The Yellow Brick Road Is Paved in Code; And It’s Pretty Awesome

By Sean Coons

The modern world created in the image of IT is a marvel to be sure, but as we peel back the veil and gaze upon the wizard pulling the levers, we’re not so sure he’ll give us the brains, courage, and heart we’re looking for. After all, daily headlines announce the bad guys are winning: Guy Fawkes-mask-wearing villains flit about in the night hacking networks and spreading digital disease, while industry leaders tell us the supply of IT security specialists needed to outwit them can’t keep up with the demand.

Obviously, we can’t click our heels to escape this predicament. Instead, we’ll educate our way out of it: The IT students of today will protect our technology, and therefore our society, tomorrow. And that’s what this new ITSPmagazine column, The Academy, is all about.

The Academy celebrates IT security education: from the STEM class in your local elementary school to the postdoctoral program at a powerhouse university; from the corporate executive who realizes leaders are teachers to the autodidactic, freelance code-eating machine, who gets IT because it’s in her DNA.

The Academy will feature stories by cutting-edge IT educators, top industry experts, and our best and brightest students as they analyze trends in the industry and offer insights regarding the many questions driving the field today: How will our academic institutions prepare the next generation of infosec warriors? Which universities offer the best programs and training? How can I find out about scholarships and internships? What are employers looking for? How do students and active professionals stay current? Do certifications matter?

One of the most important questions The Academy will explore is: What is the cybersecurity student? Of course, cybersecurity students are the budding mathematicians mastering advanced equations; they’re the engineers-to-be learning to design digital mazes even the most serpentine hacker can’t slither through. But to create a tactical force capable of protecting technology in its myriad expression – and therefore the infrastructure of the modern world – students with varied talents will be vital: inventors, writers, speakers, marketers, accountants, graphic designers, scientists, legal experts, philosophers, ethicists, artists... It is this diversity which will continue to transform the Internet of things to the Internet of people, guiding a future world in which IT helps make us all more human, not less.

As a longtime educator, it is my privilege and duty to help students develop the brains, courage, and heart needed to navigate our modern world with success. Drawing upon the wisdom of experts in education and industry, The Academy will contribute to this process, equipping students with the tools they’ll need to enter satisfying careers as they meet an urgent need in our society.   

We are not Anonymous. We are teachers and students with names and faces and skin in the game. We stand on the shoulders of giants, peel back the veil separating most mortals from the inner workings of our technological world, and see that the wizard pulling the levers is us. Our Yellow Brick Road is paved in code, baby. We are The Academy – the future is bright.

About Sean Coons

Sean Coons is the Column Editor for The Academy on ITSPmagazine. A long-time educator in both public and private institutions, Sean enjoys awakening the minds of students to creativity, determination, and hope.

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