Tyler Frank, Cybersecurity Science M.S. Student
By Ryan Schoensee
Meet Tyler Frank, a graduate student who is pursuing an M.S. in Cybersecurity Science with the College of Sciences Department of Computer Science. He chose to study at UTSA because the university has received national recognition for its cyber security program.
In 2012, Tyler joined the Marine Corps where he served for six years as a Data Network Specialist. In this role, Tyler had the opportunity to earn a Security+ Certification. This program introduced him to the field of cyber security, which piqued his curiosity to learn more and take his education further.
"The Cybersecurity Science program at UTSA is the intersection of computer programming and security practices," said Tyler. "The thing I find most interesting is how many different directions you can go in cyber security—it's an ever-changing field."
Whether it's password cracking, securing cryptocurrency or data exfiltration, Tyler's courses at UTSA have sharpened his cybersecurity skills. He is especially thankful for the courses he took under Professor Larry Clark because they gave him a strong foundational understanding in computer science, which has helped him excel in cybersecurity.
At UTSA, the Department of Computer Science hosts mock interviews where local industry hiring managers are invited to campus to meet with cybersecurity students. Tyler attended one of these interview sessions in Spring 2020 and found it to be one of his best graduate experiences because it gave him a glimpse into what it will be like seeking a job in the industry.
"UTSA has developed a strong relationship with both the private companies and government agencies in our area," said Tyler. "Additionally, the computer science department has been extremely supportive and has kept me informed of various opportunities ranging from scholarships, competitions, and presentations."
In addition to receiving a top-tier education in cyber security at UTSA, Tyler has found that the university has other benefits as well. "Being a Roadrunner has meant being surrounded by a diverse community coming from many different backgrounds. I've made a lot of friends including new undergraduates to other veterans."
UTSA was recently named in the Best for Vets Universities 2021 according to Military Times.
In Fall 2020, Tyler joined the Computer Security Association (CSA) because he was looking for additional extracurricular activities that could supplement his studies. Through CSA, Tyler participated in the 2021 Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC), a collegiate level competition where students roleplay as employees of a business that is actively undergoing a simulated cyber-attack that is performed by real industry professionals. UTSA competed in both the Regional Qualifiers and Regionals.
"I am a big proponent of stepping outside your comfort zone for personal growth. CCDC was an excellent experience," said Tyler. "It's one thing to learn about cybersecurity in a classroom, but it's very different when you are trying to complete business objectives while industry professionals are actively attacking your network or business."