University of Advancing Technology is an elite, private college that serves its student body by fostering knowledge creation and academic excellence in an environment that embraces the young technophiles of the world. With three centers of research and a suite of technology-centered undergraduate and graduate degrees, the University is a recognized leader in technology education.
Undoubtedly Covid-19 has affected many of us in many different ways, but how has it affected fast food franchises use of technology in their everyday work?A lot of fast-food franchises sales numbers went down when Covid-19 hit, but one number that not only stayed the same but grew was the number of online orders they received. This was because a lot of people felt safer by staying in their house and ordering food online to be delivered straight to their door with no human contact.
While this undoubtedly saved a lot of people their jobs and gave them even more work during these times, it also caused problems. A lot of fast-food franchises did not or had just started putting more money and attention towards upgrading the technology in their restaurants to help with online orders. Covid-19 caused many of these franchises to speed up that process because the employees were overwhelmed and over worked by the influx of online orders coming in. This was because of the lack of technology and lack of systems in place to help with online orders.
As soon as Covid hit we saw new and safer online ordering systems starting to be developed in many franchises. A main component in these new systems was putting brand new tech into restaurants to make the process of fulfilling online orders faster while still getting the orders correct. In one of franchises that I worked at during Covid-19, an entirely different station named the Digital Make Line (DML) was adopted solely for online orders. The station had two big TV’s and a bagging station with a printer that printed out stickers to put the order name and what was in it on the bag. While this does not seem like that big of a deal, not only did it raise the number of online orders we could make in a time period but also helped us employees not feel overwhelmed. We were now able to give the same amount of attention and care to in-person guests as well as online guests.
Now many franchises are looking at how they can use new technology to benefit their guests and their employees even more. While the DML was just one example of new tech adopted by companies, there are many more, such as contactless delivery, curbside pickup (not new but improved greatly), online only stations, and ordering through companies own apps.
However, many question the necessity of acquiring an undergraduate or graduate degree in computer science in order to find a job in this field. Is getting a computer science degree worth it? What are the costs versus benefits? These are questions we aim to answer.
If you are interested in studying computer science, we’re covering some important factors to consider, including education costs, job prospects, and which programs are best suited to your professional goals.
Computer Science (CS) falls under the umbrella of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and involves understanding the underlying principles of computer programming and algorithms. Computer scientists primarily focus on designing systems and software to meet the needs of businesses, organizations, and individuals.
Computer science also applies the principles of mathematics, engineering, and logic to create systems and tools that benefit our everyday lives. Software development, artificial intelligence, and algorithm formulation are emerging technologies that fall under computer science.
Computer science is an ideal choice for those who enjoy math, technology, programming, and problem-solving. It’s a field that produces lucrative job opportunities, whether through employment under an existing organization or as an independent contractor.
You might want a degree in computer science if you:
Getting a degree in computer science may be challenging but is well worth the investment. This is due to the ever-growing demand for highly skilled computer science professionals across a range of industries.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer occupations are the fourth fastest growing occupational group and will add more than 531,000 jobs by 2024. An undergraduate degree in computer science could make your skills highly valuable and marketable, opening the door to new job opportunities.
We’ve also seen more minorities entering STEM fields and entering the CS workforce. Women in computer science and racial minorities in tech are leveling up their skills and taking a seat at the table in a historically male-dominated industry.
A master’s degree in Computer Science will significantly widen your career potential and job prospects. In fact, many employers are preferring to hire applicants with a master’s degree over a bachelor’s degree.
A graduate degree is a great way to acquire additional skills that make you more marketable as a computer scientist. Also, consider that the average salary for a software engineer is $84,000 while the average salary for a software engineer with a master’s degree is $123,000.
There are certainly entry-level positions that don’t require a computer science degree, but even these are available to CS graduates who already have an array of skills suited to the job. So, in order to be competitive, you will want to have some experience under your belt.
You should have had some exposure to programming and a basic understanding of software development and coding. These are skills that can be self-taught or learned through online courses, internships, or job shadowing.
Internships are a great way to gain valuable, hands-on experience. As an intern, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in your chosen field. You will be working alongside professionals, learning new skills, and honing your existing skills to help you land your dream job.
Don’t let lack of experience deter you from entering a career in computer science. What matters most is that you have a desire to learn and are willing to hone your skills over time.
There are a variety of jobs available to those with a BS or MS degree in computer science. The most popular computer science careers include:
What can you do with a computer science degree? Quite a lot! Whether you work under an existing organization or as an independent contractor, a degree in computer science allows you to tackle nearly any job related to computer programming, software development, and beyond.
Keep in mind that you can always specialize, acquire continuing education, or get advanced certifications to hone your skills. This will make you even more marketable and likely to hit a higher pay grade.
The average base salary for a computer scientist in the United States is $126,830 per year in 2021. Salaries vary based on location, education, and experience level.
The highest paying careers in computer science are:
Employment of computer scientists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029. This is much faster than the average for most other occupations.
With an increased demand for data collection technology, businesses have a growing need for data-mining specialists and information research scientists. Additionally, the field of cybersecurity presents ever-growing opportunities for computer scientists who are skilled in finding innovative ways to prevent cyberattacks.
A bachelor’s degree in computer science remains the industry standard for entering the field of computer science and can help you launch a financially rewarding career. Having a degree will help you appear more attractive to employers, as you have an established foundation in the skills they are looking for when hiring a computer scientist.
Earning an advanced degree in computer science is a great way to land an even better position and increase your earnings. So, it may be worth it to get your master’s in order to maximize your potential.
Once you have the proper education, training, or skills in place, you can begin applying for computer science jobs. Check job boards at your local college or university, or look into online job boards such as LinkedIn, Monster.com, or Indeed.com.
Here are some tips for applying to computer science jobs:
At University of Advancing Technology, we equip students with the education they need to enter the field of computer science with confidence. We also offer advising to help you land an internship or job in your chosen field. Alumni can also audit classes for free, as often and as long as they like, to keep skills current and knowledge cutting edge.
A degree in computer science could be a game-changer for your career. With the proper education and skills, you’ll be equipped to apply to computer science jobs and enter the field with confidence.
A degree in computer science, it is worth it if you want to maximize your earning potential and make your resume more attractive to employers. Having earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you can be confident that you have the skills to do the job and the attitude to work hard no matter what position you land.
If you believe a career in computer science may be right for you, request information about our Computer Science degree. At University of Advancing Technology, we’re passionate about helping students enter STEM fields and acquire the skills they need to land a lucrative and rewarding career in computer science.
Jake Fusco loves storytelling and has always been fascinated by how stories and lessons change as they are passed down. Combined with his interest in technology, this resulted in Jake triple-majoring in Game Design, Game Programming and Business Technology.
Jake chose UAT for the game development programs — he was instantly drawn to Game Design because he believes games are the best suited medium for storytelling and helping people learn. One of Jake’s goals is to teach others how to think in different ways about situations and hopefully change society for the better.
Jake also chose UAT for Synchronic Learning, which has resonated with how he tries to live life. While attending UAT, Jake learned that drive, teamwork and communication are paramount to the success of solving problems. Time and time again, these three qualities helped Jake succeed at work and in his classes.
While attending UAT, Jake has worked on numerous innovative projects along with making many lasting friendships. During his second semester, he joined the production studio class and is still working with the same team on a mobile AR game. Jake is the Geek Rho President, an RA at Founder's Hall and is in the midst of another project with BunchOfNerds, a student-run multi-media production company.
Jake’s hobbies include gaming with friends, being the Dungeon Master for Dungeons and Dragons, cooking and studying philosophy. Down the road, Jake intends to pursue his Master’s degree in Game Production and Management.
Jake draws inspiration from many noteworthy sources — George Lucas for his creative vision, Abraham Lincoln for how to deal with people coming from different worldviews and perceptions and Hirohiko Araki for his philosophy when writing stories.
Get the most out of your education with Synchronic Learning.
At UAT, we’re proud to share stories of exceptional tech entrepreneurs, and this month we’re focusing on digital marketing. And in addition, since February is Black History Month, we feel it’s important to highlight black owned technology businesses.
We talked with Aimee Parker and Justin Croxton, entrepreneurs who have created successful businesses in this field, to find out more about what the digital marketing industry is like, what their personal experiences have been, and what advice they have for students pursuing this field. Their answers are insightful and encouraging; read on to be inspired!
