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Army Reserve soldier prepares for military success with Cybersecurity Management degree

Tyler Haynes, cybersecurity management major
Tyler Haynes '21, cybersecurity management major

Tyler Haynes ’21 (Randallstown, MD) blames the uniform.

One weekend every month, strangers want to shake his hand and thank him.

His army fatigues, brown boots, and patrol cap — all meant to camouflage him in combat — have the opposite effect on the York College of Pennsylvania campus.

He’s gotten used to it.

For three weeks every month, he’s just like every other student. But on that one weekend, he leaves the academic world behind to train in preparation for deployment with his fellow Army Reserves.

A first step

Like a lot of 18-year-olds, Tyler didn’t really know what he wanted to do when he graduated high school. But he liked working with computers. A lot.

As a kid, he was always trying to figure out how things worked, taking them apart and putting them back together.

“Anything to do with computers,” he says, “I know how to do it.”<

It wasn’t until his best friend joined the military to be an intel analyst that Tyler seriously thought about joining.

The idea made sense to him. His mom had been a supply officer in the Army; his father was an Army cook. So, after he graduated high school, Tyler joined the Army as an information technology specialist.

Setting himself up for success

Tyler went through basic training and Army school like any soldier. He’s trained for combat, but his main job doesn’t involve a weapon.

“I’m a signal soldier,” he says. “I focus on communications.”

Cabling networks, digging trenches for wiring, setting up routers — these are some of Tyler’s primary responsibilities.

After a year in the Army, Tyler realized he had higher aspirations for himself. He wanted to be a commander. And for that, he needed a college degree. So, he transferred from active duty to the Army Reserves and enrolled in the Cybersecurity Management program at York College.

It was a tough adjustment at first. Being in the Army had prepared him for life away from his parents, but it hadn’t taught him how to pay his bills or make sure he had food to eat.

Over time, though, he’s gotten comfortable. He’s enjoying the life experience of truly being on his own, and he’s found friends who’ve made York College feel more like home.

Duty calls

Tyler’s looking ahead to his junior year already. He’ll be back at York College in the fall, but probably not in the spring.

He’s preparing for deployment.

For six months, or maybe a year, he’ll be overseas. Iraq, Kuwait, Djibouti — he’s not sure where he’ll be yet. He’s not looking forward to taking time off school, but he’s been training for this deployment. And he feels ready.

Tyler says his path hasn’t been a traditional, straight one, but he’s OK with that.

“I guess I wanted to just see where life took me,” he says.

Learn more about the cybersecurity management program at York College.