Career Advice

A Look Into What It’s Like to Work in Cybersecurity at IBM

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Cybersecurity is one of the most critical issues of our generation and it is important that our employees develop the right skills and expertise that will continuously advance their capability to protect our systems and transform the industry. We spoke with Amanda and John on what it’s really like to work in IBM Security and the advice they would give to others looking to follow in their footsteps.

Amanda Bamford and John Wood are both Software Engineers in our IBM offices based in Cambridge, UK. They work to develop IBM i2 Enterprise Insight Analysis, a software that combines visual analysis and analytics to gain actionable insights from disparate datasets and empower analysts around the globe to discover hidden intelligence insights and combat criminal activity.


Please tell us a bit about yourselves, your roles, and your working team.

Amanda (left): I studied Software Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University, completing a University Placement at IBM after my second year of study and decided to return as a Graduate this year (2018). I am currently a Java Developer focussing on developing a web application, which extends the visual analysis capabilities of i2 EIA to a web client. The majority of my team is based in the Cambridge office in the UK, which allows for a more collaborative working environment and really enables the utilization of agile engineering practices.

John: I am also a graduate who joined IBM in 2015 and was previously part of IBM Extreme Blue. I am a front-end Developer working with Typescript, React, HTML, CSS and other web technologies.


What attracted you to work for IBM?

Amanda: I started my career in IBM as part of the University Placement and I saw the impact IBM could have on my future career development, and how I could help make a real difference by being a part this company. I knew that I would get to work on innovative projects with some extremely intelligent engineers. The fact that IBM is a large organization—which has an incredible focus on helping its community—was also a contributing factor to my interest. The latest endeavour that IBM has undertaken is Call for Code where we are collaborating with organizations to help create open source natural disaster recovery solutions. Naturally, IBM is encouraging its employees to get involved by holding an internal competition. Our office got involved by attending the virtual hackathon and submitting an application to the competition!

John: I applied because IBM’s prestigious history is unparalleled, it’s always been at the forefront of technology and IBM i2 has its own lengthy history of innovation in visualization and analysis of disparate data sources. I am still with IBM because I work with great people and am constantly learning new things.



How is IBM transforming the Security Industry?

John(left): IBM I2 works with some of the biggest law enforcement, national security and defence agencies around the globe as well as commercial and non-profit organizations. Working for IBM i2 means you are making a real impact against criminal and terrorist organizations.


Would you also like to work for a company where you can make an impact? Join the IBM Talent Network.


What skills and experience did you need to join the IBM Security team?

Amanda: In my role as a server-side developer, experience with agile software engineering practices, Java and REST are all significantly important. As with any engineering role you also need the soft skills, such as the ability to work as a team and communicate.

John: For the front-end team you need to be proficient in JavaScript, HTML, CSS, have used React or another modern JS framework and have the drive and desire to discover and learn the latest web development technologies.


What are the most rewarding aspects of your role?

Amanda: I recently participated in IBM’s Innovation Festival. I took a trip to IBM Hursley and was given the opportunity to demo i2 to IBM employees, clients, government officials and press. This gave me contact with real customers and I experienced the enthusiasm towards our research prototypes in augmented reality first hand.

John: The people are great, we work with the latest technologies, the environment is relaxed, and our software has a positive impact on the world – what more could you want?


What are your top tips to someone looking to work in cyber security?

Amanda: If you have the enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, the skills you need can be transferred from the skills you already have or learnt on the job. In short, don’t be afraid to apply for the job!


If you would like to join Amanda and John in IBM in Cambridge, check out our open positions today.

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