Meet Aimee and Justin. Aimee is the Founder and Owner of her Digital Marketing Firm, Precision Media & Designs, based in Phoenix, Arizona. Justin is a Managing Partner at digital marketing and media solutions provider Propellant Media based in Atlanta, Georgia. We asked them seven questions about their careers and companies…
Aimee: I got started right after college. I majored in marketing because I wanted to be able to pour back into my family who had dreams of becoming business owners. A week after I graduated college, I landed my first marketing position at a traditional marketing firm and realized that they did not focus on digital at all. I took an initiative to start a digital marketing department at the company that took off and skyrocketed, and I haven't looked back since.
Justin: I was leveraging digital marketing for class A office commercial real estate investors when I worked for Jones Lang LaSalle as a Vice President in 2010. I was fascinated with the ease in marketing with email and Google Adwords. You can have a client anywhere in the world and still work from home. I left commercial real estate to go to business school (NYU Stern School of Business) in New York. I saw what many of my classmates were doing hustling to get internships in banking and consulting and I knew based on what I did around digital marketing, it was the space I wanted to be in long term. So I started my own consulting practice (Que Commerce) as an internship for myself in 2012, landing a few clients, and then continued with Que Commerce after graduating. Then in 2014, when I moved back to Atlanta, I formed Propellant Media with a group of guys. The rest is history.
Aimee: I think the most difficult for me is making sure you continue to hold the client accountable without being overbearing. For instance, I always tell my clients, I can get you noticed, I can drive traffic, I can get you leads, but it is up to you to do the work within your own company, to have great strategies, sales processes, and systems in places to be able to make sure these clients become loyal to your business.
Justin: Grooming talent and staying focused on your core offerings. The people and our team we have are amazing. But trying to figure out how best to groom the team can be difficult. For example, should everyone be focused on executing Facebook AND Google Adwords campaigns, or should they be focused on one channel. Should we as an agency only focus on geofencing marketing or provide more services that can impact client growth revenue and customer acquisition. These decisions have been tough, but also lended themselves to serious growth for us as we still differentiate our firm with geofencing, OTT Advertising, and programmatic offerings, while providing omni-channel and data marketing tools to help enterprises grow.
Aimee: My parents inspire me. They both quit their full-time jobs where they were very comfortable to follow their dreams as business owners. They are grinding it out every day and have had so much success in such a short amount of time that it pushes me to continue to run full force after my own dreams.
Justin: My faith and my family. They give me strength every day and my hope is I can leave a legacy for the generations after me.
Aimee: You have to be really good with numbers and data. I would say that is the most important. You need to be able to look at a chart that holds things like Cost Per Result, Impressions, Reach, etc and understand what that means for the business and whether or not you need to shift your efforts.
You also need to be very flexible because in digital marketing, what works today may not work tomorrow and what works tomorrow may not have worked yesterday. It is ever-changing so you have to be able to dive in, and figure out the changes in a matter of a few hours or it could be detrimental to your campaign.
Justin: Patience and an openness to learn. So many skills you can gain in this space, and many times we see kids come out that want to do so much. My advice to them is to become an expert in one thing, then move on to another and then another. Our goal at Propellant Media is to groom well-rounded marketing professionals who can exude confidence and furnish well rounded insights for clients. But you have to be patient and start with 1 or 2 digital channels first.
Aimee: We are going to see more and more platforms pop up that you can market on and marketers themselves will have to be able to evolve themselves to be able to learn and pickup on things quickly. It is already happening but, we will see traditional marketing start to die and all things will be digital. It will become more complex and more expensive to market digitally, especially in the paid space but, that is where your expertise will come into play to make it work.
Justin: Data will continue to be the leading indicator for brands that focus on digital marketing. But with Apple IOS updates and privacy laws, it will likely become slightly more difficult to discern ROI and what’s working. Brands will continue to demand more data to make marketing-based decisions, but that data will become more difficult to come by as a result of privacy concerns around the world. So there will be a balance, but digital marketing is here to stay will you will see more brand still divert more dollars to digital, because that is where most consumers are spending their time AND it’s still more trackable compared to traditional media.
Aimee: I have had so many. I have never in my career worked alongside another black woman in this field. I've worked with maybe 1-2 black men but NEVER a black woman and so oftentimes, I found myself being cut off in the middle of meetings, being ignored, and I have also endured my peers not believing in my ability. I can recall a particular company that hired me to lead digital marketing and never allowed me to lead. They would always suggest that someone looked over my work and questioned my ability. It's been tough but it never discouraged me because I had a greater goal in mind.
Justin: Frankly, it’s been access and just giving us a shot. We received the Inc 5000 Fastest growing companies award in 2020 and was number 78 on the list of 5000. And many times, whether it’s internal bias, a less-than proactive nature by companies to hire diverse firms, or simply the ease to work with people you know, we at Propellant Media simply want to be given a shot. We put our team against anyone. We are driving cost per leads at $5.00 of good quality for academic institutions let alone other industries. We offer great omni-channel reporting and put together comprehensive digital plans that work. I can talk about these accolades and accomplishments all day. But the progress won’t be as speedy until more directors of marketing and CEOs of companies show an appreciation for diverse marketing vendors and consider how diverse marketing firms like Propellant Media can impact growth within their enterprises.
Aimee: I would love to see more black women in this field. I find it hard to connect with other black women with whom I can just really talk about SEO, SEM, paid social ads etc. It is very rare. I would like to see more black people in leadership for this field and I would love if companies became intentional in hiring blacks and trusting that they know what they are doing and not second guess them. That is my hope for the future. I want to see more of ME!
Justin: I would like to see more African Americans in leadership positions as well as more diverse owned vendors be utilized by larger enterprises. It starts with an internal change in the philosophy of hiring by senior leadership. And then there is having data that tracks hiring and utilizing diverse owned firms.
Here’s another way to look at it. We’ve worked with organizations in which their customer base is 50% minority, and yet their marketing team of 15 has only 1 minority employee. How can marketing decision and creative ads speak to your diverse customer base if you don’t have people who understand the culture, nuances of the culture, and background of your audience? That sense and appreciation for diversity will only fuel growth within their enterprises.
Thank you to Aimee and Justin for sharing, and we wish them continued success! If you're interested in studying digital marketing, UAT has several options for degree paths in digital arts. Take the first step... apply now at https://uatfastapp.com.
And read on to find out more about our programs.
UAT's Digital Marketing bachelor’s degree program has a career-focused curriculum providing students with the skills, experience, and portfolio that hiring organizations are seeking. UAT students will learn digital advertising, search engine optimization, mobile marketing, how to create engaging content utilizing emerging platforms, and more.
Degree seeking students will learn about the history and evolution of advertising as it relates to art, and create in mediums including visual design, photography, drawing, and digital media art within a working agency environment.
UAT’s digital video courses combine the fundamentals of digital filmmaking technologies with artistic production to create an advanced degree for students wanting to launch a career in digital filmmaking and video production.
Dr. David Bolman, UAT’s Provost, was recently a guest on Business RadioX’s AZ TechCast. Hosted by Steve Zylstra, President and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, and
Karen Nowicki, Owner & President of Phoenix Business RadioX, AZ TechCast covers innovation and technology in Arizona.
Dr. Bolman joined the panel for a discussion of How 2020 Changed the World and Optimism for the Future. In this segment, panel members discussed how to rebuild after 2020, including their opinions of the technology to get us there, as well as innovative companies that helped Arizona endure.
According to the Arizona Technology Council:
“When the world celebrated the dawn of a new decade with a blaze of fireworks, parties and revelry on January 1, 2020, few could have imagined what the year had in store. It was a year that changed the world like no other for at least a generation, possibly since World War II. Businesses folded. Schools and colleges shut. Live sport was cancelled around the globe. Commercial airline travel contracted. Shops, clubs, bars and restaurants closed. Social inequities were exposed. Work and education all went remote. And human interaction went virtual.”
Watch the AZ TechCast and hear about the positive things coming in 2021!
(Or view on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbKtnhgcyH4.)
Read more about the latest tech and innovation in UAT's blog, www.uattech.com.
On January 19, 2021, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held as an extended zoom meeting.
The pandemic drove CES 2021 to a virtual format, so it wasn’t the full throttled immersion into all the emerging technologies that we can expect to experience tomorrow, as well as a decade into the future. But the pandemic did create other influences worth taking note of. For example, at the moment humanity is living in a perpetual state of working from home, while 5G is headed to widespread adoption, is driving the fast tracking of IoT, Cloud, drone and AI infused devices designed to connect us better and make our lives more comfortable. The pandemic has also accelerated innovations in wearable tech aimed at real-time medical health feedback, as well as alerts for individuals and communities.
