One of the activities I enjoy whilst trying to earn enough CPD points is working with the local schools and colleges and helping students who are starting or thinking about starting on a career in computer security or digital forensics to gain an understanding of what it is like to work in the industry.
Whilst I was working at the University of Bedfordshire I had great pleasure of having speakers from the Metropolitan Police give a talk, Keith Cottenden of Cy4or who regularly spoke to the students and we had an association with 7Safe with whom the University worked with on a MSc pathway for computer security and forensics.
Whilst teaching the introduction to the subject areas I have always emphasised the point of being professional and ethical in the studies and for them to continue this behaviour into their careers.
I also point out that they could come across some unsavoury material in the course of the careers, this is something there need to consider in deciding on their career path.
The last point is continual personal development, I myself feel that the more I learning there is more I need to learn and researching tools and techniques is an important part of this as well as networking with other security professionals. I will encourage students to start this as they start their courses. Of course research should be conducted with the same ethical and professional approach they apply to their studies and careers. It can be a very fine between researching to learn and crossing the line to the dark side to paraphrase a film from my youth.
In terms of a career they have a wide choice to select from ranging from penetration testers to digital forensic examiners, and from chief information security officers to network engineers with a security background. They can work in a range of organisations from the public bodies including government agencies through to the SME. Computer security affects all walks of live and there is a need for security professionals in all works of life to counter threats and protect our digital lives.
Since leaving the university I have maintained my associations with the local colleges and university and have enjoyed working with Bedford College and University of Bedfordshire at a number of activities this year. In Jan spoke to Bedford College evening and part students about Web application security. In Feb worked with IEEE Student branch at the University of Bedfordshire on a wireless security workshop. In March returned to Bedford college to discuss ethical hacking and security with their daytime students.
I am hoping that the association will continue in the future as it is great to see keen young students taking an interest in Computer Security and Digital Forensics and it is also an enjoyable way of earning some valuable CPD points.