Shady Side Academy alumnus John Edwards '03 returned to the SSA Senior School to speak at an all-school assembly on Monday, Nov. 25. Edwards' was the school's annual guest speaker in honor of Computer Science Education Week, which is coming up on Dec. 9-15. Edwards, who is a cybersecurity and technology consultant in New York City, spoke to students about his journey to becoming a consultant and his passion for the work.
The focus of his Mobile First presentation for students was the mobile app, TikTok. The social media video app is used for creating and sharing short lip-sync, comedy and talent videos. Edwards examined why the mobile app is so addicting and spoke about the major data privacy and U.S. military and government concerns. Following assembly, Edwards met with students in the Glimcher Tech & Design Hub's computer lounge for a Q&A session.
Edwards earned a bachelor's degree in Italian literature from Princeton University, and says that he moved away from courses in cybersecurity in college because the coursework "wasn't as fun" as it was at SSA. After graduating, he joined Noom Inc., as the director of wellness. With the co-founder, he prototyped and developed the original virtual weight loss coach program and says the fundamentals in computer science he gained from his courses at Shady Side proved to be very useful. After realizing that he had a passion for technology work, he went back to school to complete a master's degree in computer science with a focus on computer security at Columbia University.