In the second instalment of our MySwitch2Cyber blog series, Kamela Jaafar sat down with Emma Hackett from our UK team to hear about her journey from a career as a Childcare Specialist to becoming a Junior Security Consultant.
Hello, my name is Emma Hackett, and I am a Junior Security Consultant with NCC Group based in Cheltenham, United Kingdom. As a former Childcare Specialist, I understand the importance of growth and development. NCC Group’s Next Generation Talent programme has offered me the greatest career growth for my future in cyber security.
I started working in childcare when I was eighteen years old. I began as a teaching assistant working with children aged five to eleven in a primary school. I then went on to work with children with disabilities, which was a rewarding position. My experiences allowed me to become a full-time childminder providing care for children with the age ranges from birth to twelve years where I developed skills including dedication, commitment, and strong organisational skills.
I believe learning is an ongoing process and that is what initially attracted me to pursuing the field of cyber security. I was interested in challenging myself and learning something different than what I was used to. When I investigated how to start a career in cyber security, I researched the opportunities and steps to do this.
My partner encouraged me to join them in the world of cyber security and I began trying different programs including “TryHackMe” and “HacktheBox”. These two programmes gave me first-hand experience in security consulting and helped me to focus on the areas I was struggling with most. I began my research into the OSCP qualification as it was on many job requirements which I was sure would be highly sought after. As I didn’t have much experience yet, I researched where and how I could pursue this certification.
While I was working on my certification, I discovered NCC Group’s Next Generation Talent Program. After interviewing I was selected, and I was in disbelief that NCC Group was willing to take a chance on me and was so grateful to be selected for this competitive program. This is where my cyber security career could truly begin!
I also joined a wonderful group known as the Ladies Hacking Society after discovering them on LinkedIn. I joined the Ladies Hacking Society’s Slack group in which I connected with so many talented women from all over the UK. These ladies were well-versed in areas ranging from SOC to SIEM. In our group’s monthly meetups, I loved to ask questions and seek advice about how to enter the industry of cyber security and how best to empower other women to join me.
Throughout my journey so far with NCC Group’s Next Generation Talent Program I have embraced this fast-paced and exciting learning environment. Everyone from my mentor to my colleagues have been so supportive of my passion and I appreciate their help every step of the way. Through my course I have learned more about Linux, infrastructure, web application testing, and any skill necessary to become a successful pen-tester.
I love this company and I feel so confident in my abilities to succeed. I was always nervous that my dyslexia and lack of experience would hold me back, but NCC Group welcomes me and invests in our teams no matter what. To anyone hesitant to apply, “if I can do it anyone can!”.
This blog is the second of our new series ‘MySwitch2Cyber’, in which we will be sharing the inspiring stories of our colleagues who joined NCC Group at the start of their cyber security journey from diverse and non-traditional career backgrounds.