What does your job involve?
We have our day job, which is where I do my security work, meeting with stakeholders and senior management, finding out what they want from their business and then going to our side of the company, taking what they want and putting it into a plan. This involves planning, designing and implementing the work they give us. Separate to that then we have our internal work away from the client's side. Part of my work involves organising educational and cultural events and some other events for the interns.
What skills are important to be successful?
The most important skills are an aptitude to learn and be challenged. In my job we are constantly being challenged with questions put to us that we have to answer for the client. Yesterday I was asked something I didn't know, so to have the ability to be inquisitive and go out and learn to come back with that solution is essential. The other part of that is knowing when to ask for help. Because you work in a big team in the company, it is great to have people around you who have the expertise. You can trust your colleagues and you can be vulnerable and say "I don't have this perfect; can you help me?"
What do you love about your job?
The technical responsibility. At a very young point in your career you are thrown out into the client's side and are standing directly across from a partner or a CEO. At a young age you get the experience of talking to the senior stakeholders, mapping out the entire company strategy and portfolio, which is something you wouldn't necessarily think you can do from college. Having the first hand experience of that you see how difficult it is but also how easy it is then to go away and plan in a team and collaborate with your clients and your own team internally.
What advice would you give a first year student?
I was very lucky in that in my third year of college I got the opportunity to do an internship. Funnily enough I did my internship in a centre so it was a very natural route to come back and progress through it. From second or third year on in college I would encourage every student to try to take an internship, whether that be part of your academic profile or a summer internship. It's useful to get your foot in the door of most companies, to build up a network and build the technical competencies that you would need.
What was your 'career break'?
At the very end of your internship you get to interview. It's quite an informal chat. They ask you some stuff about your job and how the last few months were. It's mainly an informal chat to see are you right for the company and whether you want to come back or not. Having finished that interview I got a phone call two weeks later to confirm that I had a job. That allowed me to relax, not to take the foot off the gas but having that comfort and relaxation is very promising. So it's very important that when you do get an internship to give it your best shot because that could be your interview.