Alumnus thriving as cybersecurity expert and Arizona State University adjunct professor

St. Clair County Community College alumnus Alexander Neff credits his alma mater for helping him keep pace while pursuing his career along today’s information superhighway.

Neff, 33, of Mesa, Ariz., is employed as a cybersecurity and compliance manager for VisualVault and recently became an adjunct professor at Arizona State University.

“Everything I learned prepared me to jump into my career full steam and allowed me to catch up to speed quickly on technologies I hadn’t learned yet,” he said. “Without SC4, I would have never achieved the level of success I have today.”

The Algonac High School graduate earned his Associate of Science degree in computer information systems (networking) from SC4 in 2006. He then went on to attend Northern Arizona University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in information technology management in 2012 and later his Master of Science degree in management of information systems from the University of Arizona in 2017.

Neff began working as a systems analyst for Magellan21 in Glendale, Ariz., in 2010 and later became an information security architect for the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System in Phoenix in 2011 before accepting his current position this year with VisualVault. He is also a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).

“In my first few positions after graduation, I supported small business networks,” Neff said. “My degree from SC4 aligned well with those positions. In order to move forward with my career, I transitioned to cybersecurity and was able to leverage all of my experience up to that point. In my current position, I’m in charge of cybersecurity and compliance for a company that provides software as a service.”

He also will soon teach college classes similar to the ones he took at SC4.

“I actually just accepted the position at ASU to teach night classes,” he said. “I will be teaching a couple of 100 and 200 level information technology and cybersecurity classes a semester, exactly the kind of classes I took at SC4. I feel it’s a way to strengthen my own knowledge while training the next wave of cybersecurity engineers as they are sorely needed in the industry. In the next few years, there’s expected to be a shortage of millions of cybersecurity workers.”

Neff added SC4 was a stepping-stone to higher education.

“The education I received at SC4 gave me a solid foundation of how technology works and allowed me to get my feet wet in my career,” he said.

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