What do you remember most about growing up in Columbus?
I remember my coming of age days at Carver High School. My friends, teachers, and experiences back then helped to shape who I am today. That was the period that I really started to learn who I really was and what I wanted to accomplish in my life. I never forgot the foundation, socially and scholastically, that I gained there many years ago.
Why did you choose a military career?
At first, I saw the military as a way to pay for college, honestly. After some time in ROTC and the tragic events that occurred on 9/11, I realized the service that I could provide for my country, my family, etc. The satisfaction of being part of a team and accomplishing missions and solving problems was exciting. I have enjoyed countless opportunities while traveling all over the United States and several countries, thanks to my career.
What attracted you to cyber-security work?
I always was interested in engineering and computers. As my career progressed, more exposure to computer networking and security came as I worked in various positions. As the threats to networking and computers become more rampant in our jobs and homes, my interest in how to detect threats and lower vulnerabilities in that realm continues to increase. There are a lot of malicious things that go on unbeknownst to us daily that threaten our data and how we use the Internet. Cyber-security is ever-changing and offers solutions to reduce the threats that plague our computers and networks.
What is your fictional book "When Good Men Go Bad" about?
"When Good Men Go Bad" is the first book of a series. The series follows three former college roommates right after their graduation. Each of the three roommates have very different personalities, but their bond of friendship remains strong regardless of what life throws at them, whether positive or negative. The first book introduces all three, but it focuses on a young man, named Jasper Hooks, who faces various adversities as he grows up from the sheltered world of college and deals with real world issues that arise from his job, his love life, and pressures of his past.
What is the Columbus area's best-kept secret?
Though I wouldn't call it a secret, I believe that the RiverWalk in Columbus is an area that all residents and visitors should explore at some point.
It offers very scenic spots to hang out with friends or get some exercise. I often visit some areas of the RiverWalk when I come back to Columbus.
Name: Darien Pitts
Job: Information Assurance Security Officer, U.S. Army, author and publisher
Current home: Woodbridge, Virginia
Family: Father, Michael Pitts of Columbus; a son and daughter in Houston, Texas.
Education: Carver High School (third in the class of 1996); bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, Tuskegee University; master's degree in information technology and certificate in information assurance from the University of Maryland University College; master's degree in cyber-security and operations, certificate in cyber-war gaming, and certificate in cyber operations infrastructure from the Naval Postgraduate School, and an Army cyber scholarship recipient.
Favorite book: The "Easy Rawling" series by Walter Mosley, and the "Dark Tower" series by Stephen King.
Favorite movie: "The Last Dragon" and "The Five Heartbeats."
Favorite restaurant: I really miss going to Top Hat back in the day. Sometimes I drive past it when I come to town, hoping that it has opened back up.
Favorite quote: "The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself." -- Mark Caine.
Best concert attended: Jill Scott in Baltimore, 2008.