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News: Cybersecurity expert shares career opportunities with Roane State students

News: Cybersecurity expert shares career opportunities with Roane State students

Cybersecurity expert Rob Ashcraft Sword & Shield Enterprise Security discusses career opportunities with Roane State students.

March 6, 2018

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

In this era of online hacking and ransomware, jobs in cybersecurity are booming and pay extremely well, an expert in the field told Roane State Community College faculty and students.

Rob Ashcraft, with the state’s largest firm of its kind -- Sword & Shield Enterprise Security of Knoxville -- recently gave an overview of the various positions available in the profession.

The demand for those jobs is growing 350 percent faster than other information technology positions, and those with the appropriate certifications can make as much as $55 an hour.

“I think you made a good choice,” Ashcraft told students now enrolled in Roane State’s new cyber defense program, which was launched in the fall 2017 semester. “It’s a great career, and it’s a lot of fun.”

While saying there are a lot of cybersecurity jobs, Ashcraft cautioned that there is also a lot of competition for those openings.

Roane State will be expanding its offerings in cybersecurity next fall with a technical Middle College degree program in that field at Oak Ridge High School, said Dr. George Meghabghab, the college’s computer science coordinator.

It will be the first time Oak Ridge High students will be able to participate in the Middle College program, where they can graduate with a high school diploma and a Roane State associate degree at the same time, Meghabghab said.

Ashcraft called cybersecurity jobs “super interesting and challenging,” especially with the ever-changing threats to online security. He said potential jobs range from deploying software to conducting security audits to finding vulnerabilities in computer systems and “showing companies how they can be hacked.”

“The threat landscape changes daily,” Ashcraft said. “You are always wanting to be educating yourself. Never stop learning.”

Ashcraft offered tips not only on landing a job in cybersecurity but in getting hired anywhere.

He stressed universal maxims for a successful job hunt – having a dynamic resume, taking whatever internships are available, using networking opportunities, and dressing for success in job interviews.

Ashcraft said employers are “looking for people that are driven, who can get things done.”

Meghabghab said students interested in the college’s growing cyber defense program can visit They can also contact him at or 865-354-3000, extension 2121.

Roane State cyber defense courses include digital forensics, network security, programming, and designing firewalls to protect computer information.

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