Aligning an Interest in Technology with a Desire to Help Protect the Nation from Adversaries

Tyler Klosterman Realty Specialist, US Department of Interior

Tyler Klosterman is a realty specialist for the Bureau of Reclamation, a federal agency within the United States Department of the Interior which oversees water resource management throughout the western United States.

Tyler is a true patriot who is looking for ways to enhance his capabilities and hone his talents in ways that will help him best serve his country. His penchant for technology coupled with his desire to defend the integrity of the U.S. government’s information technology systems and computer networks from large and diverse cyber threats drew him to the Federal Cyber Reskilling Academy (FCRA).

Here, Tyler talks to us about his experience participating in the FCRA. He offers insights and advice to others who are looking to broaden their career horizons and considering applying to the Academy.

How did you get interested in computer technology and, more specifically, cybersecurity?

I have always had an interest in current and future technologies. I’m not usually satisfied by just using the technology; I also desire to know how it works.

My interest in computers goes back to middle school. Computer lab was part of the curriculum. However, my true fascination with computers took hold when my parents bought a computer that came with some video games. By the time I went to high school, I was taking computer classes. Building a computer from scratch in one of my classes was very influential. At that time, cybersecurity was in its infancy. It was not until recent years, when news of massive cyber security breaches hit the media, did cyber really get on my radar.

Why did you choose to apply to the FCRA?

Once I found out about the FCRA, I knew I had to apply. Cybersecurity aligns well with my interest in technology. And the idea of helping to secure our Nation from malicious cyber criminals was very appealing.

What course(s)/information did you find most valuable?

I would say that learning about the multiple facets of the Linux operating system was very useful. I was exposed to Linux in college, so it had been a long time since I worked in a Linux environment. The instructor taught us how to use the terminal in Linux using varied methods. That was terrific. And I am sure that it comes as no surprise but the hands-on activities and games were the most fun part of the program. They gave me a good grasp of what the field entails.

What did you like most about the FCRA?

I really enjoyed the onsite classroom portion of the program. SANS did a terrific job of laying out a training agenda that kept the class engaged – no droopy eyes after lunch. It was just the right mix of seminar, reading/review and hands-on labs and games.

What did you find most surprising about the FCRA?

I cannot believe how fast the time flew. Because the content can be very dry, I thought it might drag on. It absolutely did not.

What advice would you offer someone considering applying to the FCRA?

The Academy has been a great experience. I am honored that I could participate. If you have the chance to do it – do it. Just make sure you have the time to devote to the training. It is an immersion program and it can be intense. That said, if I could do it all over again, I absolutely would.

What’s next for Tyler Klosterman?

I know that I want to continue to work for the U.S. government leveraging my newly acquired skills. Right now, I’m just at the exploration stage.