Rapid advancement for people in cyber careers

Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 by Faye CoppNo comments

Graduate Emily Smith is flying in her cyber role at Zaizi. She’s only been at the company for two years and has already progressed to a mid-level cloud engineer. Although Emily isn’t ex-military, she is a fantastic example of how quickly skilled, enthusiastic people can progress and climb the career ladder. Read our Q&A and find out more about Emily’s route into cloud engineering and see if this is the right pathway for you. 

1. What did you study at university and why did you choose this?

I studied BSc Cyber Security at the University of Chester. I think it's so difficult to know what you want to do/be at such a young age . The world really is your oyster. When deciding what to study at university I was torn between studying computer science and economics. Like many students, results day didn’t go my way and I didn’t get into my first choice uni to study computer science - I thought my life was over! I picked myself up and applied to the University of Chester through clearing and this is when I saw the BSc for Cybersecurity, I read the course spec - digital forensics, ethical hacking, cryptography the list went on. I was hooked! I couldn’t sign up quick enough and even though I had very limited knowledge on all of these topics I was so excited to learn about them. Everything happens for a reason and I haven’t looked back.

2. When did you first think about finding a job in software development/engineering and why did these roles stand out to you?

I first started looking for a graduate job just after the summer of my second year of university. I had just completed a summer internship in cyber security so I was highly motivated to find a job. The difficulty then came in what I want to do with my degree. I wanted a job where I would learn quickly, get stuck in and make a difference.

3. What do you think made you stand out from others when going through the interview process for this role?

Enthusiasm! I showed that I was eager and open to learning lots of new things, meeting new people and getting stuck straight in.

4. What are your responsibilities in your current role and how is it going?

 I joined Zaizi as a graduate and in under 2 years have already progressed to a mid-level cloud engineer. Cloud engineer = Problem solver. You are not only searching for the problem and trying to identify and learn why something has happened, this could be an incident or something may have broken, you then have to try and fix it. Often there are many ways to fix something and you have to decide on the most efficient and effective solution.

I also am a head of Zaizi’s DevSecOps community of practice - this a community where we discuss existing and new technologies and share ideas about all things DevSecOps.

It's going really well, I have been at Zaizi for just over 2 years and my knowledge has grown greatly. The exposure I have had to tools and technologies to further my learning has been amazing. My confidence has also grown greatly, I am independently taking on challenging tasks and providing successful solutions. 

5. What skills do you think are good qualities to have to become successful in this type of role?

●      Problem solver

●      Logical thinking

●      Great communications skills

●      Team work skills

6. What other (if any) digital/software focused qualifications do you have?

I have my degree in Bsc Cybersecurity, additionally I completed AWS Cloud practitioner and I am now working towards my AWS Solution Architect.

7. What advice would you give to transitioning/ex-military personnel and graduates if they are looking to get into software development/engineering?

Do it!! The best part about tech is that you don’t have to be an expert in everything, there are so many resources out there. The key to a successful career is practice practice practice. When you learn a new skill or tool make sure you put your learning into practice!

8. Do you plan to stay in this type of position - or do other areas of digital/cyber appeal to you?

I am totally open to all future possibilities as long as I am always learning new things. I really enjoy being a cloud engineer and still have so much to learn, equally I am always thinking about how I can bring my degree and cyber more into my job role.

If you are looking to find out more about getting into the world of cybersecurity or IT, we have some fantastic resources and guides available to you here. You can also begin your cyber security career journey through our free training pathways - sign up today!

You can search Zaizi’s current roles here.

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