The digital version of CES 2021 was better than nothing at all, but 4 days of Zoom events didn’t provide the interface to scan the landscape to see patterns and find unexpected gems. Here are nuggets of information gleamed from this year’s event.
Themes across vendors: Life goes on, safety, perseverance. We are all spending time at home. Tech can improve the experience.
It was amazing and hilarious how speakers, no matter how prominent, had the same looking Zoom window into their kitchen table. My favorite moment was when on a panel talking aboutthe future of streaming media, the CEO of Warner was speaking and then the moderator, the CEO of MediaLink, took a business call without being on mute.
Quantum computing will have niche applications for areas that classical computing doesn’t handle well. Access will be via Cloud. Think Amazon Web Services (AWS), but for moments when you need probability-based analysis. Applications are years away. Cyber will be an early use-case. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) plans to have quantum standards in 2022.
Work is being done to improve voice triggered AI for eCommerce. Working to solve how to be able for humans to be able to order several items in a single sentence “Alexa, I want toothpaste and a toothbrush”. Jetson AI offers a library that helps with this. COVID and a desire to be contactless is driving more voice-based systems (no touching filthy keyboards).
Bridgestone is referring to themselves as a mobility solution company (sexier than saying they make tires) and showed off a new polymer material, SUSYM, that was ridiculously puncture resistant and remained flexible at very cold temps.
The LG presser was interesting. Obviously well-produced, very internationally diverse… and used the phrase “home is where side hustles are launched”. They are including UV cleaning to water dispensers on fridges. They also have a third option for ice: craft cocktail spheres—a sign that we all are drinking more during the pandemic. 8K OLED with embedded TwitchTV is being touted as a very sexy way to view console games
⇒ The AR presentation by the Roger Goodell of the NFL was a high-profile statement about having the future of home and mobile viewing be closer to the fan experience in the stands (the NFL is one of the few leagues where most people view games from home rather the stadiums).
⇒ Earpod (babel fish) based language translators are improving quickly. These will be become very mainstream very soon.
⇒ TVs keep getting bigger, thinner, and better at supporting gaming, with more contrast and pop between color and black.
⇒ Robots are a way to get things done without human contact, now with many pandemic links to robots and drones.
⇒ 5G Connectivity was a major theme. It makes sense as phones supporting the tech will approach 40% of the use case within a year or so.
⇒ Extended Reality as a term and concept kept coming up. My favorite was listening to Roger Goodell talk about AR being used to bring the stadium fan experience to homes/phones.
⇒ “AI is now part of everyone’s daily life” is a statement that came up regularly.
⇒ Competing home IoT connection platforms will be aggravating for a while until people converge.
Learn more about CES 2021 at https://digital.ces.tech/home, and let’s all look forward to the live demonstrations at CES 2022, planned for January 5-8 in Las Vegas!
Check out the interactive holiday tree in the UAT commons! Thanks to one of our very creative students, Hector Sanchez, you can engage with our Christmas tree like never before.
As part of UAT's Environmental Science Course SCI-330 Green Technology, students were tasked with creating a means to share and display the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals around campus to encourage students and staff to participate and act in a more sustainable manner.
On our tree this year, you will find 17 new ornaments. Each ornament is a designed with a UAT logo and a hashtag UN2030 (the year the U.N. goals are to be evaluated, and hopefully achieved).
The ornaments also include an interactive QR scannable code, which will take you to a page containing information pertaining to one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals!
This year, enjoy engaging with our tree and discovering just how sustainability can make the world a better place.
Check out the 17 sustainability goals at
https://sdgs.un.org/goals. According to the Department of Economic and Social Affairs: “They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.”
...and classrooms and labs and commons areas all around UAT!
Check out this roundup of cool new tech for our 12 Days of Techmas. We’ve teched our halls with gifts aplenty for UAT students. From new VR helmets to motion capture gloves to 3D printers, it looks like our students made the nice list this year!
Now, it may sound like Santa just really prefers our students, but we talked to him about this one, and his logic is pretty good—to learn the latest, you need to have the latest! Our campus is infused with the hottest technology, which is crucial since UAT students spend more time in labs than classrooms. We have labs for robotics, makers fab, digital media, cyber warfare, motion capture, gaming, and new technologies… see for yourself with a virtual tour at https://www.uat.edu/see-technology-college.
The following is the list of new technology now available on campus, with comments and descriptions from professors and staff as well as links for more information/where to buy. Merry Techmas to all, and to all a good semester!
"This is a quality SLA 3D printer. It has a big price tag and really great performance."
Garren Koller, UAT student of Robotics and Embedded Systems along with Digital Maker and Fabrication
Valerie Cimarossa, Vice President, Marketing & Technology
“The next iteration of the original Oculus Rift, this product line has seen the tech and features of the Oculus HMD offerings expand. Starting with the original helmet and clicker, moving through the addition of handheld controllers, to Rift S with improved controllers and helmet Oculus has been a factor in improving the head mounted VR experience and has driven VR forward providing a Vive vs Oculus competitive playing field.”
Derric Clark, Professor and Game Studies Chair
"This is a quality FDM 3D printer. It also has a large price tag but for great resolution."
Garren Koller, UAT student of Robotics and Embedded Systems along with Digital Maker and Fabrication
A UAT staff favorite, the Elegato Ring Light has multiple light settings and a quick pop-up tripod for easy set up. In addition to the available color temperatures, the tripod can be adjusted from desk top to standing height giving you quite a bit of flexibility for your shoot or stream setup. Plus, when completely broken down, it's surprisingly compact (seriously, our Provost keeps one under his desk)!
“This represents a great transitional product into the world of VR. Being able to work with a gaming PC or a smart phone gives the user options as well as introducing them into the world of helmet-based VR technology. The Quest 2 removes a gaming PC cost barrier to entry of VR while still providing a quality HMD experience, and it is WIRELESS!”
Derric Clark, Professor and Game Studies Chair
Valerie Cimarossa, Vice President, Marketing & Technology
"Rokoko has released its long-awaited version of hand and finger tracking with their Smartgloves. The ability to capture the motion of a performer's hands and fingers for 3D characters is a significant addition to UAT's investment in thier new motion capture system by Rokoko. The Smartgloves will be paired with the Smartsuits to capture the full range of realistic movement for students to retarget to thier 3D characters. The Rokoko mocap system is a leader among the new systems emerging in today's mocap market that provide an essential learning experience for animators and other creators training for careers such as game development and feature film industries. One of the most remarkable features of the Rokoko system is that it is portable, and has a wireless range of up to 100 meters! The system is not confined to a studio. Go anywhere to capture the motion that is needed!"
T. Lynn DiGiacomo (Understiller), Professor of Game Art & Animation, Game Production & Management
Valerie Cimarossa, Vice President, Marketing & Technology
Valerie Cimarossa, Vice President, Marketing & Technology
"These are lower end FDM 3D printers great for beginners and hobbyists and are low in price."
Garren Koller, UAT student of Robotics and Embedded Systems along with Digital Maker and Fabrication
"NVIDIA has made some impressive advancements this year in tech. The Jetson Nano Developer kit is the perfect starting point for anyone looking to get into Artificial Intelligence or Robotics. It’s one of the best single-board computers on the market and has a very powerful GPU. NVIDIA’s extensive documentation makes it helpful to start building since it provides an image for a microSD card that makes it easy to boot a version of Ubuntu design specifically for the Jetson Nano."
Jacy Smith, Business Development Specialist at Perimeter83 on the campus of UAT
What tech items are on your wish list? Share your favorite new tech items and what you'd like to use those tools to create. Here's to an exciting an innovative new year!
The University of Advancing Technology is a 100% STEM university, and that extends even beyond the traditional student population.
Nestled in the second floor of the main campus building, Perimeter83 is UAT’s one-of-a-kind corporate training and technology startup coworking space. But as a member of Perimeter83, there’s so much more available outside of the space. The coworking space is designed specifically for tech startups, with access to technology and services you won’t find in other places, including 3D printers, laser cutters, a robotics lab, and access to more tech talent per square foot than any other resource in Arizona. The concept of Perimeter83 is that startups and businesses have access to the entire UAT campus with flexible desk space (The Study), conference rooms, and dedicated offices.
Business Development Specialist Jacy Smith leads Perimeter83, bringing her own personal tech experience into the mix. “I myself was a tech entrepreneur,” said Smith. “After I exited from the company that absorbed mine, I wanted to take some time off, but was just browsing on LinkedIn one day to see what kinds of jobs were out there. I spotted this position and had already been working with UAT for the past 4 years through CodeDay. It turned out to be a great fit for me.”
