Stuart Macdonald, Director of BlueShield IT Ltd has always been passionate about IT, since he bought his first Atari computer console at 10 years old.
Stuart started his first IT Sales job with Time Computers while he was studying an HND at college in 1996. He enjoyed his role so much that he continued working in IT Sales until 2003, when he moved on to the Reseller side.
“I have been selling all types of IT infrastructure, VoIP and Applications, plus IT services and support for most of my career now, but I felt there was something missing. As the years passed, I got more involved in learning various technical skills through a number of private funded, accredited college courses. Here I was able to learn website building, building a PC from scratch, and more.
I really enjoy learning new skills and have always tried to keep my technical skills up to date, so when I was approached by CompTIA on LinkedIn, to take part in the Cyber Ready Scotland programme, I saw this as a sign to help me achieve my goal.”
Having spent 2018/19 studying for various exams and learning new practical skills, Stuart decided he wanted to turn his passion for cyber security into a career.
“I set up BlueShield IT in June 2019, while I was still working at another company. However, after a few months, I decided to go full time in my own business.
I haven’t looked back since. I love what I do. I am always up for a challenge, and I have faced many over the years. When I got the chance to set up BlueShield, it was a natural progression for me.
At 49, I thought if I don’t do it now, I probably never will and wouldn’t get the chance to work in an environment I really love. Now that I have BlueShield, I can design and structure it to help our clients in the best way possible.”
Stuart uses a number of different skills in his work, including problem solving, perseverance, time management, and communication.
“Cyber security roles can take many forms, but they all lead back to being able to identify and respond to problems, resolving the issue and reporting on the outcome.
I’ve had the opportunity to work on a number of different projects, from hardware and software procurement, to providing the latest anti-phishing solutions and training staff to recognise malicious emails.”
A standout project for Stuart is when he was commissioned to help a client understand how well their cyber security placed, as they had concerns as a business.
“During phase one, we found that the organisation’s IT equipment was being used to harvest and mine bitcoins. There was also some other strange behaviour with regards to VPN’s.
I got to forensically examine devices and report on what we found, highlighting serious weaknesses in policing of the network and staff understanding of what is acceptable in a business environment.
We continue to work closely with this client, making recommendations for improvements – some of which have been actioned. However, there are still some gaps to fill and we are working to get them to the next stage in their cyber security/ GDPR journey.”
Stuart concludes, “If you’re passionate about IT, and love helping people, then cyber security might be a good role for you.
No two days are the same – you could be helping a company find out why their emails get hacked, or stopping the latest ransomware taking over a network! There are loads of options to choose from.”
If you want to explore your options, or if you feel a cyber career is right for you, head over to our industries and jobs section and kick-start your career.