Bergen’s Cybersecurity Program: An Interview

By: Hayden Highley

Cybersecurity is one of the many new industry-specific programs offered at Bergen. It is an especially unique program compared to others at Bergen, as it offers hands-on labs, threat analysis, and other real world activities.  I sat down with Professor George Liluashvili to talk about the program’s opportunities, his goals and motivations for the program, the impact he wants the program to have on students, and more. 

Q. Who are you, what do you do at Bergen, and what is your involvement in the new cybersecurity program?

A. I am honored to be appointed as a full-time Cybersecurity Professor at Bergen Community College. In this capacity, my responsibilities extend beyond teaching cybersecurity courses. I am excited to take on the multifaceted role within our new cybersecurity program, which includes mentoring and advising students, developing curriculum, and ensuring that our program aligns with the highest industry standards by infusing real-world expertise into our classrooms.

Before joining Bergen Community College, I served as a Visiting Professor at Farmingdale State College, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, where I had the privilege of teaching courses in Information Security, Cybersecurity, and Computer Forensics. This experience expanded my expertise and allowed me to engage with diverse students, each with unique perspectives and learning needs.

Additionally, I have been teaching a graduate-level cybersecurity course at The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics in Kyoto, Japan. These experiences have equipped me with a robust foundation and a global outlook, making me well-prepared to contribute effectively to the educational mission at Bergen Community College.

Q. What does the cybersecurity program involve?

A. The cybersecurity program encompasses a multitude of components and activities meticulously designed to prepare our students for successful careers in the cybersecurity field. From a well-structured curriculum to hands-on labs, we equip our students with the essential cybersecurity tools required for industry excellence. Core components of our cybersecurity program include educating students about threat analysis and response, ethical hacking, cryptography, computer forensics, and various facets of digital and physical security.

Q. What do you want students to get out of this program; what is the overall goal?

A. I am committed to ensuring that our students receive a comprehensive and practical education in the field of cybersecurity. It’s not just about imparting theoretical knowledge, but equipping them with the skills and experience they need to excel in their careers and future academic endeavors. We prioritize real-world, hands-on learning experiences, meaning that students won’t just be studying cybersecurity concepts from textbooks, but will actively engage with the tools, techniques, and challenges cybersecurity professionals face in the field. Our students will be well-prepared to tackle these tasks from day one.

Q. What’s your favorite class in the program to teach? Or what is your favorite part of the program?

A. Answering this question is challenging, as I genuinely enjoy teaching all the courses within the program. Each class plays a vital role in preparing our students for their future careers as cybersecurity professionals. However, if I were to choose a favorite aspect of the program, it would be witnessing our students overcome obstacles and achieve success as they proudly walk across the stage at graduation to receive their well-deserved degrees. Being a part of each student’s journey fills me with immense pride in seeing our students grow personally and professionally in our program. It is not just about what students learn or the skills they develop but about their personal growth, resilience, and determination. 

Q. If students are interested in this program, whom should they contact?

A. Students interested in enrolling in the cybersecurity program can contact the admissions office and academic advisors. If students would like to learn more about the curriculum, they are welcome to reach out to me anytime. Whether students have questions about the courses, want to explore potential career paths in cybersecurity, or seek advice on how to excel in their studies, I am here to provide guidance and support. The exciting journey in the cybersecurity program is not just about enrolling in classes but crafting a fulfilling and successful educational experience. I am excited to assist students every step of the way.

Q. Is there anything you would like to tell readers of The Torch?

A. Cybersecurity is a dynamic field with ever-evolving challenges constantly emerging on the horizon. It stands out as one of the most captivating and rewarding career paths, with cybersecurity professionals being in high demand on a global scale. This demand translates into abundant opportunities for obtaining stable employment and competitive salaries. Moreover, this career path fosters personal and professional growth and offers the financial security many aspire to achieve in their professional endeavors. I wholeheartedly encourage our students to consider entering the exciting world of cybersecurity.

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