Charlie Muir is a "digital human" apprentice with Morgan Stanley. Here she talks about how much she loves her job and all things cyber related.
I have always had a keen interest in technology, but I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it career wise. I attended a cyber security lecture with my high school class and found out there were a vast number of careers out there in cyber security.
Throughout school I mainly took STEM subjects. In my last year, I took Advanced Higher Computing Science and an NPA Award in Cyber Security. I decided to take the NPA as it would link to my Computing Science studies, and would allow me to explore the subject. The course was great. We had lots of practical tasks, like penetration testing and the work was assessed using online assessments for each unit.
Taking the NPA made me realise that cyber wasn’t as hard as I had previously thought, and although sometimes it was challenging, I got to learn and achieve lots of new things I previously didn’t think I could do.
I then applied to study Computing Science at various Universities. It was my Computing Science teacher that recommended I investigate the Morgan Stanley apprenticeship. I knew immediately it was something I wanted to do. I went through the apprenticeship application process and was delighted when I got a place on the program.
"...each time I work on a task from start to finish I love seeing how the system improves and changes..."
When working in any area of technology communication skills are key. Being able to communicate with your team members and colleagues is so important and can be the difference between good outcomes and great outcomes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Keeping an open mind when coming across tough challenges is another skill that I try to use daily.
Information Security is also very important to keep in mind when carrying out your job. You always need to be aware of potential risks and have a backup plan ready if things do go wrong. I have found that programming skills are also important and creating well-structured and clean code can really improve your product.
What I really love about my job is that I learn something new every day. I love collaborating with our technology teams and the businesses that use our applications. I am given lots of flexibility to work on different tasks within our team, which has been fun and exciting. Also, the friendships that I’ve built with team members and colleagues has helped me grow in a great environment with lots of support.
One thing that sticks out for me is when I was given my very first task. I had to change the part of a process of a system we develop and add a new feature for the users on the interface. I had to then present my changes to our senior stakeholder, and our customer representative during a meeting. Demonstrating this for the first time was exciting, and each time I work on a task from start to finish I love seeing how the system improves and changes each time.
"I really recommend going down the apprenticeship route...four years’ of work experience alongside gaining my degree."
I attended the Cyber Christmas Lecture in Edinburgh when I was taking my NPA in Cyber Security at school. I found the event was very engaging and fun from the beginning, and I learned so much about the working work of Cyber and the opportunities we could have within Cyber Security as a career. I remember specifically hearing from a man whose job was to specifically infiltrate company’s security, both technically (penetration testing and DDOS attacks) and physically (staking out buildings and infiltrating secure buildings).
In February 2020, Morgan Stanley hosted the Scottish regional semi-final of the NCSC CyberFirst Girls competition. 32 girls from 9 schools across Scotland, alongside parents, guardians and teachers, came along to the Glasgow Office for the competition. The competition was geared towards encouraging young girls to pursue careers in what is often regarded as a male dominated field.
On the day the girls took part in the online competition, competing from 11am to 3pm. The volunteers from Morgan Stanley rotated in and out the room to observe and answer any questions the girls may have. We had facilitated talks and activities for the parents and guardians accompanying the girls, and myself and two other apprentices delivered a talk on the Morgan Stanley apprenticeship programme to the parents which was well received.
If you are thinking about a career in cyber security or technology, investigate and explore the opportunities that are available, find out what you really enjoy and think about where you see yourself working in the future. Get involved with different events to find out what interests and excites you. Build relationships with people involved within Cyber Security and technology when attending events by asking lots of questions……..no question is a stupid question.
And l really recommend going down the apprenticeship route. It was a great choice for me. I couldn’t really visualise myself studying for a degree for 4 years and finding a job at the end of it. I didn’t really know where I would go after my degree and the opportunities out there.
With the apprenticeship, I get the opportunity to explore various roles and decide where I would like to finish at the end of my apprenticeship. I will have four years’ worth of work experience and knowledge alongside gaining my degree.