iRobot Speaks to LHS Helpdesk and Computer Science Classes by Anna Radulski

On Friday, October 22, the computer science classes and the LHS Student Help Desk students were excited to host the Director of Collaboration Applications Steve Drzewiczewski,  Cyber Security Professional Pete Deptula,  and Data Security Architect Andrew Rappaport from iRobot to give a presentation about their professions.  Each person described how computer science was applied in their respective fields, and as computer science students, it was very interesting to see how computer science is utilized outside the classroom. Drzewiczewski’s role in the company is to manage data, and to make sure everything, from communication technology to video conferences, all go smoothly. Rappaport and Deptula  develop security programs for that data. As cyber security officers, Rappaport and Deptula are behind the firewalls, protocols, and monitoring of web activity to ensure that iRobot’s information and data is secure! Additionally, they track any potential hackers trying to break in and steal information, both on and off the computer screen. 
An interesting point brought up by Rappaport was that companies conduct penetration testing. This is when a company hires people to hack into the company’s network, whether it’s breaking firewalls via computer hacking or simply putting on a poker face and walking into the office in-person to steal data. If successful, men like Rappaport fix their mistakes to improve their cyber security code. This presentation highlighted the importance of making mistakes to improve.  All three men at iRobot have a significant and amazing role in the company, and we are grateful that they took the time to share their experiences! Not only did the men talk about their own jobs but also the interesting projects happening at iRobot. When one of the students asked about their work, Drzewiczewski emphasized that many people hold the misconception that robots are like the science-fiction movies where one powerful machine turns evil or develops human emotion, and this is not the case! At iRobot, the developers prioritize innovation and functionality that strays from the Hollywood stereotypes- and data and computer science is the root of the matter. We loved hearing about how computer science is applied in the real world, and are grateful for the opportunity! Thank you iRobot!