February 14, 2014

Matt Johansen ’08: Top Tweeter

by Stephen Levine

 “Being involved in a lot of aspects at Adelphi helped me to become capable of being a leader.”—Matt Johansen ’08

From humble beginnings as an information technology (IT) worker at Adelphi, Matt Johansen ’08 is now one of the top 100 cybersecurity experts to follow on Twitter, according to a ranking by Marble Security.

“It’s an honor,” said Mr. Johansen in regard to learning about the ranking. “A lot of people I’ve talked to and followed are on that list. They were my mentors and continue to be.”

In addition to being named a top tweeter in his field, this Adelphi alumnus has numerous other accomplishments to boast about—ones he has been working toward for some time.

“I knew I wanted to work with computers since middle school,” Mr. Johansen said. “I had family in IT at the [United Nations] who said it would be a growing field.”

This budding interest brought the computer whiz kid to Adelphi, where he graduated with a degree in computer science, and landed him a job at WhiteHat Security in Silicon Valley, California. He started out in Web application and was eventually promoted to head of the Threat Research Center for WhiteHat Security, which required him to relocate to Houston, Texas.

As head of his division, Mr. Johansen leads the team and is active in training new researchers. He also travels domestically and internationally to speak at conferences in the field. In the past he has been a presenter at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, as well as at numerous conferences in New York City, San Francisco and Toronto.

This aspect of social media came into play for Mr. Johansen when a professor at Adelphi advised him to get on Twitter as a way to engage with experts in his field. Now he does a podcast on Twitter and sees it as a way to energize the public.

“It’s a unique opportunity to talk to the head at Verizon,” said Mr. Johansen. “It’s kind of fascinating to me. Since 2007, I’ve spent a good amount of time on [Twitter].”

Having found his niche in website security, Mr. Johansen advises those entering the field to focus on an aspect of cybersecurity that they are most interested in. It’s also important to find people and research information online, he says.

While networking and being active on social media have played a huge part in his success, Adelphi led him down the path to where he is today. As a former member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and a former Orientation leader, Mr. Johansen made the most of his time at Adelphi and discovered the leadership and people skills that are required of him in his new position.

“Being involved in a lot of aspects at Adelphi helped me to become capable of being a leader,” he said.

You can follow Mr. Johansen on Twitter for cybersecurity information @mattjay.

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