NU Online Profile of Success: Thomas Sittmann BS in Cybersecurity ‘21

by NU Online on 5/17/23 9:15 AM

Norwich University is committed to supporting our students who pursue public service. Recently, Norwich alumnus Thomas Sittmann was one of 38 Fellows out of over 1,000 applicants selected as part of the inaugural cohort of the U.S. Digital Corps, working for the Administration for Children and Families in the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Sittmann, a 2021 online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity graduate, will spend the next two years in this new program the White House launched to bring civic-minded early-career technologists to serve in the federal government.

Blending Public Service with Cybersecurity

Thomas Sittmann HeadshotSittmann needed a flexible online bachelor’s program with experience educating U.S. military personnel to support his future career plans for years to come.

"My wife was on active duty at the time, so we were constantly moving, and it became difficult. While stationed in Germany, I went to the Education Center, and there was literature about the P3 program and Norwich's participation. So, it fit what I was looking for as an army reservist," Sittmann said in a recent interview. "I was trying to find a career I could take with me, and cybersecurity was one of those."

Starting his cybersecurity career in 2019, Sittmann looked for a program that would help him learn applicable skills immediately. Norwich University's online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity with a concentration in Computer Forensics and Vulnerability Management provided him with the penetration testing, analysis, and reporting skills to set him apart from others in the field and help him earn his current position with the U.S. Digital Corps.

"I went back to school in 2018 but started working in the cybersecurity field in the early part of 2019. Because of my education at Norwich, I was very fortunate to learn topics that I was actually applying (to my job). I could take the concepts and the work from the labs we did in class and apply them to real-world scenarios. That allowed me to develop my skills – probably a little faster than individuals that did not have that opportunity," Sittmann reflected. "The education I received and my CISA internship experience allowed me to stand out.”

An Institution with Shared Values

With working full time, Sittmann needed a program that aligned with his work schedule. The eight-week course structure of Norwich's online programs allowed him to complete classes around large work projects. Additionally, Norwich's 200-year legacy of military instruction provided Sittmann with a supportive environment for his career and a culture that matched his military background.

"At first, especially when I was working and doing school, there were time management issues balancing work and school. But, the professors especially were very understanding because they were also working and teaching. I was very fortunate to have instructors passionate about the material and then had a shared experience as me being in the military or working for the federal government," Sittmann noted.

A Future Full of Success

For his future professional plans, Sittmann aims to use his current skillset and knowledge learned in Norwich's cybersecurity program to move into a higher-level position in the field.

"My supervisor is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and acting Chief Information Officer (CIO) for an entire agency. I'm very fortunate to be working for someone whose career trajectory has just been astronomical and something I aspire to reflect. In a 10-year time frame, I would like to emulate what he has done and potentially serve as a CISO (chief information security officer), CIO, CTO, or something in a similar capacity," Sittmann said.

Prior to his current role, Sittmann spent six years on active duty as an Arab linguist before transitioning to the Army Reserves, where he continues to serve. As a civilian, he worked for CISA for 15 months, then worked as an incident responder for the National Guard Bureau for a year. In 2022, he was selected for the USDC Fellowship. He plans to stay in this role for the upcoming years while living in North Carolina with his wife and three kids.

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