Class: 2018

Major: Management Information Systems

Building a Career in the World “Hottest” Profession -- Proven Success

“My CCM education, the professors and the hands-on opportunities I had gave me the right skill sets. The experience I had there definitely helped me to start my career.”

Young man in front of waterfallHaving immigrated from India to the United States at age 16, Mihir Kansagra, of Rockaway, knew in high school he would be attending County College of Morris (CCM). He was still developing his English language skills so a four-year school was not yet an option. Plus, his sister had attended CCM and he knew the college had a good reputation.

What he did not know was that he would discover the world of cybersecurity and gain hands-on experience to launch a successful career in what is considered to be the world’s “hottest” profession.

Over the next five years, Microsoft and LinkedIn predict that the global demand for information security professionals will grow to 6.38 million. Not only is the demand strong, the median pay is $99,730 and most likely to grow. The work also is challenging and rewarding, says Kansagra.

“Every day is different; there’s always more to learn and new challenges,” he says. “It’s not a matter of just checking off boxes on a checklist. You have to know information security, compliance regulations and how to solve problems.”

At age 23, Kansagra already has established a solid foundation in the field. He currently works as a security analyst at ACE IT Solutions, helping clients – ranging from investments firms, to hedge funds, to car dealerships – to secure their digital assets. Previously he worked for a defense contractor.

Kansagra earned both an associate degree in information systems and a certificate in cybersecurity from CCM. He decided to earn the certificate, he explains, because “it is widely recognized.” The CCM certificate program is aligned with National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) standards. CCM also was the first community college in New Jersey to be designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the NSA and DHS. After graduating from CCM, Kansagra went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in national security studies from New Jersey City University (NJCU).

While at CCM, Professor Patricia Tamburelli and her husband, Joe, an adjunct professor, encouraged Kansagra to join the Cyber Centurions, a student club they had formed to take part in cyber defense competitions. The first year Kansagra took part, the team came in seventh place at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. In addition to competing, the Cyber Centurions give presentations to government officials, schools and community organizations on how to protect against cyber-attacks.

With all that experience in hand, along with the guidance he received from the Tamburellis, Kansagra gained some impressive work opportunities while in college. He interned at High Tech Innovations and then was a cyber lab administrator at NJCU.

“My CCM education, the professors and the hands-on opportunities I had gave me the right skill sets,” says Kansagra. “The experience I had there definitely helped me to start my career.”