James Gale: Class of 2007 (Mechanicsburg High School, Computer Information Systems (CIS)alumni spotlight- jan 2018

James is a graduate of Mechanicsburg High School and CPAVTS’s previous program, Computer Information Systems. James has continued advancement in his field over the years. Although he has the potential for work in various areas within the cyber world, his focus career-wise has been Cyber Security, specific to the medical industry.

James agreed to fill us in on his experiences.

Here is what he had to say:

Describe the company or industry in which you currently work.

“I work for the Penn State Health System, in other words, the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.”


What is your job title and what do you do?

“My title is Cyber Security Engineer, and I’ve been with Penn State Health for three years. My primary responsibility is configuring and maintaining a wide variety of cyber security systems such as: network intrusion/monitoring systems (IDS/IPS), anti-virus, data loss prevention and endpoint encryption. This names a few. I am also heavily involved with our Cyber Security Incident Response Team. I help detect, analyze, respond and contain/mitigate, cyber threats, both internal and external to the Penn State Health Network.”


What other employment have you had related to your program areas at CPAVTS?

“From 2008 through 2014, I worked at Capital BlueCross.  For the first four years, I worked as a Desktop Support Engineer. The last two years there, I spent working as an IT Security Analyst.”


What additional education and training did you receive after leaving CPAVTS?

“In 2011, I graduated from Harrisburg University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems. In 2012, I earned by CompTIA Security+ certification. This year I’ve earned two SANS certifications: GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA) and GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH).”

And where did you receive it?

“CPAVTS gave me a tremendous advantage when I went to college. As far as the technical classes are concerned, I was far ahead of my classmates, because of what I had already learned as a high school student, at CPAVTS. The first year of college and part of the second, were already covered in my class at Votech. It made my college transition much easier and I was more comfortable in my college courses with the knowledge I already possessed and understanding of the material.”

“I can definitely say that choosing to go to CPAVTS IS one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Without what I learned at CPAVTS, and the opportunities it enabled me to have, I don’t think I would be where I am in my career today.”


How was Cumberland Perry different than your regular high school?

“What stands out to me the most, is that I got to spend half of my day with other students that shared my exact same interests: computers and technology. I was able to connect and discuss these topics with other students. I was also able to meet others that would be going into the same industry as me and I wouldn’t have if I would have stayed at Mechanicsburg.”


How has your industry changed since your time at Cumberland Perry in terms of technology and equipment?

“As with anything technology related, things change rapidly in the computer world. However, a lot of the fundamentals are the same and still apply to what I do today. Although my program at CPAVTS didn’t necessarily focus on what I do now (Cyber Security), learning the basics at CPAVTS has propelled me through college life and beyond.”


What is your favorite CPAVTS memory?

“My favorite memory from my three years at CPAVTS, would have to be the fact that I spent half of every day during that time, in school, absolutely loving what I was doing. It almost didn’t feel like school! I was so involved in what I worked on each day and had so much fun doing it. Also, Mr. Champion, although no longer an instructor at CPAVTS, was an incredible educator.”