Imagine you just logged online to view your bank account.
Instantly, you notice $300 is missing. You try to figure out how
this happened and realize your identity’s been stolen. What could
you have done to prevent this?
John Otero, professor in St. John’s College of Professional
Studies explains why every St. John’s student should take his class
in computer security and why he loves talking to students about his
experiences fighting cyber crimes.
After working 20 years with the New York City Police Department
(NYPD), Professor Otero, decided to turn in his badge in exchange
for a pointer and teach students about the field of computer
security. He retired from the NYPD at the peak of his career as
Commanding Officer of one of the largest single agency computer
crime squads in the nation, “It was a wonderful experience working
for the NYPD, but now I have a chance to give a head start to
students interested in a field I spent so many years working
Professor Otero’s interest in computers began when he was a
teenager growing up in Brooklyn, “I bought my first computer when I
was 14, and whenever it broke or something was wrong with it I had
a hard time finding someone to fix it. So I took it apart and fixed
it myself; later I began working in PC repair.” When Professor
Otero began his career working as a police officer, he was able to
apply his knowledge of computers to the job and began working with
the New York City Police Department’s computer security unit.
Anyone who engages Professor Otero in conversation about his new
career as an educator, can see he has a lot of enthusiasm for what
he does, “I bring my experiences from my career into the classroom
and explain to students how I handled certain situations so they
can learn from my successes and mistakes and find the best way to
react. It’s one thing to memorize information about computer
security from a book, but another to be placed in a real-life
situation where you have to put your knowledge to the test.”
The popularity of the
College of Professional Studies’ computer security program has
grown dramatically since its official start in September 2008.
Professor Otero notes, “Any student who’s interested in learning
how to protect themselves on the internet should take my class.
Even if they’re not interested in a career in computer security,
they will leave with some very useful information.”
Professor Otero believes the best way for students to learn
about computer security is to put themselves in the mind frame of a
criminal. “I set up a couple of computers in my class and teach the
students the methods criminals use to hack into peoples’ computer.”
In addition to this hands-on classroom experience, Professor Otero
often brings in professionals who are currently working in the
field to talk to students about some of the crimes they have helped
When asked what inspires his teaching, Professor Otero explains,
“I feel my role as an educator is to share my professional
knowledge with students so they can be armed with the past in order
to make better decisions for the future. I love to see the
expressions on my students’ faces when I tell them the details of a
crime I have helped investigate. That’s one of the best parts about
being a teacher." If you are interested in this degree
program, please contact Professor Otero.