A fascination with pulling things apart and putting them back together to figure out how they work is what led Ben, a Norfolk native, to study physics. He ended up in cybersecurity because, while he loved the field of physics, he craved constant change.
“It can literally change day to day because there will be a story in the news, and then it’s what about us? What are we doing to protect ourselves against ransomware or malware or WannaCry or whatever it is? That’s what really attracted me to cybersecurity.”
While cybersecurity wasn’t the plan for Ben when he chose his academic path, he does encourage students to get involved with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
“I did physics, so I’m quite biased, but I think STEM subjects are really important,” he said. “I’d actually say even if you are on an arts track, and even at GCSE and A levels, it’s useful to have one or two STEM subjects as well just to prove you do have those analytical skills, the ones cybersecurity companies are looking for.”
But education is only one part of what makes someone a great candidate for a career in cybersecurity. More important than a candidate’s field of study, Ben argued, is a sense of curiosity and an itch to innovate.
“If you bring enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, you’ll go far,” he said. “Whoever you are, whatever your degree, there has to be that willingness to learn new things and stay on top of changes.”
For Ben, this includes a willingness to travel. The international nature of IBM Security is one of the things Ben loves about his job — but the recent university graduate isn’t getting ahead of himself.
“I’d love to work abroad at some point,” he said, “but it’s about building a reputation for myself first.”