UAH BSBA graduate Hunter Armstrong ready to battle cybersecurity threats

James Hunter Armstrong
Hunter Armstrong

In the world of cybersecurity, there are technical experts, and there are agency administrators. They don’t always speak the same language. James Hunter Armstrong is one of the translators.

At least he will be after May 4 when he graduates from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of The University of Alabama System, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in information systems with a concentration in cybersecurity. Then he’ll be ready to fill a vital communications role as the link between the experts and the managers.

Effective communication is important to the functioning of any team – especially in government, where actions can affect countless people and their personal information.

“I have taken enough managerial classes to understand the management perspective and enough technical classes to understand the technology,” Armstrong says.

The people running the technology, he adds, are “really focused on their craft, so it can be difficult for them to communicate with someone who doesn’t know about cybersecurity.”

Armstrong gained direct experience with experts and managers during an internship last summer at a government agency. After graduation, he will be employed by the same agency.

Armstrong began his journey to cybersecurity go-between when he was studying computer science at Calhoun Community College during the virtual days of the pandemic. He was approached about CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS). Offered at select schools, including UAH, by the National Science Foundation and co-sponsored by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and Department of Homeland Security, CyberCorps aims to train the nation’s next line of cybersecurity experts.

“I looked into the scholarship and decided to go into cyber.”

So, he transferred to UAH.

Among the UAH classes that Armstrong says have helped him the most are business communication with Anthony Greer and business writing with Elizabeth Hardin.

“Business communication was great for learning how to present yourself in a business setting and communicate verbally, and business writing was super helpful for communicating nonverbally in the workplace.”

Armstrong also appreciates his classes with Dr. D.J. Hovermale, clinical assistant professor in the College of Business.

“I learned everything I know about cyber here at UAH,” he says.

Last summer’s internship built on Armstrong’s UAH studies.

“It helped me learn how to work with a professional team,” he says, “but that was not too different from here at UAH. It also gave me an inside look at how it is to work in government.”

Now Armstrong is ready for a new career. But he also might find time to protect his home from the cyber threats he knows can be lurking.

“Everything in your house is going to be cyber,” he says, referring to the latest appliance and home-security technology. “They already can hack our refrigerators. We recently moved into a new house. I haven’t had time to think of a safe way to implement the technology, so we haven’t done it yet.”