Smith definitely fits right in with UAT’s community of technophiles, innovators and entrepreneurs, and she’s very excited about a brand new offering now available to UAT alumni. “Typically, individuals and startups sign up for memberships, but now, UAT alums can also sign up as members, while greatly expanding their options!” said Smith. Called the Expansion Pack, Perimeter83 is now bundling a discounted shared room in Founder’s Hall (including rent and utilities), Perimeter83 membership, and 5 meals per week in the café—solely available to UAT alumni, and with only a month-to-month commitment.
According to UAT Provost Dr. David Bolman, “The students have paid their dues and earned their degrees; UAT is now supporting their next step." All students that graduate from UAT are required to complete a Student Innovation Project (SIP) throughout their time in class. “This Perimeter83 Expansion Pack will provide extra time for graduates to get their SIP ideas market ready, as well as help kickstart the local tech ecosystem,” Dr. Bolman said.
In addition to all of the resources Perimeter83 has available for its members, there are also certificates offered through UAT in 12 different subjects, including cybersecurity, blockchain, app development, technology leadership and many others. Startups and businesses can also leverage student talent by contracting UAT for professional services, such as video game development, software development, and video production. It’s a low-cost alternative to developing and launching a new concept or minimum viable product (MVP).
Reserve your spot!
Visit https://perimeter83.com/alumni/ to get started.
Stefani Johnson, Data Manager at the University of Advancing Technology, has just started working on two master's degrees, one in Technology Leadership and one in Cybersecurity. We asked her to share her experiences as a student, why she chose to pursue an advanced cyber degree, and her advice for future tech students.
Although I found a passion for cybersecurity, my background includes mostly administrative work and data management. Currently, I have been working for the University of Advancing Technology (UAT) for around 5.5 years. My main key performance indicators (KPIs) include data integrity, Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) admin, and process documentation and improvement. I am fortunate enough to have the ability to relate everything that I am learning in my cybersecurity courses directly into my current position!
You can view my LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stefani-johnson-5091b3133/.
Once you step foot upon the UAT campus, you immediately feel the excitement and comfortability that UAT provides. UAT has been more than just a career or university for me, they have been a family. The faculty team provides me the tight-knit, mentorship, and project-focused education that I thrive in. I learn best visually and by actually getting my hands on the tech, project, process, whatever it is. In fact, within just the first few weeks of the UAT cybersecurity program, I had created an entire factitious information technology (IT) department with mission, value, and goals for certain time periods. The IT department included an organizational chart with roles and responsibilities, cyber laws relating to the industry, basic Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, and Incident Response plans, as well as in-depth security structure. I even had laid out an entire interview process including questions, qualifications, industry-respected certifications and more. Keep in mind, I had no more than 2 prior cyber courses in my undergraduate, nor much exposure to any of this before. I could not imagine attending another university that could provide me not just the information but the comprehension and real-life skills I am learning now on a daily basis.
The advice I wish I had, or better yet, had listened to is to push past your fear and preconceived limitations. My educational journey has not been typical. I graduated high school early, did not start my undergraduate program in UAT’s Business Technology program until 7 years later, and then the graduate program at almost 30 years old. I was initially afraid of returning back to school after many years, and within a year of my undergraduate program, I felt completely invigorated with the passion and drive as I saw my skills as a student, employee, and technical worker skyrocket. If I would have given in to my fear of returning to school after so long, I would not be where I am today, and my journey is nowhere near completion.
After receiving my Bachelor’s, I was determined to continue my educational journey at UAT. However, the choices weighed heavy on my heart. Do I continue in the familiar path of Technology Leadership or venture out and face my fear of something completely foreign? Could I even succeed on a new path with limited knowledge? After much consideration, I decided to do both! I decided to be ambitious and work towards obtaining two master's, one in Technology Leadership and one in Cybersecurity, in under a year and a half. Since the courses at UAT are billed per semester, or per module, there is no reason to not double the efforts. Knowing what I do now, I am confident in my decision. Thanks to the support I have among my faculty, coworkers, and family, I was able to push past my preconceived notions of what was obtainable.
Not so long ago, I was fearful of the thought of trying something unfamiliar, and now my career ambitions have completely changed. Since beginning the Cybersecurity program, I have spent over 10 hours per week doing extracurricular research, just to learn as much as I can. I plan on taking everything that I am learning and directly applying it to my current position as I move more to the IT path. I plan to use both my Cybersecurity and Technology Master’s Degrees towards a managerial position within IT in the future.
Instead of writing a Graduate thesis at UAT, we are required to complete a portfolio and G-SIP, aka Graduate Student Innovation Project, before completion. Each final you do in one of your major-specific courses directly relates to one or more of the pre-determined portfolio objectives. If you attend UAT, it helps to be focused on these from day one. Employers will want to see that you one – have a respected degree in your industry, two – have the expertise to succeed, and three – have the passion and determination for your craft. Focus on the projects you are incredibly proud of and spend extra time fine-tuning it as portfolio pieces. Upon graduation, you will have a a professional, meaningful portfolio to present to potential employers.
It is important to be cognizant of our perception of cybersecurity. The word hacker has such a derogatory stereotype. Yes, there are malicious attackers that are stealing and selling information and holding companies hostage to ransomware. There are also hackers working diligently to protect our information, data-privacy, even our economy. One of my first assignments was to watch and analyze The History of Hacking. I highly recommend watching this short documentary that provides prospective on how hacking originated with phones to Wozniak creating the personal computer to the implementation of cyberlaws.
Watch from YouTube now:
UAT’s cyber security degree programs and cyber security lab are recognized by industry and government entities alike for their ability to help generate the future innovators of the cyber security industry. We focus on creating true leaders who will have mastery in ethical hacking and uphold the highest industry standard of integrity in our quickly evolving world of cyber security tech and online security.
Leading cyber security education in the southwest, University of Advancing Technology (UAT) is marking 15 successful years since the inception of its elite Network Security degree program. As one of the longest-running cyber security degrees in the southwest, our complete continuum of undergraduate and graduate cyber security degrees have helped prepare more graduates with a NSA and CAE-credentialed education than any other university’s cyber security program in the southwest.
Our prestigious cyber security degrees include the undergraduate Network Security, Network Engineering, and Technology Forensics, and the elite Graduate degree in Information Assurance transporting graduates to the leading edge of industry.
An Interview with Shellye Cayce
For parents, sending your kids off to college can be very difficult, with many matters to discuss and decions to make, ranging from transportation to housing to classroom environments. But one of the biggest questions is very difficult to answer before the college experience actually begins—will the school simply be a good fit?
We asked one of our favorite moms that question, plus a few more, to help parents in this very situation right now hear how she and her family tackled the college decision process.
Meet Shellye Cayce—wife, mom, teacher, and advocate of higher education—and read on about how her family chose to send their daughter from Texas to Tempe to attend UAT!
With our oldest daughter Kami, she and her best friend at the time knew they wanted to room together and that they didn’t want to be too far from home but far enough to feel independent and away from home. So, Kami and her friend would talk about different colleges in Texas and asked their respective parents about visiting the schools they were looking at. With Brook, the discussion was more about finding a college with a good degree program in technology. Brook had a few ideas about which colleges she was interested in, and we attended a couple of college fairs in order to get information about these schools. Brook wanted to attend a college on the East Coast. She was fine being far away from home.
Brook, Kami, Shellye, and Kevan.
What did YOU look for?
We looked for colleges with technology degrees in computer programming and robotics. Brook looked for schools with LBGT groups and clubs offered at each college. As parents, we had to consider out-of-state tuition cost, and we had to look at the location of the colleges because we wanted them to be in safe parts of town.
What were your concerns?
Lol, I don’t think Brook had any concerns except how soon she could get out on her own. For Kevan and I, our concerns were cost, location and Brook’s age. We knew that out-of-state tuition was going to be a factor no matter where she wanted to go. Therefore, we decided that once she found several colleges that she was truly interested in, then we would compare the cost. Kevan and I knew she was looking at colleges on the East Coast in Chicago and New York. We wanted to know exactly where in Chicago and New York the schools were located. I had questions about the crime rate and public transportation. All these concerns for Kevan and I centered on the fact that Brook would barely be 18 when she would leave for college.
How did you know UAT was the right fit?
I knew before Brook did that UAT was the place for her. First, I need to tell you how we heard about UAT. It was May 2014, and our church always has a senior recognition Sunday. The seniors walk down the aisle, and as they are making their way to the stage, the youth pastor introduces them, tells where they are graduating from and what they plan on doing after graduation. This Sunday, one of the seniors is walking down the aisle and I hear the youth pastor say that this individual is planning on attending The University of Advancing Technology in the fall. I wrote the name of the school on an offertory envelope so I could research it when I got home. I can’t remember exactly when, but I looked this school up on the internet and the more I read the more I knew this was the place for Brook. I told Kevan about everything that I had read, and he agreed with me. Now we just had to get Brook to consider looking at this school. We were in that stage where, 'if my parents like it, then I will hate it' with her. Brook had picked three schools that she wanted to apply to and asked us to pay the application fees. I agreed to pay the application fees IF she would also apply to University of Advancing Technology. She grumbled about it but applied so that I would pay the application fees for the other schools. Within a week of sending the applications, Brook heard back from UAT. Another week or so went by and she never heard from the other three schools. Brook asked about attending the Fly in Geek weekend. Absolutely we will attend, and Kevan says I should go with her. I laughed and told him he was going because I am technologically challenged and would not understand anything they might talk about. So, I think it was January 2015 when Kevan and Brook flew out to Tempe to attend the Fly in Geek weekend. Brook called home to tell me what was happening, and I knew the moment she spoke that she would be attending UAT. I just knew when I heard her voice.
Brook with an acceptance gift.
What advice would you give other parents in searching with their children?
I would advise other parents to talk with their child about their child’s interest and what he or she may want in a college. Let the child pick several colleges as well as the parents. Attend college fairs that these schools will be attending so that you can learn more about them and what they have to offer. Go and visit the campuses that y’all are interested in like Kevan and Brook did. By visiting the campuses, you will get a feel for the culture and climate of the college. This will help narrow down your choices.
Anything else to add?
Kevan, Brook and I flew to Tempe in May of 2015 to move Brook into the dorm and get her ready to start the summer semester. We brought what we could, and told Brook we would bring the rest of her things in July when we were driving out to see her. The first week of July 2015, Kevan, Kami and I drove out to Tempe to spend the week with Brook. When we arrived, Brook was eager to show her sister the campus. The moment we walked in we heard people say, “Hey Brook” or ask, “Is that your family Brook?” Brook would then tell us not only the name of the person, but basically their whole life story. We just couldn’t believe this was our daughter. By the end of the first day, I can’t remember which one of us said to Brook, “Brook you found your people!”
I believe it was either that summer semester or the fall semester that Brook told us she had been going to a class and sitting in. Kevan and I said, “Brook you aren’t enrolled in that class; that is not allowed.” She explained that she had asked the professor for permission and that the professor encouraged her to come because participation is better when she is there. Also, in this same semester she lets us know that she has been sitting in on the student government meetings. Kevan and I just couldn’t believe this was the same daughter that in high school preferred to stay home with her books and technology. The next thing Kevan and I knew, Brook was a member of student government, vice president and then president. So, yep, UAT was definitely the right fit for Brook!
Brook in her dorm at UAT.
Thank you Shellye for sharing your experience! If you are a parent that needs more information, please feel free to reach our. Our admissions team is happy to help answer any questions, and you can find many resources online. Check out our Parent Guide for Going Away to College, Campus Life, FAQs, and Parent Testimonials.
And for this fall, we've released our plan for campus safety, with Episode 2020: Return of the Geeks. Read the plans and details at https://learn.uat.edu/episode-2020. Campus is calling!
One of the most common questions students have when choosing their field of study is also a very important question—will I be able to find a job when I graduate?
The UAT Student & Career Services Team is committed to helping our students find internships and jobs suited to their skills, maintaining a variety of company and industry relationships, and continuously seeking out new opportunities.
Our team of professionals have been where you are, and they want to help you find the best prospects for your future. "UAT students are provided with opportunities to meet with large organizations, and a great example is Carvana,” said Ashley Fuentes, Sr. Student & Career Services Coordinator. “Having access to employers who explain the roles that they are looking to fill, as well as outline the best ways to be considered for a job, really helps students get their foot in the door."
Meet Neil Shah, Team Lead of Technical Recruiting at Carvana. We asked Neil about Carvana as a company, his connection with UAT, and his opinion about the current job outlook. Read on to find out more about how Carvana doesn't suck, as well as some great advice from Neil.
Simply put, Carvana sells used cars online but we’re much more than that. We are a data-driven tech company that uses the latest technology to enable our customers to purchase vehicles from the comfort of their own home. This allows our customers to choose from 20,000+ vehicles available all around the country and have them delivered directly to their homes or to be picked up from one of our unique car vending machines.
Our mission is to change the used car market. For decades, people have bought cars primarily in one way. You go to a dealership, you spend half to a full day there negotiating back and forth, and you walk away with a car and an uneasy feeling of not knowing whether you got a good deal or not. It sucks. We’re here to make that process not suck. Shop from a larger inventory than any individual dealer can offer from the comfort of your home and only talk to us if you have questions. If you do choose to talk to us, you won’t be sold on features or upgrades. We will answer your questions to enable you to make the best decision. It’s that simple.
I am the Team Lead of Technical Recruiting. In short, my team and I staff all of the technical roles at Carvana. That includes everything from IT, Security, and Engineering to Data Science, Analytics, and Product Management. Some of these teams are the fastest growing back-office teams in the company. Our job is to find the most qualified candidates, get them excited about the opportunities here at Carvana, and work with them and the hiring managers to facilitate the interview process and make sure the opportunity is the right fit on both sides.
I’ve worked with UAT for several years as a recruiter and partner. I actually placed a few folks at UAT including a couple of your former professors. Since moving to Carvana a couple of years ago, we’ve partnered to recruit students from the UAT programs for positions at Carvana. Our most recent hire was a grad from UAT’s network security program that interned with us in the summer of 2019 and converted to full time after he graduated.
As mentioned, UAT students are most likely to be brought in as an intern in our IT and Security departments. We look for students who have not only excelled in the program but who also have a strong passion and drive to learn about technologies.
I think the value list on UAT’s website and Carvana’s values align very well overall. Both speak to pride in what you do and a sense of ownership that allows UAT’s students and Carvana’s employees to succeed and grow. What set both organizations apart from others is that there is a focus not just on technical skills, but also a passion for helping others and doing so in a collaborative way. It’s cheesy and cliche for a reason as there is truth in the value of collaboration and what we get from listening to each other’s opinions. The diversity created by looking at all these different viewpoints each of us brings is what truly makes the team at Carvana special.
We’re looking forward to partnering with UAT in a few ways. As we make decisions on our 2021 summer internship, we will be looking for students in IT and in Security that could be a great starting point for any students looking to build their experience. Carvana also has plans for growing our Security Operations team in the next year or so and that would be an amazing opportunity for those interested in a career path in the security field. We are a fast-growing company and these would both be great ways that you can get your foot in the door to start down an aggressive career path.
Our hiring has definitely changed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. At first, we went on a hiring pause and have more recently have been involved in targeted hiring. We are much more strategic in our hiring and trying to plan more long-term to ensure that we are hiring the right roles and levels. We will continue to hire to support our growth as we’ve been able to weather the storm well and continue to grow as an organization.
I think the best advice I can give students overall is to network and take your connections seriously. Your network has more value than you will likely realize for some time. It’s important to check job boards and apply to openings but it’s equally, if not more important, to connect with people using the tools available. There are virtual events in addition to the career fairs and events that UAT will organize for its students. They really should get involved in those things to try to make that personal connection that will make all the difference.
I think that UAT has some excellent programs in training students. What they need to remember is that learning doesn’t just happen in school. If you are a student that is looking to set themselves up for the best possible job coming out of college, you need to get involved in the things outside of your college. That can be meetups, volunteering, internships, or a side hustle using your skills to consult with companies. There are a ton of opportunities for all of these things out there, but you need to be tenacious in finding these things. Coming out of school your resume will look like all of your peers who were in the same courses. The question you need to ask is, what sets your resume and experience apart from your peers? The resumes we see with extracurricular activities and some sort of project or work experience outside of school are the ones that we are more likely to call.
Wise words, Neil. Thank you!
