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Daniel Getter

Meet Daniel Getter, a CACI Cyber Engineer and George Mason University Graduate.

Environmental Portrait of Daniel Getter of George Mason University

(Answers have been edited for clarity and length)

Where are you from/where do you call home?

I was born and raised in Arlington, Va., but currently live in Herndon.

What drew you to the cybersecurity field?

I have been into tech, coding, and robotics since I was young. 

The idea of “hacking” was always super cool (although a bit cliché) to me, but I didn’t consider cyber a possible career path until my senior year of high school. 

I saw that GMU had recently created a B.S. program in Cyber Security Engineering (CYSE) and decided to take a class in my senior year on cyber security at a local career center. It was mostly IT with some cyber flavor, but it was enough for me to decide to pursue the CYSE program instead of computer science. 

At GMU, I got more and more involved with cyber competitions and have never looked back. There is always more to learn and impactful work to be done, so it never gets boring.

Describe some useful takeaways you learned from CCI events. 

I participated in CyberFusion’s Capture the Flag (CTF) event at VMI in 2022

Since I had only started doing CTFs around the time Covid began, I never had the opportunity to participate in an in-person competition before. Sitting together with my team and solving challenges in-person was a fun experience, and being able to talk to the other competitors after the competition about the challenges was insightful and a great networking opportunity. 

The job fair at the start of the event was very useful because the employers were there specifically to talk to us and were looking for exactly the skills we bring to the table. 

Normal job fairs on campus have many employers all looking for different skills, so it was nice to have a very small and curated selection that we could properly spend time talking to. 

What’s your favorite part of the job?

Interfacing with and learning from experts in the field. Many of my coworkers are experts on some different aspects of cyber, and getting to work with them gives me the ability to learn first-hand from the best. Being surrounded by those who live and breathe cyber has been the quickest way for me to improve my skills and knowledge.

What’s the best advice you’d give to students or career changers interested in the cybersecurity field?

I think that participating in competitions is the No. 1 way to get an understanding of the field, find what you’re truly passionate about, meet some great people, and gain the experience needed to land yourself a job or internship. 

They’re fun, they allow you to work on and gain new real-world, hands-on skills, and employers love to see it on résumés. Bonus points if you win or place well. Also, if your school/university has a cyber club (shoutout to Competitive Cyber at Mason), join it!