From Industrial Engineering to Cybersecurity

Jo-Ann Clynch shares how Georgia Tech's Cybersecurity Certificate program helped launch her career in cybersecurity

June 08, 2022 | By Jose McKinney
Photo of Jo-Ann Lynch next to Georgia Tech's Iconic Tech Tower

Immersed in one of the most rapidly evolving industries, Jo-Ann Clynch knows how important—and challenging it is to learn about the latest developments in cybersecurity. That’s why she appreciated her experience completing the Cybersecurity Certificate program at Georgia Tech Professional Education, which opened career opportunities that she never expected.  

Background in Technology and Innovation 

As a graduate of Georgia Tech’s industrial engineering undergraduate degree program, Clynch knew firsthand the value of a Georgia Tech education. “I knew that Georgia Tech takes its technical programs very seriously,” she explained, “I chose Georgia Tech because of its commitment to excellence.”  

But she wasn’t always interested in cybersecurity, or even aware of its prevalence. After earning degrees in industrial engineering and math as well as an MBA, Clynch grew her career in the energy sector, leading and mentoring teams to innovate new technology to solve business problems while delivering financial benefits. As she progressed in her career, she learned about the important role that cybersecurity plays in safeguarding business operations. She sought out GTPE’s Cybersecurity program to increase her knowledge.  

Learning the Field of Cybersecurity 

Throughout her experience in the certificate program, Clynch enjoyed the balance between breadth, depth and quality of instruction. The program covers a variety of topics including strategy, risk and operations.  

“GTPE helped me understand the ‘big picture’ and technical details of cybersecurity, which helped me determine which area of focus I could apply my strengths to most positively impact the business operations.”  

Clynch also appreciated the application of hands-on learning in her classes. “There was an effective balance between classroom discussion and ‘hands-on’ technical exercises,” she recalled. “As a person who likes to learn about the latest technology, the lab setting helped me understand firsthand about the complexities of various aspects of the field. I enjoyed learning about details like penetration testing and forensics which helped me to be a more informed leader.” Taught by instructors with real experience in the field, the program offered relevant, applicable, cutting-edge instruction that Clynch knew she wouldn’t have been able to find online.  

Applying Knowledge to the Field 

Equipped with foundational knowledge about a new industry from a credible source, Clynch was well positioned to pursue the cybersecurity field further in her current company, opening opportunities that she had never expected before. “I now had additional skills that I could draw upon, which opened doors and new opportunities,” she explained. “Now, I am in a position to directly apply the information I learned at Georgia Tech to solve real world problems with advanced skills and a more informed mindset.” In her new role in cyber resiliency and risk, Clynch leverages her new knowledge to ensure that business operations can continuously run efficiently and deliver on target outcomes.  

Having learned in greater breadth and depth about the field of cybersecurity, Clynch can now better understand and appreciate roles and functions across the cybersecurity field, positioning her to lead with empathy, intentionality and collaboration. Knowing the entirety of the industry allows her to comprehend her team members’ responsibilities more fully and provide more relevant guidance and assistance.  

Learning for a Lifetime 

As Clynch anticipates the future, she is excited to continue working and growing in the cybersecurity field. She plans to continue building on the skills she learned through the certificate program and plans to return for more professional education as the field continues to evolve.

“The Georgia Tech cybersecurity professional certification program was outstanding, and I was able to apply the knowledge I learned from the program immediately as a business leader with new and critical thinking."

“The instructors and administrators are committed to helping students succeed while maintaining high program standards. I began the program with the intent to simply increase my knowledge in response to a complex, emerging industry and never imagined I would be working in a new and exciting role in cyber resiliency and risk.”