Remember we are here for you, but the initiative—that comes from YOU. To find a job, you must be able to promote yourself and your skills, and get that info out there to the right people. Your Student & Career Services Team wants to be a part of this journey with you! Visit them for resources early and often throughout your time at the UAT for help, from interview tips to resume guidance, or even when you don’t need anything at all! “Feel free to reach out to us even if just to tell us everything is fine,” said Antonio Salazar, Student Services Coordinator. “We are here to celebrate your wins and support you in any way that works best, as we want to see you succeed."
UAT’s academic majors focus on expanding, new and rising technology such as the Advancing Computer Science degree, Cyber Security degree, Digital Maker and Fabrication degree and Robotics and Embedded Systems degree. This technology College has the status of being among a select few 100 percent STEM-based universities in the nation. For more information visit www.uat.edu.
As phased reopening of businesses has begun in Arizona and across the country, it would be easy to relax and let your guard down at home and on your phone, with daily work and school getting back to business. But since much of our lives have transitioned to online, it’s important to remember that hackers attack when we least expect it, and now’s the time to make sure you remain cyber safe!
Email fraud is definitely a big concern, as hackers prey on us all getting comfortable. It's easier for hackers to gain access to business accounts when employees are working from home using their personal home computers and don't update their virus and malware security systems on a regular basis. In fact, business owners who have employees working from home on their own computers should assume those home computers are not safe. According to UAT President Jason Pistillo, companies can make sure they have spam filters set up appropriately, but they've got to “watch that like a hawk.”
"Many people aren't good about updating their home computers," he said. "Home computers get infected and that propagates up to the corporate network.”
In fact, email scammers even came after UAT!
It began with an email from a vendor seeking a valid payment, but when the accounting department responded to that original email, a hacker intercepted it and requested that the money be paid electronically to the hacker's account.
Our accounting department noticed something was wrong because the reply address converted to a new email with only a single different letter. "This was sneaky,” Pistillo said. “What they're doing is hijacking the requests as they go out. I don't know if anybody else would have caught it. Our accounting department is savvy. After all, they're around a bunch of hackers all day long."
Check out the full story from 12 News (the Phoenix NBC affiliate):
And from the Phoenix Business Journal:
Valley university sniffs out cyberscam before damage done.
But don’t worry, there are several ways you can be vigilant and help protect yourself.
Tom Tardy, Network Security professor at UAT, offers the following advice if you are the end-user of an email that you want to make sure is secure.
Tom Tardy Gives a Presentation About the UAT Cyber Program
1. Hover over links to see where they go, but don’t click them.
2. Make sure when you hit reply the email address is the same as the original.
3. Check your Junk Email Settings
(In Outlook, Home>Delete group>Junk>Junk email options).
a. Go to ‘adjust settings’ under each tab.
b. Block TLDs (Top Level Domains) from countries.
Emails should only be coming from a .com, .org, etc.; NOT a .cn or .ru.
c. Install Microsoft Junk E-mail Reporting Add-in (for personal email).
d. Install spam reporting Add-in (for corporate email).
There is also a common phishing attack on organizations that use Office 365 and comes in the form of a file being shared to the user. The fake file goes to a real login page, where now—as a new trend—it then prompts the user to authorize a new application. From there it can access anything that user can access.
If you see a box like this, stop and think before you give any access. You should not need to give permission to see your contacts, emails, and other data just to open a simple file.
Jacy Smith, Business Development Specialist for Perimeter83, explains that it’s equally important to keep the account where your domain name is registered safer than usual. The Domain Name System (DNS) controls all the information where domain names send traffic to, plus controls email settings and some security information. For example, Smith says, “Many people buy a domain name for their business from a place like Go Daddy. Once they purchase the domain name, DNS is used to tell the domain where the website will be hosted (A record), where the email is hosted (MX records) and other records required to use certain services (like Office365).” Smith continues, “If a hacker were to get access to the Go Daddy account, they could alter the DNS of a domain to redirect to a malicious site, tamper with email services or decrypt encrypted web traffic.”
UAT Cyber Students Work in the Cyber Cave
She suggests the following DNS safety tips:⇒ Take a look at the DNS records for domain names to make sure all of the records are current, accurate and appropriate for the services you or your company are using.
There’s always something/someone new out there, sneakier and hell-bent on hacking even through even the best attempts at safety. If you do get hacked, here are some ideas to help before taking it to an IT expert.⇒ Disconnect from the internet.
Even President Pistillo knows that hackers are smart and always lurking. “I've been doing this for 25 years, so it's not often that I'm surprised," he said. But that’s because he’s always looking, and you should be, too. Keeping your computer updated and anti-virus definitions current is just a very small piece of the cyber security picture, because the biggest vulnerability is human error. Keep your eyes open and stay cyber safe. The image of a guy in a hoodie in a dark basement is an old one… the girl next door or an average guy across the globe may be watching you right now!
Want a quick, helpful cyber security presention?
June 3, 2020, at 11am MST, join us for Technically Speaking: Don't Be Baited! Tips to Spot Phishing with Aaron Jones, Arizona Threat Liaison Officer and UAT adjuct faculty member.
Listen to learn why threat actors conduct phishing operations, how they are conducted, and how to spot phishing. Jones will discuss simple methods to protect yourself, as well as some of the tools you can employ to reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
Our cyber security degree programs and cyber security lab are recognized by industry and government entities alike for their ability to help generate the future innovators of the cyber security industry. We focus on creating true leaders who will have mastery in ethical hacking and uphold the highest industry standard of integrity in our quickly evolving world of cyber security tech and online security.
Visit https://www.uat.edu/cyber-security-degrees for more.
Did you know UAT has their own version of Shark Tank, coined Tech Tank, where students pitch their hypothetical business ideas to a panel of real-world potential investors, business owners and entrepreneurs. The goal of Tech Tank is to see who can give the best pitch, arrive the most prepared and encourage the panel to invest in their idea.
This year, Tech Tank saw four projects from three different BUS200 classes. “As the creator of this event, I was very happy with the presentations and the preparedness of the students’ presenting,” remarks Dr. Mark Smith, “They held their own, answered tough questions and took the criticisms well under pressure.”
Gold Award Winner—Ace of Spades presented by Christopher Hernke, Artificial Intelligence
From Professor Cimarossa’s class came Ace of Spades. The project is an entertainment-based restaurant and bar with the main selling point being a POS system built off hard plastic playing cards that can track the tabs of the customers. Restaurant guests can order and pay from the POS kiosk systems and set limits for bill size with the individually linked cards.
Silver Award Winner—Demeter’s Watch presented by Marissa Williams, Game Art & Animation
From Professor Valenzuela’s class came Demeter’s Watch. The project is a home gardening sensor that tracks plants’ health through an application. This sensor notifies the plant parent when their plants need sunlight, soil, water, etc.
Bronze Award Winner—Eyes Breaker presented by Marc Benson, Advancing Computer Science
From Professor Vita-More’s class came Eyes Breaker. The project is a social interaction application that helps socially anxious and introverted people find others in close proximity who are looking for conversation. The app prompts the user with common interest points and offers suggestions on how to "break the ice" and start a conversation.
See more innovation projects!
This week, they made a big move on the masses, as a large amount of the population is working from home, and sites/apps like Zoom are growing in popularity to keep coworkers connected. The FBI is warning that hackers have been “zoombombing” calls—essentially hijacking conference calls—and some of these unwanted callers have even known to leave some pretty offensive stuff on your screen. And this warning is real; it happened to a UAT employee, who fortunately wasn’t the one hosting the call.
At UAT, Zoom is useful, but definitely not our main platform. Microsoft Teams and Canvas LMS are our primary platforms for distance learning. We use a myriad of others as well, including Discord, Slack and Zoom. We mostly use Zoom for special purposes, and not for normal class activities. With that said, we are careful with our links… password-protecting meetings, managing participants, keeping a close eye on attendance, controlling who can share a screen, etc. So, let’s talk a about some common mistakes people make when using Zoom and tips to avoid becoming a victim to hackers.
First of all, assume what happens in Zoom does not stay in Zoom. Keep that in mind for every call and don’t use it for sensitive information. Along that same mindset, don’t link your Zoom account to other social sites like Twitter. In fact, it’s really smart to create a new email to use only for your Zoom account; don’t use your main email, and definitely don’t login with Facebook.
If you’re the host, the responsibility truly lies on you to take the extra precautions. Make sure to select the option for private and create a password for all people on the call—or else anyone can have access to it. Check and manage the attendance and match it to who should be in the room. For guests, you can control access by using a waiting room to verify who they are. For UAT, we only allow the host to share their screen, which prevents the bad content from creeping in. In addition, don’t click links in the chat that you don’t trust, the same as in email, and consider using the site in a browser versus downloading on your desktop.
