Jay Conn is the Chief Operating Officer for Netsurion. Netsurion is a provider of remotely managed network and data security services for multi-location businesses. Jay has over 25 years of experience with technology and Cloud-based/SaaS companies. Jay received his Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and his Master of Business Administration from California State University-Long Beach.

What kind of degree is needed to secure a job in your field?

“My bachelor’s degree is in history, but I also have my MBA and almost 30 years experience working at and leading technology companies. Most COOs are likely to have a bachelor’s or master’s in some business discipline, and if you want to be a part of a tech company, a degree in computer science, mathematics or IT is helpful. Most of the folks that we hire have some kind of technical or science degree, but all have computer networking experience. Many also have advanced certifications and continue to hone those skills through continuing education in the technology we provide.”

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

“Many people find IT security is just a drain on the bottom line or believe that what they have in place is sufficient, but they fail to see the big picture or understand just how at risk their businesses are.  Data is very valuable, and today’s hackers are incredibly sophisticated. Keeping them out is not something you can dabble in, and the cost of a breach will be far more than any expenditure on security services. In addition to the mitigation costs, the damage to the brand’s reputation and lost customers can be devastating.”

After graduation, how hard was it to transition into the working world?

“My transition was easy, but my circumstance may have been more of an outlier. I completed the interview process during finals week, got the job and started working the Monday after my college graduation. Jumping from the relative freedom and relaxed atmosphere of college to the corporate world was tough, but it didn’t take long to get used to it.”

What advice would you give someone who is pursuing a career in your field?

“The key to getting experience is not only to be willing to perform many varied duties but to actively pursue opportunities to perform in and experience different elements of business operations. If an opportunity presents itself, take it and make the most of the experience. Versatility is perhaps the most important skill. Also, it is essential to stay abreast of what’s going on in the industry you work in so you can develop the necessary expertise to succeed. Don’t just focus on what’s going on internally, focus externally to see what the industry trends are, what the competition is doing and what the customers’ needs are. Blogs, white papers, news services, social media and of course getting out and meeting with and talking to people are great ways to acquire and share knowledge and experiences.”

Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. She reports on various topics such as: Social Media, Local Events, Entertainment, Food and Drink and more. Her work can be found at http://firstsendmedia.com/