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INI Student Secures Full-time Position at the CERT Program

March 08, 2012

Internships can help students in various ways, whether it be introducing them to work environments or teaching them valuable skills. Some internships also have the possibility of turning into full-time employment opportunities for those who prove themselves worthy.

The CERT Program, a place where INI students seek out internships and jobs, is highly regarded for its expertise in cybersecurity. Rotem Guttman, a student in the INI's Master of Science in Information Security Technology and Management (MSISTM) program, was recently offered a full-time position there, which is also where he interned over this past summer and throughout the school year. Located in the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, the CERT Program is well known for having the first computer security incident response team, called the CERT Coordination Center.

Referring to his internship at the CERT Program as his dream job this past summer, Guttman feels enthusiastic about his future there as a cyber security exercise developer and trainer. "I am working with CERT's Workforce Development team to develop and provide training capabilities to the government to allow them to practice in a simulated environment responding to real world threats," he said.

When Guttman first came to the INI, he decided to pursue the Cyber Forensics and Incident Response Track. This means that part of his curriculum is devoted to developing skills in host and network computer forensics and digital investigations. He pursued his graduate studies with full-tuition support from the NSF-funded Scholarship for Service program, which gives students scholarship funds in exchange for service in the federal government for a period equivalent to the length of their scholarship.

Guttman accredits his time in the track for preparing him to face challenges in his career, and for his initial exposure to the CERT Program. The design of the program allowed him to work on projects with his professors one day, and attend their classes the next. Also, he learned how to use many tools to recover data, and gained other skills to help him attack problems such as how to restore a RAID array that is missing configuration information from individual images, and how to track the propagation of a worm using only flow data. Guttman is also prepared to adapt to changing technology.

"One of the key things I learned throughout the forensics track was a solid grounding of the fundamentals, and the low level operations of systems," Guttman stated. "So that when tools change, I can easily adapt to how the new tool operates because I know behind the scenes what is going on."

Guttman's coordination and leadership skills were also fine-tuned while working on major projects in group settings at the INI. This collaborative work and hearing about cyber security infrastructures from guest speakers such as CEOs, CTOs, and CISOs of major corporations were influential in his career decisions.

"At CMU, I had the chance to combine cutting edge theoretical knowledge with an incredible amount of practical experience," Guttman said. "The opportunities that I have had at CMU both in and out of class were priceless."