What's your name and job title?
My name is Claire, and my job title is Security Practitioner. I look at emerging technology to try and understand what we’d use it for, what its benefits and limitations are and how we can use it securely. I studied a Bachelor of Software Engineering at the University of Canberra, and I graduated in 2014.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Canberra, and have since stayed (and probably won’t leave!). One of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten to do is participate in the UAV (expand) Outback Challenge at Dickson College, where we got to fly UAVs and work on autonomous packet drop systems.
How did you get to your current job position?
I’ve been in my current team for about four months, but I’ve worked for this employer for over 5 years. I’ve been a software developer, a project support officer and now a security practitioner – I’ve moved on to the next thing as I’ve found a new area that interests me. We had a restructure recently, and I was asked if working in emerging technology was something I’d want to do, so here I am.
What does your employer do?
I work at the Australian Cyber Security Centre, a part of the Australian Signals Directorate, which aims to improve cybersecurity for the whole of Australia. We do a range of things, from responding to incidents to providing advice on how to protect yourself online from malicious cyber activity. My section looks at emerging technology, which is technology that is out there but hasn’t had mass adoption yet, so we can provide advice on its risks and how to mitigate them.
What are your areas of responsibility?
I’m in the prototyping team, and right now we’re about to start building a Software Defined Network.
Can you describe a typical workday?
A typical workday involves a lot of research! I’ll read papers about the technology I’m currently looking at, and I’ll try implementing it. It’s a lot of learning.
Suppose a student was considering your career. What would you advise them to study?
People in my career come from a range of backgrounds with a computer science focus, such as network engineers, software developers, systems architects, etc. Soft skills are important too – I’ve been required to write project documentation, and write briefs to executives, so communication skills are a must. And definitely pursue work experience and internships, and any other opportunities that are open to you – STEM is a huge field, and there’s a lot of cool things to try.
What sort of person succeeds in your career?
Someone who succeeds in my career is someone who’s curious, and willing to try new things. Especially working in cybersecurity, you’re constantly learning about better ways to mitigate risk.
What do you love the most about your job?
I love getting to find out about new things, and my job is all about looking at the cool new technology coming out, which is awesome. I also get to run the Girls’ Programming Network Canberra, which runs workshops that teach girls how to code – it’s one of my favourite tasks.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
My job is pretty great – I don’t really work weekends, it’s not physically demanding, and it’s pretty flexible, which I love. I have some responsibility, but I also have a really supportive team that is amazing. The biggest limitation is probably the paperwork – it can take so long to achieve things sometimes!
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I have no idea! I’d probably still be working in technology somewhere, but would probably still be more of a developer than in the cybersecurity world.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?