As always, it’s important to keep your computer up-to-date and as secure as possible. Never wait on installing updates, and make sure to have security installed on your computer. Sophos, AVG, Norton, and McAfee are all good options for Internet security, and also make sure to consider security requirements when selecting vendors. For example, if end-to-end encryption is necessary, does the vendor offer it? Finally, ensure your VTC software is up to date. These patches address security vulnerabilities within a program or product.
To sum it up, while we know there are global security and privacy concerns with Zoom, we have enough institutional prowess to navigate the concerns to ensure we are protected, and it is still a great tool for what it’s good for.
See President Pistillo featured on AZ Family News discussing Zoom safety here:
And find out additional tips at:
Designated as a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Systems Security Education by the US National Security Agency, UAT offers an ethical hacking degree that’s highly recognized by industry and government entities alike. You can get a Bachelor’s Degree in Network Security, or a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security. Take the first step by completing a FastApp today!
Patience is needed to help eradicate this virus. Unfortunately, we are also vulnerable at home, but not because of the virus. Instead, the threat comes in the form of cybercrime, and this can create an even bigger problem.
With so many people in quarantine, the use of the internet has reached numbers never seen before. There are massive traffic increases to social media, blogs, and popular shopping websites. This sudden change is offers a hotbed of opportunities for hackers and cybercriminals to catch more people off guard. They create content that tricks internet users into clicking malicious links.
Here are some of the most common cybersecurity threats you can expect during the coronavirus crisis:
This is a common method that implements popular topics. The latest trend makes use of COVID-19 to create links that seem to provide useful information on the virus, but they end up infecting your computer.
The approach is to create a near perfect replica of an email address or a domain name with subtle name changes that are meant to go unnoticed. Online hackers may create a duplicate of a website that allows you to register for coronavirus testing or something similar to encourage the sharing of private information.
The creation of fake organizations is another common cyberattack. Cybercriminals claim to gather donations to help those who need medical assistance. Others will say that they use these donations to fund research for a vaccine. Either way, their goal is to steal your money. This means it's unlikely you will get a refund for your monetary loss -- or be able to preserve your personal information they stole.
• Do not provide personal information unless you are certain of their
authority to have the information.
• Do not reveal personal or financial information in emails.
• Do not respond to email solicitations for personal or financial
• Do not click on any links sent in emails.
• Check a website's security before sending sensitive information over
the internet by looking for "https" in the URL (the s indicates the site is
secure) or look for a closed padlock icon (the icon indicates your
information will be encrypted).
• If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a request for personal or
financial information, contact the company direct. Do not use the
contact information provided in the email as this can be part of the
• Install anti-virus software and firewalls.
• Use email filters to reduce some of the spam.
Learning everything you can about cybersecurity can help you stay safe on the internet. If you want to take what you learn one step further, there are opportunities to help protect businesses and individuals as they navigate the ever-changing online landscape. Regardless of your level of interest, safeguarding communications and connections within the global community has become more essential that it ever was before.
Designated as a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Systems Security Education by the US National Security Agency, UAT offers an ethical hacking degree that’s highly recognized by industry and government entities alike. Click here for information on our Cyber Security degrees.
During a pandemic, it’s very easy to give up. There is a buffet of factors to choose from to justify that opinion.
The economy is faulty, folks are losing their livelihoods, our brothers and sisters around the world are sick or dying, news cycles remind us daily of who is infected and where, we are reminded that going outside is outside of the agreeable social norms—and there isn’t any toilet paper on a shelf in the country!
You can choose any of these factors and decide to give up...to curl up into a ball and decide that life is just too hard, too difficult and too challenging. You can take a hiatus from all of the responsibilities and goals that you’ve ever thought that you can achieve. That’s what I thought, too.
Then it happened, my university made probably the most challenging situation look routine.
UAT is a lot of things—quirky, cool, fun, smart and agile. When all of our classes went virtual, I didn’t even notice any difference because the style of the graduate classes is already built in such a flexible format. In the classroom, instead of avoiding the topic, our professor integrated the ideas in the classroom. For instance, the term “agile” is all fun and games until you actually are forced into a situation that makes you live up to that name. UAT truly fits the bill.
During my graduate class, Managing People in a Technology Environment with Provost Dr. David Bolman, we spent a good chunk of the classroom checking in on how everyone is doing and how this situation is applicable to the theoretical topics that we discussed. It was fun, interactive and agile, and I truly felt like I was in the right place.
When I was younger, I didn’t fit it in. I used words beyond my grade level because I stayed up all night studying the dictionary. I read words I couldn’t pronounce and beyond my maturity. One word stuck with me through the years: success.
Success is a common word, but what I found uncommon was the difference in each of its connotations.
1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
Re-read number 3, and then think about all of the things that you’ve ever wanted in this world. Maybe a lollipop from the store as a child, a teenage crush to like you back in high school, or a stable life as an adult. Now, think about how to achieve your results. It’s going to be tough. But you should give up? No.
My definition of success is never giving up on your right to achieve everything that you desire. Giving up never leads to success. Stay and fight for as long as you need to, and you will arrive at an inner success that you can’t explain. You can become number 3.
It’s easier said than done, but sometimes hearing it over and over again helps. When I was younger, I said that one day I would write, produce, record and arrange a song that I would listen to that would motivate me when I couldn’t find motivation—that would lift me up even when I couldn’t lift myself. I said that I would name that song “Success” and no matter what phase of life I was in I would cherish where I was, right then. So I made that song.
If you want to give up, you don’t need my help to do that. But if you don’t, give my song a listen, take out a notebook and write down all the things that you want to do and how you need to do it. You will get there. I got there—trust me. The only thing between you and living the life that you deserve is you. Move out of your own way, help yourself out, and go take your success.
Listen to Success at https://open.spotify.com/album/32cLc7SHofw50ZLPM4F268.
Dr. Mark Smith, Professor and Program Champion of Business Technology, has been throwing UAT students to the sharks for 4 years through his “Mark Tank” program. Held at the end of each semester and upon completion of the Business 200 course, students are mostly competing for entrepreneurial bragging rights, but those presenting also get exposure to area professionals who judge the competition—and the people that choose who swims away a winner.
The audience and judges listen to the student presentations during Mark Tank.
We talked to Dr. Smith about the competition and the winners from December.
Dr. Smith, please describe the purpose of your program and its goal.
Dr. Smith: "Mark Tank" is a UAT's version of Shark Tank where students pitch their hypothetical business ideas to a panel of real-world entrepreneurs, business owners and potential investors. The goal is for the students is to see who can give the best pitch, be the most prepared and sway the panel to want to invest in them.
How did the unique award statue come about?
Dr. Smith: The award was originally a shark trophy, but when the event gained the name “Mark Tank,” a student had the idea of using me as the model of the trophy to be a more muscular version of the “Oscars” statue. So, we did the 3D scan and 3D printed them to create the busts that we have now. They have gotten larger over the semesters and look better as we get better with the printing.
Mark Tank Award statues for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
Do you take it easy on them, or would you say you and the judges strong arm them, like they may experience in real life?
Dr. Smith: They definitely strong arm them, but give insight and guidance after the criticism.
Dr. Smith questions a presenter while judge Ephrem Jando (Associate Broker at Platinum Living Realty and a Real Estate Investor), UAT Professor Natasha Vita-More, and judge Jacy Smith (UAT Business Development Specialist) listen to the answer.
How did you feel about the fall presentations?
Dr. Smith: I was very happy with the presentations and the preparedness of the students. These students were from three different BUS200 classes, which is the course this event is tied to. They held their own, answered tough questions and took the criticisms well under pressure.
Jake Fusco presents his idea, Ampytheatre, to the audience and judges.
Four projects were entered, but only one was deemed the winner. The following are the results of the fall competition.
Gold Mark Tank Award Winner
Project: Ace of Spades (entertainment and bar), presented by Christopher Hernke
The project pitch is for a poker-themed bar and restaurant. The main selling point was a POS system built off of hard plastic playing cards that would track the tabs of the customers. The establishment could set limits to prevent overindulgence from patrons, who could order from and pay from POS kiosk systems with these individually linked cards.
L to R: Dr. Smith, Christopher Hernke, and Valeria Cimarossa, Christopher's Business 200 Instructor.
Silver Mark Tank Award Winner
Project: Demeter’s Watch, presented by Marissa Williams
The project is an idea for a home gardening sensor that would be attached to an application that would track an owner’s plants and notify them when they needed water, soil, sunlight, etc.
