“Success and opportunity are meeting me, and I owe it a lot to the iSchool.” These are the words of a man who has earned all of the success and opportunity he is enjoying. With his career well underway, he still conveys the energy and passion that kept him motivated from the beginning.
Anthony Herbert ’15 got an early start in the information technology field. Attending Thomas Edison High School in NYC gave him a leg up in computer networking. As a career and technical education high school, it allowed him to “major” in computer networking. This trajectory led him to apply to Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. Little did he know, the School of Information Studies caught wind of his application and acumen, and they quickly recruited and converted him to a proud, if not surprised, member of the iSchool student body.
“What got me on my path was information security at the iSchool, it really piqued my interest. It kind of tied into what I was doing before, but I hadn’t really focused on it… Initially, it was how do we make these things work? Whereas, I started to learn that now these things are working, how do we secure the stuff that is flying over the wire?” says Herbert. His interest shifted from creating systems for information sharing, to how and where this information is stored and how to protect it. He found that he was more passionate about the future of information security than his former focus on networking. Anthony had received his CISCO certification in high school and was able to bring that training along with him to the fresh curriculum of the iSchool.
At Thomas Edison High School, Herbert participated in a national CISCO NetRiders Competition, and with his partner, finished fifth in the country. That experience fueled his desire to compete in the same event at the collegiate level, and while working on his own, he finished first in New York State, and in the top 30 in the country. That was towards the end of his freshman year, and by his sophomore year, with the guidance of Professor Bahram Attaie, Anthony had fully adjusted his attention from networking to security. He soon realized that the need for internet security was moving beyond government and large companies, and becoming a priority for regular people. The information security industry was about to boom.
Herbert holds the position of Lead for all Federal and Mid-Atlantic clients for the security company Securonix. Though Herbert joined the company while it was still a fledgling startup, Securonix now boasts a formidable market share of the security industry, and has experienced massive growth in its sector. While many other organizations have tried to poach Herbert away from Securonix, he feels a sense of loyalty towards the company that gave him a chance and has supported his own professional growth.
About starting and staying with Securonix, Herbert says, “Once you’re in the field, after a year or so, you become so in-demand that companies left and right literally try and take you for themselves. Because you’re in the field, you are experienced, so they want to make sure that they can get you in to be a lead, or to be a senior.” He emphasizes that Securonix never tried to hold him in one place. They hand him challenges and encourage him to succeed, even if there is no real precedent in place for him to follow. Securonix builds great technologies and provides a supportive culture for employees to flourish.
The relationship that Herbert started with the iSchool in 2015 continues to this day. He remains involved with his alma mater in a number of ways. “I’m a very active alum. I try to go back whenever I can. Of course, with COVID, I gotta respect that. But for games, for iSchool events, I was also a part of some other Black and Latino programs on campus, so definitely a lot of reasons to go back and to celebrate and stay connected,” says Herbert. For instance, while a student, he was involved with the founding of the Information Security Club, and he likes to stay connected with the competitive team that comes out of that club – The Information Security Team.
“I try to go back whenever I can. For games, for iSchool events … definitely a lot of reasons to go back and to celebrate and stay connected.”
Another enduring connection between Herbert and the iSchool are the approximately 25 alumni who also work at Securonix. They all share a Slack channel so there is constant communication between the former iSchoolers. Herbert has been involved in tabling events at the Syracuse campus for recruitment, and is entirely aware that hiring within the security business is highly competitive. But as Herbert says, “whenever there is an event or any type of chance to come back, the company fully supports it because they realize the quality that comes out of Syracuse really helps the company.”
Currently, Herbert is working towards establishing a dedicated lab, or cluster, that would house the Securonix brand and allow students more direct access and experience with the information security company, while continuing to work towards their own educational goals. This model could be a hands-on alternative to internships and co-ops, while giving students direct exposure to the field, and giving Securonix a curated feeder program. Herbert is a true believer in the iSchool’s ability to mold excellent professionals. “The biggest thing the iSchool did for me, and that I hope everyone takes advantage of, is it makes you so well rounded, the iSchool makes you align your passions with your skill sets,” says Herbert, “when you’re into something and you’re passionate about it, make sure you really put your stamp on it; everyone at the iSchool gets that base that is going to springboard them into the future.”