Developing Tech Leaders the CICS Way

Feb 25, 2021

In a recent conversation with CICS professor Dr. Frank Groom around cyber attacks he made an important point about the heart of our CICS program. We often teach technology as it happens, which is unique in a professional program. We aren’t developing technologists, we are developing leaders who understand technology. That creates a unique experience for graduate students, but an on going challenge for faculty as well.

Frank Groom bio
Frank Groom

A way to explain this is through on going leadership challenges around cybersecurity. In his twenty-eight years with CICS, after 30 years with AT&T, Dr. Groom can provide a rich history of when a different vision and approach to technology had to be taught to those seeking roles as leaders in the area of technology.

For almost three decades the CICS faculty, recently rated number two in the nation by US News and World Reports, of CICS has used their robust experience in technology, their understanding of trends, their vast network of over 2,000 CICS alumni, and their academic research to formulate an nationally ranked curriculum. Groom stated that this hasn’t always been easy or aligned with the academic viewpoint of information science; Since I arrived we have concentrated on delivering a solid networking technology knowledge base and basic hands-on experience. Some complained that this was not the correct approach to teaching tech generalists, we believed it was.” 

However, Dr. Groom brings this full circle to headlines of recent events; “It is clear from the descriptions of the most recent Russian attack through a “Supply Chain” from Solar Winds* software through FireEye’s Red Team testing tools, to the government’s networks , to 450+ business company’s networks, that Networks are at the heart of the issue“.

Dr. Groom goes on to explain:

In the past we stressed the infection of computers and the vulnerability of their data contained in their databases.

No  Longer.

We are now aware that the issue is the network centers. It’s not the switches and routers that are of concern (but that will come), especially since they are being replaced with cheaper, standardized, commodity devices. It is the control centers”.

As with all crises CICS has, for thirty-five years, and will continue to educate at the heart of this and every other technology issue. 

  1. Leadership
  2. Management of Teams 
  3. Data Networking and Network Management
  4. Cloud Computing
  5. Network and data Security
  6. Wireless Networks
  7. Big Data Analysis
  8. AI and ML of course increasingly involved in everything
  9. DevOps customer involved system development
  10. Supply Chain Management
  11. and the most important to us; Human Communication

Although we have, are, and will be developing irreplaceable leaders in each of these areas, our core purpose and direction of what we teach and deliver remains at the heart of the national problems

Each of these threats and erupting situations as an opportunity to demonstrate to our current and even to our perspective students how our curriculum and delivery prepares our students to participate in the solutions to these and the continuing eruptions in the future. 

*Learn more about the SolarWinds attack in this CNET article