Jose Sierra

Associate Teaching Professor
Associate Director – Cybersecurity and Information Assurance Graduate Program

Q. How did you get into the field of Cybersecurity?
A. It was mostly due to my Computer Science background. In my Master program, I took a course of Cryptography and that was something that definitively captured my attention. I remember how surprised I was when I saw how cryptography has been evolving since the ancient Greeks to nowadays. And how this everlasting dialectical relation between Cryptography and Cryptoanalysis will exist forever.

Q. What do you enjoy about teaching at Northeastern University?
A. I have to say that I love to teach, I really enjoy classroom dynamics, helping students to discover new technologies or asking them to look at things from a different perspective. But, what is more special about teaching at Northeastern University is students backgrounds. In the classroom, I have from recent graduates to working professionals and it is a challenge for me to answer their questions or explain concepts because they approach the topics in very different ways, sometimes more theoretical and others more practical. I really like this because, in the end, we all learn something new in the classroom.

Q. What courses do you enjoy teaching within the Cybersecurity program and why?
A. I teach Computer Systems Security, I like it because I believe that every cybersecurity professionals need to understand how complex is to protect information systems, and the better you understand pros and cons of security countermeasures, the better you’ll be able to prevent cyber threats.
I also teach our Capstone project, which is intended to serve our students to put into practice what they learn with us into a real industry scenario. What I like in this course is to see how students have improved in one way or another with the MSCY.

Q. Why is this a good time to get into the field of Cybersecurity?
A. I believe that in the last years, society has come to the understanding that cyber threats are out there and that they’ll stay there forever. As a reflection of that, organizations, companies and governments have put in to practice cybersecurity strategies that may help to prevent those attacks. Cybersecurity professionals are needed in every sector, and they need to be prepared not only to deal with technical problems but also to act as a catalyst to improve organizations cybersecurity posture.

Q. What are your main interests outside of Cybersecurity?
A. I am definitively interested in education (at any level) trying to understand how to improve the learning process and stimulate the passion for knowledge. I am also very interested in promoting cybersecurity entrepreneurship, there are so many good examples out there. And finally, as a Spaniard, I love soccer and I follow the Spanish league with my kids.

Jose Sierra is an Associate Teaching Professor and Associate Director of Information Assurance and Cybersecurity Program at the College of Computer and Information Science. He earned his PhD at Carlos III University in 2000. Jose’s research areas include Authentication and Access control protocols, mobile payments protection, lightweight cryptographic protocols and IoT security. He has a very active publication record, with an important number of conference proceedings and journal papers. During his academic career, he has had the opportunity to research and work at several universities, such as the British Bradford and Westminster, to well-established US ones like UC Berkeley and MIT. Click here to read more about Jose Sierra.