Grayson Berman (Computer Science ‘19) knew he wanted to be a business owner. His first thought was to go into economics or pursue a degree in business. But it was his mother who encouraged him to pursue a degree in computer science, so he always had something to fall back on. Heeding his mother’s advice, Berman switched gears and invested his academic career into a program with fruitful job prospects. In Berman’s case, this changed his college experience and his career trajectory eventually leading him to his dream of owning a business.

Integrating Business into Computer Science Pursuing College with Business in Sight

After making the switch to computer science, Berman hit the ground running searching for courses that would fit his unique needs. “I tried some programming classes and I enjoyed it enough to sign up for computer science classes. I stayed because the job opportunities are fantastic,” said Berman. 

At the Fowler School of Engineering, our programs like computer science and information security and policy prepare our students to navigate the complex digital landscapes of today’s data-driven world. 

Amongst the many courses he took, the one that stood out to him the most was taught by instructor Rene German M.S. In his class Data Structures and Algorithms, German managed the coursework with the same rigidity as a business. 

“One of my teachers here wanted us to learn in a way to understand how our expertise would work in business. And part of that is understanding to meet deadlines and learning that there isn’t a ton of flexibility in that space,” said Berman.

This course resonated with Berman’s specific needs by offering him the perfect combination of engineering and business. This class demonstrated the fundamentals of an engineer’s role in a business. In the years to come, Berman would soon discover how instrumental these lessons were for his career path.

From Computer Science to Many Cybersecurity Careers

The developing field of cybersecurity offers high-salary roles for young professionals. Since more businesses and organizations are adopting technology-driven practices, the higher the demand for cybersecurity roles becomes. 

Berman’s path after graduation was set with Lockheed Martin as a Cyber Intelligence Analyst, where he handled top-secret documents and analyzed advanced information. From there, Berman moved on to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as an Information System Security Officer helping communities and organizations comply with ever-changing data security policies. 

After spending a few years in the world of cybersecurity, Berman was ready for his next move but knew he needed to reassess his skills before taking the plunge. 

“There was a big gap in my skill set and I thought ‘Okay whatever my next job is, it needs to teach me something new and it needs to offer some new skills’. So, I jumped into cyber sales.”

After seven months of serving as the Director of Sales for Goliath Cyber Security Group, along with the knowledge from his engineering courses, Berman gained the confidence to dive into entrepreneurship. 

Berman returned to Chapman to share his unique experience of owning his own business and encouraged current engineering students to consider taking unconventional career moves. 

 Inspired by Knowledge, Founded in Failure

A young man with dark-framed glasses, standing in front of his presentation. He is holding his phone in one hand, and a water bottle in the other.

Instructor German did not hesitate to invite his former students back to speak with current engineering students. “I knew he was doing a lot of really good things out there in the real world, specifically in the area of cybersecurity”, said German. 

As a young professional with an eclectic amount of cybersecurity experience, Berman was eager to give back to his alma mater. He said, “Jumping into the field [cybersecurity] I wasn’t prepared, I didn’t know what to do. And that’s kind of the case for most students. So, I thought it was a good idea to give back and it’s an opportunity to help those students.”

During his time as a Chapman Berman made an unprecedented decision to change courses. Now, he steps back onto campus prepared to energize students into thinking differently about the field of engineering. With a wealth of knowledge in his back pocket,  Berman shared his most unexpected lesson from his time in the cybersecurity workforce. “The best way to do it is just to go do it. Go make the mistake. Go fail. That’s the best way to learn,” advised Berman

For more stories about the Fowler School of Engineering’s graduates check out how this Chapman Engineering Alumni Swings for Major League Baseball.