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Career Advice & Handling Imposter Syndrome within Cyber Security

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Career advice and imposter syndrome in cyber security - Trident Talks | Eleanor Upson

On her career change into Cyber Threat Intelligence

I did six years of university doing medicine and thought about whether this was right for me halfway through, but you know you're in your degree. Your parents say she will be a doctor, and they're all very proud. You think excellent well, I better stick with that then, so I did. I finished my degree and became a junior doctor working in a medical ward. It was three o'clock in the morning, and I worked a night shift. I remember just standing in the middle of this ward and thinking, I don't want to be here doing this job anymore.


This isn't where I should be, and I resigned the next day, which was a bold move as I didn't have any real plan as to what was going to come next, but it wasn't going to be standing on that ward, and then I started looking around. What can I do with the skills that I've acquired? What elements of medicine did I enjoy? I enjoyed its problem-solving aspect and taking lots of information, so I looked at graduate schemes. I found this graduate scheme for what was ten years ago, Information Security. So I applied for that and got a job to perform a few general cyber security roles for a big consultancy firm.


One day, the manager requested that I cover someone from the Cyber Threat Intelligence team whilst the manager was on annual leave. What was supposed to be two weeks of cover turned out to be eight years in the role, and nobody noticed, and Ifell in love with the position! 

On her career progression

I did CTI for eight years, did my CREST certification and Threat Intelligence Management exam and became a manager in the CTI team. Then, a few years ago, I moved out to head up the Threat Intelligence over at Wembley Partners.

The position encompasses threat intelligence and business planning for creating an incident response, business continuity training and awareness, which I've discovered along the way that and genuinely enjoy. It is now exciting times ahead.


On the best way to gain knowledge and build your confidence

I've learned working with some great people in cyber security is no one knows it all, and you shouldn't try as the industry moves instantly. The most important thing is not knowing the answer right there but knowing where you can go to find the correct information to boost your knowledge.

I find that so much information can be misleading, and you can get down a rabbit hole using the internet because we all have access to writing what we want these days. So, then you must be hypercritical of what you come across, especially at that moment when you're searching for the right answers.

You must be opened to continuously learning and accept that you're never going to get to a point where you think I know it all now because then there's something new that will come along, but that's what keeps your role interesting.

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