Why I Chose A Degree Apprenticeship
A Degree Apprenticeship brings together higher and vocational training, it enables university study and the invaluable on-the-job training typical of an apprenticeship, without the apprentice having to cover the cost of tuition or training fees. Satisnet Ltd in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University has created a new Security Operations Centre (SOC) to allow learners to experience hands-on Cyber Security on a day-to-day basis. The SOC is also used to demonstrate Cyber Security solutions and technologies to external organisations. I am an apprentice working at Satisnet studying BSC HON Digital and Technology Solutions Professional (Cyber Security Analyst), which I started in September 2017.
What encouraged you to apply for the Cyber Security degree apprenticeship?
I had previously finished a Level 3 IT apprenticeship and was looking to study further and be able to advance my career in IT. I did some work previously on a cyber-attack that was all over the media, it was fascinating to learn about and work on, this introduced me first-hand to the subject and I wanted to know more about it. I knew a degree apprenticeship was the best way for me to study further because even though I want to learn, being a full time student has never appealed to me.
Where did you see the role advertised?
I was searching for Level 4 IT degree apprenticeships offered in Sheffield, and I found on Sheffield Hallam University’s website advertising that they were looking for IT apprentices. I emailed them and was directed to a training provider who took my CV and searched for vacancies matching my chosen criteria. One of the job advertisements was a Cyber Security role at Satisnet and the rest is history!
Describe the application process. Did you have an interview? How long did it take?
Before applying for the job at Satisnet, I attended an apprenticeship open day at Sheffield Hallam in April 2017 where various businesses came to advertise their companies and apprentices’ job roles and I saw the Satisnet stall. I watched a demo and had a play on the CyberKombat security training product, it intrigued me and pushed me to then apply for a job at the company. After applying, I received an invitation for a telephone interview at the end of May to discuss my CV and future prospects - which I succeeded. Thereafter, in June I was shortlisted for the apprenticeship assessment day to attend in July with multiple candidates where we did different tasks such as short individual presentations, partaking in group discussions, and completing a test which assessed us on our analytical skills. I applied for the job in April, did a phone interview in May, the apprenticeship assessment in July, got the job a few days later and started university and my job in September, overall the process took approximately 6 months.
What do you do in your role? What kind of tasks do you do?
I am training to be a Tier 1 SOC analyst so I have opportunities to observe and carry out monitoring, analysis, and research on threats and perform risk assessments. I have had training and practice on IBM QRadar, writing use cases for SOC customers and currently I am studying for the CompTIA Security+ certification.
What do you think you have learned from your apprenticeship so far?
How to time manage! It can be very challenging to organise time efficiently when working, studying and trying to keep a healthy work/life balance. I think it has been stressful at times when we have work deadlines and assignments due simultaneously. I have also learned a lot about the Cyber Security industry in a short amount of time from both work and university, it has been an enlightening journey so far!
What advice would you give to people looking to apply for degree apprenticeships?
Be openminded; a lot of the time apprenticeships which are advertised have desired qualities that seem unattainable but if you like the sound of the course and the job role even though you may not have the desired experience, take a chance and apply for it. A lot of the time you only need to be a keen learner and show genuine interest in the subject and in return, you will get training and learn the industry and job very quickly. Also, do not become discouraged if turned down following a job interview, ask for feedback so you know which areas to improve on in the future.
What is the biggest change you have seen since you started this apprenticeship?
I am conscious of all the knowledge I have gained since starting the Cyber Security course and working at Satisnet, every time I work on something such as SOC monitoring I feel confident in my abilities and am aware of how much I have learned and progressed.
What is the end goal of this opportunity for you?
My goal is to firmly establish a career in IT, attain a degree in Cyber Security with good experience in the industry by the time I finish this apprenticeship.