L to R: Dr. Smith, Marissa Williams, and Dapzury Valenzuela, Marissa's Business 200 Instructor.
Bronze Mark Tank Award Winner
Project: Eyes Breaker, presented by Marc Benson
This project is a social interaction application that would allow introverted individuals to find other people close in proximity (that are also introverts) to converse with. The app would prompt users with shared interests between and give suggestions of how to "break the ice" and start a conversation.
L to R: Dr. Smith, Marc Benson, and Natasha Vita-More, Marc's Business 200 Professor.
Congrats, and a job well done to all students who participated!
The judges and winners, l to r: judge Jacy Smith, Christopher Hernke, Marissa Williams, Marc Benson, judge Brittany Cunningham (head of learning development for Learn with IntraEdge), judge Ephrem Jando, Dr. Smith, and judge Robert Walker (UAT Assistant Director of Admissions).
Who wouldn’t want to own their own business doing exactly what they want to do in life? As a Business Technology and Web Design major I sure hope to own my own business someday. While I am not quite there yet, I have gotten the chance to help someone else start theirs.
One of the things that sets UAT apart from the rest is our focus on gaining real world experience either through our day to day courses or though internships and in school production studios. Many students wish to create their own companies and gaming studios one day and using what has been taught here at the university and BunchOfNerds LLC is doing just that.
BunchOfNerds LLC (BON) started as a club of motivated students that wanted a means of working on multimedia production projects as a team. Now BON is a multimedia production company that focuses on the development of various forms of entertainment. Currently in the works are Here Or My End, a point and click horror video game, Spectrum, an animated web comic, and Feydwiir, a series of novels.
As a team of over 20 developers, designers, programmers, and artists, BON is focused on creating an array of products. In addition to our digital products BON plans on creating a line of merchandise such as stickers, hats, and t-shirts, that would include project characters and references and topical company references.
I got the chance to join just prior of BON becoming a company and have gotten the chance to participate in the business side of a startup. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just say ‘lets make this a company’ and that’s all it took? We thought so. V Greffin, founder of BON, and I, the accountant, spent several long nights, between our day to day lives, researching, planning, and building a business plan that would help grow BON.
At UAT, a Student Innovation Project (SIP) is a culmination of an undergraduate student’s hard work on a specific assignment relative to their degree and technological field of study. A SIP is similar to a Capstone or Master’s thesis but with an agile, new-age approach to developing a student’s career-readiness.
During their last three semesters at UAT, students work intensely during and outside of their SIP-designated class to develop, design, and craft their ideas into a technology product or service that makes a claim to Innovation. A student’s SIP does not have to necessarily be a new invention or completely market ready. The main task at hand is to create something innovative utilizing advancing technology—capable of being better than anything of its kind available in the market today.
“Most schools have students write papers or present research or work, but we have them create and present these creations in a live session that is actively graded as a graduation requirement,” said Dr. Mark Smith, UAT Program Champion – Business Technology and Mark Tank organizer (UAT’s version of Shark Tank).
At the end of each semester, UAT hosts a SIP Showcase event where students present their project to a panel of faculty and an audience full of fellow students. Each presenter is allowed 10 minutes to present their product or service, how it works and what their claim to Innovation is. The presentations conclude with a Q&A session where the person or team is asked about their project, such as the challenges to bring it to life, their product’s current status and market-readiness, and their plans for monetization and/or the future of the product.
Art Direction Professor Dapzury Valenzuela and the Fall 2019 SIP students.
Once finished, the judging panel takes a day to discuss the projects, and together, they pick three award winners for ‘Best in Show’, ‘Most Market Ready’, and ‘Most Intriguing’. The audience also participates in live voting during the SIP Showcase to pick the ‘Audience Choice’ award, and this year’s line-up was incredibly competitive. Dr. Dave Bolman, UAT’s Provost, commented that the Fall 2019 event as the “most impressive SIP Showcase yet”.
Best in Show, DeadNS by Garrick King
Most Market-Ready, ServerPanel by Bailey Herbert
Most Intriguing, Conflation by Ian Favreau
Audience Choice, Conflation by Ian Favreau
Although only four projects were chosen for awards, the innovation shared throughout the entire showcase far succeeded prior events according to Dr. Mark Smith, who is also a panelist and organizer for the SIP Showcase events. He commented, “The Fall 2019 SIP Showcase marked some of the best and brightest of our students showcasing some of our university’s best projects to date, and they just get better every semester as we keep raising the bar and expectations.”
SIP and additional student awards were presented by distinguished faculty. L to R: Dr. Matthew Henry, Professor Donald Schepis, Darin Palermo, James Goddard, Kyle Davis, Professor Derric Clark, Abdulai Sallah, Addison Buettner, and Professor Lynn Understiller.
UAT’s 2019 Fall SIP Showcase presentations included:
Guardians Legacy – Kyle Davis, Devon Garret, Mikaela Farrell, and Harley Davis put together an RPG (role-playing video game) project focusing on heightened skill development and utilizing skill tree choice, where a player can make customizations to their character throughout play of the game.
Escape Room AR – Darin Palermo created a Mobile platform AR (augmented reality) game allowing you to have a virtual interactive Escape Room experience from anywhere, breaking down the walls and limitations of this popular entertainment trend in a real-world setting.
Input Dependent System – Kieli Adkins and Keith Caryl created a game mechanic that uses what you pick up in the game to set the personality of a character, and the game changes and points shift depending on the user’s personality and choices.
Conflation – Ian Favreau, inspired by world-renowned artist, Salvador Dali, created a surreal art story video game that won over the audience and panelists with its use of perspectives, emotions, poem puzzles, and smooth aesthetics, featuring a dark-minded dreamscape brought to life through game art, design and animation.
Donna’s Paradigm – Donna Dinh elevated another student’s SIP project, Chris Koon’s Proficiency Sphere Map, defining and interpreting how it functions through designs and assets, transforming the original documentation into digital art form.
Project Techno – James Goddard created a DJ and car-driving video game with use of bright retro designs and colors, as well as a polished GUI (graphical user nterface) for echo location.
A Silly Guide to Love – Enrique Garcia created a video game that tests the companionship of two players by enabling the performance of one player to affect the other’s simultaneous play. He also conveyed data regarding the outcome of a study conducted during development involving the players’ temperaments and how it affected the overall compatibility score.
Task Counter – Merlin Call set out to create a video game that awards a player additional points for completing real-world tasks, such as chores or going to class, to promote accountability and set play limitations on gaming when goal tasks haven’t been completed.
UAT Space Flight Computer – Robert Perry, US Navy Veteran, developed a near space flight computer for UAT space missions that is more advanced than any option currently available on the market, built with additional sensors for more significant data collection and testing capabilities. He also shared the reporting from its last successful mission.
ServerPanel – Bailey Herbert developed a Cloud tool that allows a person to have a suite of cloud administrative services on their server, enabling hosting of multiple web servers. He is launching this as a new business in the coming weeks as a more affordable subscription service than what’s on the market today.
ReciPlease – Stephen Oellette created a Mobile app that allows recipes to be created, stored, accessed and shared with others when not connected to Wi-Fi, being unique to other recipe apps currently available where data is only accessible when connected to the Internet.
Athena – Zac Thompson built a better way for neural networks to be built, allowing live output of the network, currently in an image recognition and learning phase using the GAN (generative adversarial network) that UAT students implemented. It is in progress to make it a web-based subscription for market purchasing.
Hephastaus – Trevor Kinard created a generative design tool for FEA (finite element analysis) engineering CAD (computer aided design) work and engineering stress analytics that uses a GUI (graphical user interface) for data input.
deadNS – Garrick King created the first and only free zero-logging, encrypted DNS (Domain Name Server), with a highly professional website (https://www.deadns.com) that allows people to perform web queries without their information being tracked. It is already in the market and in use as a free service.
Cricket Learning – Brennan Joseph, Devon Large, and Brant Wagner developed a video game that teaches players awareness about ads and how to avoid click-bait by quickly eliminating ads when on a popular site with common ad space settings.
SecureIT – Shon Woodruff created a Managed Service Provider (MSP, usually a full-service IT provider for businesses) concept for residential purposes to combat the rising Cyber Security threats as well as educate individual users on awareness of how to protect and manage their digital environments at home.
MicWrite – Alex Orzescu developed an E-Sports audio transcriber that uses voice recognition to create a transcript and coaching tool aligned with play. This helps gaming teams optimize play by providing content they can review for training and development purposes.