Tell us a bit about your career journey so far
When I started my degree, I had zero work experience so I was really keen to find a good work placement during my second year at university. After applying to several summer internships I was hired by Vodafone for a 10-week internship and this is where my career journey began. This internship became a gateway to being hired again by Vodafone for my placement year.
Unlike my first internship, the second time round I was asked which department I would like to work for. I was given several options but the one I chose was cyber security. Before this I had not studied or had much awareness about cyber security but it was the one that sounded most interesting to me.
My placement helped me discover my passion for cyber security. I thoroughly enjoyed the department, the team and the work that I was doing. After this, I decided to focus on this subject in my final year, and then narrow my job search to only apply for graduate schemes in this area.
I started applying to jobs at the beginning of my final year, because I didn't want job applications to clash with my final year project. This turned out to be a good decision as both were really time-consuming and it would have been difficult to concentrate on both at the same time. Applying for jobs was a long process and took a lot of effort, but it was all worth it as this led to my current role as a Cyber Security Graduate at Sky.
How has the PDC helped with your professional development?
As soon as I started university we were given talks by the PDC on how important work experience is. This helped me realise that I definitely wanted to do a placement year. I was constantly given support in writing and updating my CV, and I also learnt what to expect from specific companies. The way the PDC works is very professional and up to date. At the start of my final year, I had a total of four careers appointments so that I could make sure my CV was up to scratch. With this help, I secured a job I was happy with before I finished final year, which meant I could stop applying and focus fully on my studies.
What advice would you give to students or recent graduates wanting to work in a similar area?
I would give two pieces of advice:
1) Book your careers appointments in advance as they get booked up really quickly and most likely one or two appointments won't be enough.
2) Start applying to jobs as soon as applications open because a lot of companies work on a first-come first-serve basis. Also, you're likely to be very busy toward the end of your final year, so starting sooner means less stress while you study!