Since I was a child I knew that I was going to be a computer geek. My happiest moment throughout my childhood has been when my father brought home our first computer. I remember spending hours on end, learning all its intricacies, not only in applications side but also how it worked and the evolution of technology since its inception and what it is today. The most interesting subject for me even today remains the future of computer technology. Having completed my bachelor’s in Information Technology from Dharmsinh Desai University, I am now motivated to continue my journey within the field at a much higher and more satisfying level – that of undertaking advanced study in Computer Science with combination of Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Security. Main reasons why I want to study cybersecurity are described in this essay.
I now know that I am headed in the right direction and the road to future was now clearly visible. I am also proud of what I have achieved so far. Though I was amongst the most active and prolific students of my college, I did not do so at cost of my academic record. In fact, I have consistently scored distinction grades and have always been ranked in the top 3% of my batch. During this time I have let my creativity and inquisitiveness guide me towards developmental work, trying to study and understand the latest technological breakthroughs and applications as they take place in the real world today.
My association with the field grew stronger because of a collaborative and supportive faculty at my university. During my undergraduate study, my professors helped me understand concepts of data structures and object oriented principles. They encouraged me to participate in competitive coding and supported me to become the campus ambassador of HackerEarth, which provided me with a platform to host coding competitions. I have enjoyed my college’s annual Tech Fest where students from across the state participate and give us an opportunity to be amongst our peers and learn from them.
My first real introduction to computer Networks was during the fourth semester of my undergraduate studies when the subject “Computer and Communication Network” was a part of the syllabus. Like most students, my journey in Networking world begin with this subject. From the first moment of studying the OSI model layers, I was totally entranced. The subject was not only intuitive and easy to understand but its use and implementation could be seen everywhere around us in our university campus. From the LAN ports in computer labs and wireless routers were installed in our campus to the default gateways connecting us to the internet, networking was truly a miracle of modern technology.
In order to further my understanding of the practical aspects of Computer Networking, I signed up as Netacad Student for Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing & Switching (CCNA) as a part of optional training for students from 4th Semester to 7th semesters in our university. Even though a lot of topics which I studied were familiar to me through my Networking studies in the 4th semester the real difference was the first-hand experience and familiarization with various networking equipment with various Networking devices like Switches, Routers and Wireless Modems/ Access Points.
I have been a self-starter and a proactive engineer throughout my undergraduate course. As a freshman, I studied cryptography on my own from online platforms like Udemy and Udacity and developed an encryption algorithm inspired from the affine cipher algorithm (type of monoalphabetic substitution cipher). I also embedded it in a user-friendly software package which would take a text file as an input and produce its encrypted version as the output.
In the 6th Semester I studied subject “Knowledge System”, recommended book was “Artificial Intelligence by Elaine Rich and Kevin Knight”. In this course, I learned ‘how intelligent machines are created that work and react like humans’. After successful completion of this subject, my second thought was what is the link of AI with Cyber Security. Then, I came across questions such as ‘How AI is used in Security Today?’, ‘Why AI Important for Cyber Security?’ and ‘What is the Future of AI in Cyber Security’. This three questions grabbed my attention due to its huge demand in future and decided to pursue further studies in Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Security.
The most important one though was my final semester internship project on Development of Web Portal for Central Authentication and Authorization of Services. Work on this project was done at the Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), one of the elite research organizations in India. I worked in the company of seasoned researchers in order to develop this project using a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP).
Illinois Institute of Technology’s MS computer science program will enable me to build the expertise that I want and need. State of art resources both in terms of course offering and laboratory infrastructure lay the foundation for a highly conducive academic atmosphere which I know will bring out the best in me. The feedback from current and former students has backed this understanding with inside knowledge. I dream to make it big and I have a track record of determining and delivering, these two I know are a powerful combination, thus I ask for admission.