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July 21, 2017

Interview with Lee Shabe: Cybersecurity success from Iraq and back

Capella graduate Lee Shabe talks about his career, his Capella experience, and offers advice for professionals who may want to follow in his footsteps.

Capella University graduate Lee Shabe’s career trajectory has brought him all the way to the role of President of Government Services at Belcan, LLC. This position oversees the company’s new government business segment which will focus on cybersecurity, managed information technology services, and engineering services for the U.S. government and institutions around the world. We caught up with him to chat about his career, his Capella experience, and get some advice for professionals who may want to follow in his footsteps.

Q. How did you get started in information security?

A. I worked in the air force as a Special Agent in the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI). During that time cybersecurity was just starting to emerge as an important national interest. Since I had experience in national security, I decided to dig deeper into the cybersecurity and enterprise IT skillset. I was self-taught in enterprise IT in the beginning and worked in the areas of enterprise storage area networks and disaster recovery architectures.

Q. What brought you to Capella?

A. I was deployed in Iraq as a contractor and looking for a way to further invest in my career. Because information security had become a regular part of my job, a master’s in IT security seemed like a logical next step. I was overseas and I needed an online program with a lot of flexibility and I found Capella’s Master’s in IT, Information Cybersecurity program.

Q. How was your Capella experience?

A. It was very positive. When I was in Iraq, I took classes every quarter. Being 8 hours ahead could have made going back to school impossible, but thanks to the communication and support of staff and faculty, the time difference wasn’t an issue.

My Capella courses were extremely relevant to the work I was doing at that time, which was building and maintaining global data storage enterprises and developing new data shipment capabilities directly supporting the warfighter. The capstone part of my program allowed me to focus on what was relevant in my career, and my final project covered the security aspects of enterprise IT solutions with local storage in the global environment. I was actually able to use parts of papers I created for my courses to develop a certification process for my job.

In addition, Capella helped me build the confidence and credibility to speak publicly about my profession with engineers and leadership, as well as on panels with government agencies.

Q. What are you focused on now?

A. I was brought on to Belcan to build out our Government Services business. My focus is on acquiring companies and securing new contracts. I’m excited to work with this team to help develop and expand these capabilities, which are in demand around the world.

Q. Any advice you’d give to other professionals who may be considering a move into information security or IT management?

A. Although most courses in my program were technical in nature, Capella also helped me gain a crucial understanding of business skills and processes. For any manager in IT or cybersecurity, these courses are a must to understand and support your IT team.

You don’t need to be a cyber whiz or engineer to enroll in these programs. Everything is presented in a way that builds foundational knowledge first so you can succeed when you get to the more complex parts of your program. It’s one of the best paced programs you can do while working, and not a burden. You can really go through your coursework when it fits your schedule. My advice would be: don’t be scared or intimidated about pursuing your career goals, you can do it.

 If you want to take your skills and knowledge to the next level, learn more about Capella University’s information cybersecurity programs:

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs.