Case study

Cyber security analyst — Michael Taylor

Michael found that skills he gained on his economics and politics degree, such as problem-solving and critical thinking, have been invaluable for his transition to the world of cyber security

How did you get your job?

After graduating, I applied to the KPMG graduate scheme and was fortunate enough to be in the second cohort of their Launch Pad recruitment event. To get the job I had to submit an initial application and online test, complete a video interview and attend an assessment centre which involved a group task, a Partner interview and a report-writing exercise.

What's a typical working day like?

Undeniably a cliché, but no two days are the same. I think the nature of consulting is that at times it can be extremely hectic but at other times you can find yourself with small periods of little work.

I generally check my emails in the morning and plan a rough outline of the day. Depending on the project I'm working on, my day tends to involve gathering and analysing evidence and/or documentation, meeting with colleagues to discuss insights and producing reports and/or deliverables for the client. If I have some downtime, I try to fit some training in. Internal meetings typically take 2-3 hours a week.

What do you enjoy most about cyber security?

Working with people smarter than me, as I find this helps me pull my socks up! Understanding how different companies operate and the cyber threats they face is also interesting. The people I work with are friendly and willing to help recent graduates.

What are the challenges?

Having no background in cyber security, the main challenges of the role can be the technical material, but I find on-the-job training useful in overcoming this (and there is also classroom and online training available). Balancing the demands of the consulting workload is also a challenge.

In what way is your degree relevant?

Purely from a subject matter perspective it isn’t, but the skills I practised during my degree - such as working to meet deadlines, prioritising my workload, using logic, problem solving and critical thinking - are readily transferable to this job.

How has your role developed?

I'm only six months into the graduate scheme so it's still early days, but I'm gradually getting increased responsibility as the next graduate intake has already started. I will be trying my hand at different sectors of technology consulting within the business.

What are your tips for others wanting to get into cyber security?

  • You don't need exceptional grades at A-Level, but evidence that you are hardworking and enthusiastic will help.
  • Prepare well for interviews and have relevant examples to discuss when you're asked competency-based questions.
  • Research the firm and its values to see if they align with yours.
  • Apply to jobs as early as possible, as this way you give yourself a better chance of getting one.

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