Cybersecurity is a high demand career in Arizona with over 12,000 current job openings.* On November 10th, ElevateEdAZ aligned with the National Careers in Cybersecurity week campaign to call attention to cybersecurity professionals’ contributions to society and innovation.  ElevateEdAZ partnered with local experts from NortonLifeLock to discuss careers in cybersecurity and the pathways students can take to get there.

Robert Shaker, Director of Product Strategy and Marketing, and Sandra Yang Scirpo, Senior Director of Strategy – Global Consumer Services and Sales, provided information on skills students can work on during high school to prepare for a career in cybersecurity. According to Shaker, understanding computers and the functions of an operating system are vital skills.  He encouraged students to learn about computer Basic Input/Output System (BIOS), coding, and the practice of having good security on devices and accounts.

The panelists also emphasized that it’s not just your degree that gets you a job; critical thinking, good grades, and a positive attitude propel you from college into a meaningful career.

Scripo stressed the need for diversity of thought amongst teams to provide a well-rounded perspective within an organization. While having the right technical skill set is important, employers also value a positive attitude that will contribute to healthy company culture.

At the end of the conversation, the student’s questions were submitted and are provided below with a response from the panelist.

Q & A with Robert Shaker, Director of Product Strategy at NortonLifeLock:

Q: What do you recommend for students who want to combine an engineering career with a cybersecurity focus?

“Get your degree in engineering with a minor in cybersecurity if possible. Or, make cybersecurity your hobby and learn outside of school.”

Q: What sort of fields open-up by learning about cybersecurity? I already know about the broad ones, like entertainment and banking, but what else is there?

“Every industry has cybersecurity needs. Twitch just hired their first Global VP of Trust and Safety. Also hospitality (post-pandemic), mining, geology, art, music, education, etc.”

Q: What do the main aspects of leading and managing a cybersecurity project look like?

  • Problem analysis
  • Solution analysis
  • Solution selection
  • Solution architecture
  • Solution engineering
  • Solution implementation and testing
  • User testing and training
  • Security validation and testing
  • Determine and measure metrics
  • improve based on findings

Q: Would you consider cybersecurity as a national defense or used for prevention?

“Yes, it is both. All branches of the armed forces have cyber teams including three-letter agencies and state and local law enforcement. Nation-State attacks are real, and we are lucky to have strong defensive capabilities in place.”

Q: Does the industry prefer certifications or a degree?

“Both, a degree will open a door to more growth into management and leadership roles, a certification will only certify that you know a topic. Usually, you are required to get certain roles where they want to ensure you know a topic.”

Q: Is Networking an alternative path when it comes to cybersecurity?

“Networking is a big part of cybersecurity and it’s not an alternative, it’s direct. Learning and understanding networking is a good entry into network security. This goes to what I said about doing what you like with tech because they all have a cybersecurity component; databases, middleware, networking, desktop/server/cloud. Also, don’t neglect virtual networking as that will get bigger over time.”

For individuals wanting to learn more, the event recording has been made available on YouTube!

If your business would like to participate in a future Virtual Educator Externship, contact ElevateEdAZ’s Senior Education Partnership Manager, Kimberly Hanes, at

Blog written by Joaquin Arellano, Marketing Copywriter.