentors to prepare to enter one of the fastest-growing sectors with the skills to succeed in the marketplace.