Paul Bingham, Executive Dean at Western Governors University (WGU), speaks with KL Allen, Chancellor and Regional Director for Central Region, WGU Ohio, in a video interview about his professional journey, his role at WGU, challenges faced by IT professionals, and career guidance for the younger generation.
Bingham begins by stating that since childhood, he has always held a curiosity and fascination for computers and technology. As a result, he quickly became known as the ‘go-to’ for help with tech-related problems.
After starting a career with the FBI in 1995, he was assigned to the Cyber Investigation Squad in 2003, dedicating the next 16 years to investigating criminal and terrorist activities over the internet. This, in turn, led to him joining WGU in 2019 as Senior Vice President of the College of Information Technology.
While his current job duties focus more on management and strategic planning, Bingham shares that he still makes time to correspond with students and faculty and take part in their remote course activities. His favorite part of the job is celebrating student graduations and attending commencement.
In continuation, Bingham states that he is blessed to have a supportive team at WGU that inspires him with its energy and commitment to increasing opportunity for all their students. He says coming to work every day is exciting for him due to the list of people on his team.
Moreover, Bingham shares that while his job is more managerial than techy, he still pays attention to tech and its security aspects. For advice in this area, he listens to podcasts such as DarkNet Diaries, Sams's Daily Storm Cast, and Risky Business.
Further, Bingham looks to a few email lists to keep up to date on tech security. He specifically follows Krebs on Security, run by Brian Krebs, the former Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and Cyber Scoop, which gathers news from across the internet.
Moving forward, Bingham views his role as both a challenge and an opportunity to stay up to date with the rapidly evolving skill set within the IT profession. To ensure the curriculum is current, he utilizes skills alignment that links job-demand skills with the curriculum, to enable students to become prepared for job readiness.
Additionally, he prepares students for many areas within the IT discipline, such as cybersecurity, IT management, cloud computing, computer science, software engineering, data analytics, and data science.
Highlighting challenges, he suggests that there are three challenges that IT professionals face:
A growing lack of qualified individuals to fill the many IT job openings available, making it difficult to meet the workforce gap.
The rapidly evolving landscape of the IT discipline, which presents potential challenges but also enables one to do more.
Educating humans on how to handle and use technology to prevent vulnerabilities and keep networks running smoothly.
Furthermore, Bingham claims that technology has been progressing at an incredible rate since the 1970s and that soon it might be possible to browse the internet without the need to type anything on the keyboard. He expresses both excitement and concern since this possibility arrives with the necessity to maintain the security of the systems.
Speaking about career prospects, Bingham suggests that one should think about it and be curious about exploring the subject. He recommends taking advantage of the many free resources available on the internet to learn and try it out.
In addition, he advises building a home network and using virtual machines to gain experience and play around to see if it is something to pursue. He notes that “TryHackMe” and “Hack The Box” are two great platforms for simulated exercises that help to experience real-world issues.
In conclusion, Bingham invites potential students to join over 40,000 enrolled in WGU's College of Information Technology's degree programs. He emphasizes offering students the opportunity to not just get their degree, but also embedded industry certifications and digital badges to help students get better jobs before even finishing their degree.
Paul Bingham | Executive Dean, Western Governors University
Bingham goes on to say that certifications help get jobs while degrees help get a career. He encourages people to send him an email to let him know about their experience as students.
CDO Magazine appreciates Paul Bingham for sharing his insights with our global community.