That I found the kind of profession that I can also call my hobby I consider to be a really great achievement
What is your current role and your main responsibilities?
I am cyber security consultant. My responsibilities vary depending on a project and client requirements. I could be working on various assessments and implementations, where I'm responsible for project deliverables, or I could be performing IT system audits to identify shortcomings or to award certifications.
Please summarise your overall career since graduation, but in particular, what was your first relevant role to the area in which you work now and how did you secure that position?
After the graduation I had several roles and my journey to the current position took some time. The more significant one was that of a Professional Knowledge Assistant in a law firm, where I was helping to manage the legal intellectual property and the legal know-how within the internal information systems. This role was very much related to my studies as it was based on working with information systems and managing information and knowledge within those systems. During this time I got interested in information security since securing the access to information and providing the right permissions for those who needed this access was one of the things I did on a regular basis among many others. My curiosity also led me to online learning platforms from which we were used to getting RSS feeds about certain news needed for the business. There I found various introductory courses to information security and risk management. This was so interesting to me that I decided to involve myself in another masters program, this time in Information Security. I worked full time and studied part time, but I also decided to change my job and find myself a full time employment in the field of cyber security. This way I got into my first role as a consultant working for a large consultancy. It was an excellent start and I have the best memories of working there with a team of amazing people. This helped me to learn a great deal of new skills, bring my knowledge up to speed and turned me into a professional that I am today.
How has your qualification helped you in your career?
The qualification was directly related to my first role. I was doing a lot of system administration and knowledge management, which was part of my program. In my current role I find more and more cultural aspects that are very relevant to what I do. Most of the time I work with people and I have to understand their country and office culture to ensure that the solution to their problem that I'm offering will be suitable for them. The cultural aspect is very important during any assessment and auditing exercise, since getting things wrong could make the project very difficult. Finally, cultural and behavioural aspects play a very important role trying to understand the threats that we have to deal with in cyber space. The vast majority of them stem primarily from people and their activities online. Understanding their motives, intentions and how they behave is among the most important aspects of threat intelligence.
What is an average day like for you in your current role?
No one day is like the other! That is because I work with different people, no matter the nature of the projects. It could be a project of a similar nature for three different clients, but their objectives and outcomes may be very different. This is also due to the changing landscape of many external factors. There are quite a few moving parts which influence my schedule. Overall, I could be having meetings and conversations with clients one day, reviewing the information collected and designing solutions with my colleagues or team another day. I could be travelling across the world to conduct an audit or working from home writing a report. This is perfect for me as I don't admire routine.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Probably the overall career progression. The fact that I found the kind of profession that I can also call my hobby I consider to be a really great achievement. This in itself motivates me to learn and push myself for more every time, and surprise also myself in some cases. Being passionate about what you do is very important if you want to achieve anything at all.
What were your previous academic qualifications?
Prior to my MA at Sheffield I studied history. After my MA I also completed an MSc in Information Security.
What were your career aspirations when you were younger?
I was supposed to become a doctor when I was graduating the school. I found it very easy and interesting to learn biology, I also helped my classmates to understand chemistry. I changed my mind the last minute but I do like the prospect of technology security in medicine.
What impact has attending University had on you?
The impact was immense. This was primarily due to the fact that it was the first time I studied abroad, in a foreign language, in a foreign system. It let me see the world in a different way and I had a chance to meet various interesting and different people who studied there with me.
What advice would you give to young people considering University?
It's a great place to enhance your skills. I loved the university library, Information Commons, the huge amount of resources that the university has the access to and really supportive teachers. I had a great experience at Sheffield.
Why did you choose Sheffield? / What sets Sheffield apart from other Universities?
There was a program I was going for at Sheffield and I just applied. It was one of two universities that offered me an unconditional offer and I also thought that Sheffield itself was a cute town to spend a year in!
What other elements of University life/extra-curricular activities helped you to achieve success?
I involved myself in university careers days where we visited schools and shared our studying experiences with children at schools. This didn't make a big impact on my career but it was interesting to expose myself to more people that way.
What did you most enjoy about your time at Sheffield?
The teachers and the staff were always so nice and welcoming. liked the way our perceptions and existing understandings were challenged every time.
Why would you recommend the University of Sheffield as a good place to study?
The university resources are very broad. It's great to have access to so much information, especially if you are working on a research where information is hard to find!
In one sentence, how would you describe the impact Sheffield had on your career and life after University?
The University of Sheffield had a very positive and eye-opening impact on me in various aspects, but probably the most important ones looking back now is that my studies satisfied my curiosity and thirst for knowledge.
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