Name: Dylan McGuire
Hometown: Waterford, MI
Year: Class of 2018, Junior
Major(s)/Minor(s): Computer Engineering, with Math and Chinese minors
Her Campus: What are you involved in on campus?
Dylan McGuire: I’m in my junior year of computer engineering with a focus on security. I serve as president of the Information Security Club and try to make it to things like the Computer Science Club as often as I can. I’m also a brother of Delta Phi.
HC: So as president of the Information Security Club on campus, do you have any suggestions for your peers on protecting their information?
DM: Be very, very careful where you type your password. Be wary of any emails from anyone that ask you to go anywhere and enter any kind of potentially valuable information. Don’t enter that information anywhere when you’re on public WiFi unless the site uses HTTPS. And try not to be a member of the DNC.
HC: Do you have any favorite software that you’d recommend?
DM: I really think everyone should use a password manager to keep track of their login info; you can set one very strong password to unlock the vault, and then inside use randomly generated passwords for any site that you go to. Much stronger than using the same password everywhere and much easier than remembering 10 different ones. Personally, I like LastPass, but there are plenty of options.
I’d also recommend that everyone find a good encrypted messaging app and get in the habit of using it. The ISC Board uses Signal to keep in touch, but WhatsApp is a great choice as well (despite what the media is saying).
HC: As someone who’s involved in extracurricular activities that tend to be male dominated, do you feel that women are underrepresented – for example, in the concentration of computer science devoted to cybersecurity?
HC: Why do you think this might be the case?
DM: I certainly don’t know all the factors, but one thing I do know is that networking is very important in this field. It’s a small community, and a lot of hiring managers feel that the best way to hire a good candidate is to hire someone they know and respect or someone that someone they know and respect recommends. That can make it difficult to break into the field, especially if you’re from a group that’s already facing barriers to entry.
HC: How do you feel about the recent scandals in the CS community regarding discrimination in hiring practices? GoDaddy, for instance, has been under quite a lot of fire for discriminating against Asian applicants.
DM: I don’t know the details of that story, and I don’t want to speculate on it. I’ll just say that although the tech community wants to consider itself open, it has a lot of issues that it needs to resolve first. And unfortunately, instead of honestly evaluating itself on issues like these, it often devolves into shouting matches between groups so convinced of their righteousness that they can’t even begin to consider the other side. That’s unacceptable for a community that has so much power to shape the way we live.
HC: When you first came to campus, what were you expecting college to be like?
DM: Full of opportunities. And it has been. Pittsburgh’s especially great for that – I can wake up, hop on a bus downtown to put in four hours at my job, hop on a 61 or 71 back to campus for a few hours of class, and then head down to South Oakland to relax and work on interesting problems with amazingly intelligent people.
HC: What’s your fondest memory at Pitt?
DM: The night of my initiation into Delta Phi.
HC: What’s your favorite tall-person comment to make when someone observes your clear vertical advantage?
DM: They will always ask how tall I am. And I’ll usually respond by saying that the scientists still haven’t figured it out.
HC: Do you have any suggestions for future face-cracker racers on how to succeed both in college and in eating crackers off your own face?
DM: Time management is key.
HC: Thank you for your time, we look forward to hearing about your future accomplishments! Do you have anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
DM: Take advantage of the city, surround yourself with people who are smarter and more interesting than you, give yourself a break if you don’t accomplish everything you want, and remember that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.
Photo Credit: 1-3 belong to the profile, 4 is author’s own