Cottage Grove native pursuing career as IT security professional
Vang Yang, 26, a 2006 graduate of Park Senior High School, is earning an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Network Technology and Security with the goal to join the cybersecurity workforce when he graduates from Inver Hills Community College in spring 2017.
“I’ll be applying for jobs right out of college,” said Vang, who’s building his IT skill set by working in the college’s Information Technology Careers (ITC) department. He maintains lab and classroom equipment, including laptops and PCs. He has found his calling in cybersecurity and credits the ITC faculty with helping him get his future career in focus.
“The instructors are very knowledgeable and have tremendous experience working in the IT field,” Vang said. He believes that practical experience gives his instructors an edge when teaching students how to succeed as IT professionals.
Vang was a driving force behind a new Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) at Inver Hills. “The CCDC is coming up in the spring of 2016,” he said. “It’s a very exciting time, especially for Information Technology Careers students. We successfully formed a team to represent IHCC at the competition. IHCC has not competed for a few years now, and it’s good to know we are still up to the challenge.” Vang added that the CCDC is open to all students who wish to join team; they don’t have to be ITC majors.
According to Peninsula Press, a project of the Stanford University Journalism program, nearly 210,000 cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. were unfilled as of March 2015. Job postings have been up more than 70 percent since 2010. Demand for information security professionals is expected to boom by 53 percent through 2018.
According to CNBC, the U.S. government has budgeted $14 billion for cybersecurity for fiscal year 2016. Major threats are linked to cloud computing, infrastructure, mobile and medical devices, automobile hacking and state-sponsored cyber attacks. Cybersecurity giant McAfee estimates the annual cost of global cyber crime approaches $445 billion.
Active in student life on campus, Vang serves as Student Senate treasurer as well as founder and president of the college’s step team, The Legendary Crew. He is taking advantage of a 3:1 savings program as a participant in TuitionMatch-MN and also received a $500 Alumni Scholarship.
“Scholarships are a great way to encourage students to look for help—and the help is there,” Vang said. “As a student, you should really take advantage of all the resources available.”
Vang Yang Q&A
Q. What has been your toughest challenge in life?
A. Coming back to school while working full-time; relearning budgeting skills
Q. What’s your happiest life experience so far?
A. Being involved again; putting my time to good use by going to school
Q. What’s your favorite place in the world?
A. Home sweet home, my parent’s place in Cottage Grove
Q. What three words would you use to describe yourself as a college student?
A. Busy. Involved. Hopeful.
Q. What do you like best about the Student Senate?
A. I enjoy participating in larger scale contributions as a voice of the student body. The environment reinforces learning how to properly discuss important topics and to stay updated on what’s happening on campus. Working with other student leaders has really helped to develop my own leadership skills and ability to work on a team with focused goals. We have an awesome executive team this year—and the Student Senate office is always open to student concerns. So, feel free to stop by.
Q. If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would you like to meet?
A. I would like to meet the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, and ask him who he would like to meet.
Q. Would rather travel a million years into the future or a million years into the past?
A. Even though I would like to meet Plato, I’m a futuristic guy and I naturally envision great things for the future. So, if I travel into the future I can see how we as the human race have progressed or evolved. If I don’t like what I see, I can go back and vote for a different president.
Q. What’s your favorite holiday?
A. I really enjoy Christmas because I believe in the good spirits of giving, hope and happiness. Throughout the year, they can be easily forgotten. I like making snow sculptures and starting snowball fights, then I enjoy drinking hot cocoa after. Decorations are fun, too. I’m also a sucker for Christmas shows, movies, and, yes, Christmas songs.
Q. What’s your favorite animal (or bird or any sort of creature) in the world?
A. Pokémon, especially Mega Charizard
Q. If you could have one thing in the world you don’t already have, what would that one thing be?
A. Genie to make three wishes
Q. What single superpower would you like to have?
A. Green Lantern superpower to create objects out of light
Q. What’s your most prized possession?
A. Memento from my mom
Q. What’s your greatest talent?
A. I can eat a full plate of spaghetti without hands in 44 seconds.
Q. What’s your highest aspiration in life?
A. I want to build a generation better than mine.