Furthering Education Through Conferences!

By: Chloe Gamber, Head Academics Writer

Previously this month, BSides hosted a conference in Huntsville, Alabama that members of the McKendree Cyber Security Team attended. BSides educates people of all ages all around the United States through conferences and courses that are held throughout each year. They have even hosted events in St. Louis in previous years! One course consisted of a one day event involving hacking a drone along with gaining knowledge and tools to further your education on the process. Semester courses are also offered by the organization, which is a great way for anyone to further their education; certifications are also offered for many technical subjects. 

Image taken by Chloe Gamber

Educational experiences are also present in the conferences through different sessions – one main presentation educated the audience on encryption machines throughout history! A special piece involved one of a handful of Enigma machines left from World War II – the Enigma machine is a cipher device that was developed in order to protect different forms of communication. Encryption influences date back to Egypt around 1900 B.C.,  which shows how developing these tools have been in our history for centuries. The following image shows a basic blueprint on what the Enigma machine involves. Throughout time, there have been adjustments to this machine, but it is no longer in use. 

Image retrieved from https://hackaday.com/2017/08/22/the-enigma-enigma-how-the-enigma-machine-worked/

Another session involved how technology is impacting start-up culture. Start-up companies are always sprouting, even during the pandemic. During this session, many subjects such as the determination needed for a start-up and the need to go above what is expected are key components to a successful start-up company. The speaker emphasized on how working for a big company is not always the route to go for a career. In their experience, a big company did not benefit them in furthering their learning or development – instead, it involved busy work along with a lack of focus on end goals for projects. 

Sadly, more times than not this will not change because the company has no need for change. A company may feel this comfortable when it has accomplished a great following that they are not threatened to lose. When a company only grows through following and not through inspiration, they no longer have the spark from its early development. The speaker also felt that this experience was still valuable for many reasons along with giving them guidance on how to share their experiences with others through events such as BSides Conference.

Attending extracurricular events or conferences are great ways to gain knowledge and once in a lifetime experiences that you will regret missing! Taking time to search for new ways to network is another essential part of developing anyone’s career path. While in college, asking professors or fellow students with similar interests are some of the ways to learn more about these opportunities. Bringing a friend or members of a team can help learning experiences be more exciting and personable.

 During your time at McKendree, it is important to expand your mind through new experiences and try events out even if they do not seem too exciting at first glance. The results might surprise you, along with possibly sparking a new interest. Extended education is always an option even years after schooling and will always be around if you search hard enough! 

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