Boeing Hires Six Graduating Members of Cyber Security Team
When eight computer information systems (CIS) students entered a Cal Poly Pomona-sponsored competition last year, the goal was to win bragging rights as one of the best cyber security universities in the Western United States.
They fulfilled that goal and then some.
Six of the former teammates are now coworkers at Boeing, one of the prominent defense contractors in the country. In a rare hiring move, Boeing recruited all graduating members of Cal Poly Pomona‘s cyber defense team to work in its Anaheim office. They began their careers one month after graduation in June.
“You can never have enough good people,” says Per Beith, Boeing‘s director of Global Network Operations. “With the focus Boeing has on cyber security, it was really an easy decision to hire them.”
Boeing did not have six positions open and wasn‘t looking to hire people as a team. But each team member’s resume was so strong and his knowledge of cyber security so valuable it just made sense to bring them all aboard, Beith says.
“We never expected something as good as this,” says Jarrad Sims, a cyber defense team member turned Boeing systems engineer. “In school we were friends who studied and worked 40 hours a week together and hung out 40 hours a week. Now we‘re working at the same company.”
In their new job, the Cal Poly Pomona alumni play an important role in protecting computer networks for Boeing and its clients. Essentially, they examine system weaknesses and figure out ways cyber criminals and terrorists could potentially infiltrate computer networks.
The competition the students prepared for — the Western Regional Cyber Defense Competition — tested their cyber security skills against industry experts whose sole goal was to disrupt, tamper with and damage each team‘s computer networks. In early 2009, Cal Poly Pomona handily won the
regional competition that included teams from Sacramento State and Cal State San Bernardino
— institutions that have been nationally recognized for their cyber security education.
The camaraderie they shared on the cyber defense team will surely benefit their new employer, says CIS graduate Jeff Henbest. “Because of our preexisting team dynamic, we are able to be productive employees in hours instead of weeks,” says Henbest, who now works for Boeing as software engineer.
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