[Student Spotlight] Government Employee Subah Sachdeva

From New York to Chigaco, “Cybersecurity Is a Very Integral Part of Today. Everything’s Digital.”

Coding Is in Her DNA

Coming from a family of engineers, Subah Sachdeva had many role models in the technology industry at an early age. She began teaching herself to code at age 13, noting with a chuckle, “It was the only area that was consistent that kept me out of trouble, probably.”

Subah pursued an undergraduate degree in computer science but quickly moved into information systems. She worked as a technology associate and web application developer at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York before moving to beautiful Lakewood, Colorado. 

An Exciting Opportunity Appears

In Colorado, Subah secured a contracting position at Astor & Sanders as a software developer and was promoted to senior software developer. She soon became a full-time employee of the United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS). Subah credits her employment partially to her cybersecurity education. “I think part of the reason I got converted [from a contractor] to a Fed [Federal Employee] was because I decided to invest in a cybersecurity engineering degree.”

USD Is One of the Few Schools to Offer a Cyber Security Engineering Degree

Subah decided to pursue a master’s degree in cybersecurity because cybersecurity is an integral part of a software engineer’s job. She wanted to invest in additional education to make herself more of a competitive candidate and further her career. The skills she acquired while earning her USD degree are essential to her current position. “Cybersecurity is a very integral part of what we do as software engineers.”
The journey to finding USD was fairly simple since not many schools offer a Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering as a major. Subah found that the majority of cybersecurity programs focused on business or politics, but not engineering. She enrolled in the remote program and was able to take classes while working her full-time job in Colorado.

From Coder to Classmate

In the program, Subah learned a variety of cyber engineering skills and had unforgettable experiences with classmates and professors. She was impressed that the remote program was so organized and structured, and how easy it was to work in groups. “One of the most important aspects of being in cybersecurity, especially in this program, is being able to work well with others.” 

One surprising skill she learned was how to create a well-written technical white paper. She didn’t realize the full benefit of this skill until she was training 16 agents at the USFWS on an app and was pulling together documentation. She wrote a simple technical outline, which helped shape her training.

She also found value in learning to set up a virtual sandbox during the program. It was a truly educational experience and has helped in her professional day-to-day responsibilities. Subah also enjoyed her cryptography coursework, which included a strong programming aspect. One of her assignments was to make an application to encrypt sensitive data, which was a new and exciting skill.

What’s Next?

Subah enjoys a variety of tasks in her current position: working in Javascript, coding, doing database work, training special agents, and more. Recently, she was able to visit the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and help code apps for the Federal Government. 

Although she’s not too concerned about the future, she has loose plans to finish paying off student loans and potentially pursue another degree down the road. The IT industry, especially the cybersecurity field, is fast-paced, so additional education is never out of the question.

Advice for Prospective Students

“Work as a team. It’s very easy to have your ego kind of stand in the way and cause a lot of conflicts,” says Subah. “Be ready to take criticism […] because you don’t know it all.” She encourages prospective students to lean on classmates for support and recommends that they have some technical background, even if it’s self-taught. 

From the Fashion Institute of New York to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Software Engineer Subah Sachdeva has paved her path, with the help of USD, and is looking forward to continuing her cybersecurity engineering career.

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