Expect the unexpected from a career in cybersecurity

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Cybersecurity isn’t all about teenage hackers or middle-aged people in grey suits. Those are the two stereotypes generally associated with the world of cybersecurity. I’m an incident investigator in a small team of men and women from a range of backgrounds. Our two senior managers are an ex-government fraud investigator and a former police forensics investigator. We’re quite a young team, drawn from the public sector, technology firms such as Apple, and direct from school or university.

Find your way in

My own route into cybersecurity started when I joined Capgemini’s apprenticeship programme at the age of 17. I’d already been working while I was at school, which was difficult to manage, so I was looking for something that allowed me to work and study at the same time. I looked at a lot of apprenticeship programmes. I really liked maths and physics at school, and Capgemini offered apprenticeship opportunities that really interested me. I got a place on its Software Development level 3 apprenticeship. I then went on to a level 4 apprenticeship in Systems and Networking.

My first role was in configuration management on a public sector account, where I worked for three years. During that time I completed assignments in the business operation center, in change management and other areas. I found I had a real interest in security, and a great role came up internally as an incident investigator on the account. I went along to find out more, and ended up getting the job.

The role is really fascinating. Our team investigates all cybersecurity incidents across Capgemini’s clients. We started out just working on the one account, but now we cover the whole business.

Keep up to date – and embrace change

I’ve been doing this now for three and a half years and I really like the variety, the travel and the problem-solving aspect. It is a high-stress environment, since we’re dealing with quite serious security incidents, but that really appeals to me. We are always trying to stay ahead of potential threats, and keep abreast of trends. That means we do everything from keeping up with technology news to staying informed about political movements that could impact threat groups. We have relationships with organisations that provide threat intelligence and, of course, we keep an eye on Twitter!

Most of our time is spent reacting to incidents when they occur. That could mean we need to travel overseas at the drop of a hat. We are a close-knit team, which means we can be flexible and support each other when we need to drop everything to investigate an incident at short notice. As well as reacting to events, we also develop recommendations following any incident, so that we can be more proactive in future.

Creative thinkers wanted

One of the things I enjoy most about my role is being able to get to the bottom of problems. It’s an ideal role for people that are creative thinkers, out-of-the-box thinkers and problem solvers. If I had to say what I was ace at, it would be creative problem solving. Finding different ways to gather information, to investigate issues and to link different events to find creative solutions to problems.

Love your career

I love many things about my role, but top of the list is probably the travel. I like the variety it brings, the challenge, and the people I get to interface with – working with different clients, different teams and in different countries.

It’s a role for people who don’t want to be doing the same thing every day. It’s very exciting – you never know what situation you might be involved in.

Build your personal brand

If I had to give some advice to my younger self starting out in this role, it would be to come forward more with my opinions. To recognise that my opinion is as valid as anyone else’s and not to be reticent about sharing it.

Capgemini really encourages you to put yourself forward. You’re encouraged to build your own profile; to establish what you want to be known for. It’s very valuable to have that in mind and to work towards being that person. For me, I want to be known as someone who is really eager to learn and willing to have a go at anything. I want people to think that no problem is too impossible for me to have a go at.

Choose a career that’s going places

Looking to the future of cybersecurity, it’s clearly a fast-moving, ever-changing environment. When I started, we were just looking at threats to one account, now I get to see nearly all accounts across the company. So the role keeps growing, the team keeps growing and our capabilities and toolsets keep growing. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

To find out how to launch your own career journey with Capgemini, take a look at the opportunities available.



Nicola Grantham

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