Article by Ewan Taylor
By mhenrichsen | 06 Nov 2023
I’m a student, currently studying for a BSc in Cybersecurity at Abertay University. My path into the cybersecurity world has been a unique one, having lived a former life as a Primary School Teacher for 5 years. I’ll be entering the third year of my degree after this placement, so I’m relatively new to the field.
Why I applied to the placement
I was keen to supplement the academic skills we get with first-hand practical experience. I was eager to develop my skillset and knowledge and capitalise on my public sector experience as a teacher, so I applied for a placement to gain first-hand experience, specifically in the Cybersecurity team.
My role in DDaT
During my time with the Digital Directorate, I was tasked with assisting in the creation of the security procedures in place at the Digital Support Hub. I assisted in evaluating the tools used within our division and supported BAU activities. I had the opportunity to work alongside various teams and individuals, enhancing my understanding of the operational aspects of Cybersecurity.
A highlight of the Programme was working with a wide range of people in the industry and collaborating with them on a range of projects taking place across the Scottish Government. The inclusive environment was evident from day one; everyone I’ve interacted with, whether online or at Saughton House and Victoria Quay, has been incredibly supportive and welcoming.
I now have a much clearer understanding of how policy, standards, and procedures support and govern security within the Scottish Government. Being able to see how risks are assessed, mitigated, and prioritised has been incredibly insightful, as has learning about Incident Response procedures.
I’ve also gained a deeper knowledge of Agile methodologies through training and everyday exposure, alongside my ability to collaborate effectively with a team in a hybrid working environment.
Most importantly, I’ve seen first-hand the importance of effective stakeholder management, good communication and collaboration, which I intend to apply in my future roles.
My immediate focus is on resuming my studies as I still have two years left! I plan to deepen my understanding of the tools and methodologies I’ve been exposed to during my placement, as employers value this practical knowledge. Hopefully my future career involves the Scottish Government – I’ll just have to wait and see what opportunities arise!
For me, User Research has always been part of an Agile process. So over the course of a few weeks I’m somewhere in the mix of the above processes. I can be speaking with Operations to source participants for the next round of research and then scheduling with participants.
While in a project management role in a previous organisation, lessons learned was generally a one-off task at project conclusion. It was not a priority and there was no focussed or consistent approach.
It has been an amazing journey to be part of and I regularly reflect on the incredible achievements that have been accomplished to date from researching, designing, building, testing, maintaining, and transferring the vital services to help the people of Scotland.