Stephanie Hill is the Director of Ascent Cyber, offering a range of services allowing businesses to protect themselves against online harm.
Stephanie’s zig-zag journey into cyber security shows that there is no wrong path to your career.
Having left school and going on to study Journalism and Creative Writing, Stephanie soon realised this wasn’t for her. She went on to apply for the police, but unfortunately didn’t make it. After this, she worked random jobs before finding herself as a croupier in a Glasgow casino. After eight years, Stephanie decided to make a change.
“I decided to look into college courses, and the cyber security landscape as an industry and applied to New College Lanarkshire, Motherwell to restart my education in an HNC in Computing.
It was a little daunting, knowing I’d be much older than the others in the class, and also being a woman in a male dominated sector. But I knew if I wanted to grow and find a career with new and exciting challenges, that some time out with my comfort zone would be a worthy sacrifice.”
After her HNC, Stephanie chose to go on to study an HND in Networking, before going on to BSc Hons Cyber Security and Networks at Glasgow Caledonian University, where she was able to enter straight into year three.
“It was here I honed particular skills, from a broad networking foundation, to more specific areas of cyber security like web application security, ethical hacking and digital forensics.
One of our modules allowed us to create our own space in the cyber security industry, and in our final year, created a business – Ascent Cyber.”
Ascent Cyber helps Scottish SMEs fight against cyber crime and is now growing and finding its feet in the cyber security sector in Scotland.
“I love my job because every day is a new challenge. I’ll never be bored! The nature of work always fascinates me, from learning about the latest phishing scam or social engineering attack. Most of all, I enjoy helping businesses tighten up their security, helping them, achieve some peace of mind that they can be safer from cyber criminals.
Stephanie uses a variety of skills in her work, from problem-solving and patience, to being able to remain calm and objective. Working in cyber, you may need to be able to work under pressure. Learning basic scripting skills using python and being comfortable with various operating systems can help.
“Cyber security is no longer only technical. A large part of ensuring a business is secure is about education and awareness to employees, meaning communication skills are key.
I have always enjoyed problem solving and helping others and for me, cyber security involves both. I realised the industry is continuously growing and evolving, and that being a cyber security professional would mean facing new challenges and ongoing learning.
Seeing the effects cyber crime has on people, businesses and communities, I knew I wanted to be part of the solution.”
Stephanie concluded, “If you enjoy learning and problem solving, along with stopping the bad guys, then go for it! There are so many options to choose from, from ethical hacking to digital forensics, network infrastructure to web application. You are certain to find something for you.”
If you are considering a career in cyber security, there are a number of free tools and resources available. Check out our map to see what’s near you.