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Joseph tells us what the first year of the Cyber Security grad programme is all about

It's coming to the end of the first year for our graduates, so they're half way through their programme. And what a year it's been! We caught up with Joseph, one of our Cyber Security Graduate super stars, to find out what this year has really been like for him.

Which uni did you attend?

I attended Bournemouth University.

What was your degree in?

Digital Forensics and Security.

Where are you based now?

Currently I'm based in Adastral Park in Suffolk.

What made you choose BT?

It was a recommendation from my lecturer who thought that I would fit in with the culture and the more sociable sides of security. He noticed that I like meeting people, talking about security and then getting stuck in; this fits in perfectly with security at BT. I then went through all the stages of the application process and when offered a job I had no hesitations about saying yes, I felt very comfortable about my future with them.

Tell us a bit about the grad scheme you’re on?

I’m on a technical graduate scheme which means I will be staying in one team unless I fancy a change or there is a good development opportunity. Currently I am in a sub-team of ‘Protect BT’ which is part of BT security, we focus on looking for external and internal threats to the company. I get to work with all parts of the company to help them ensure they are meeting security standards, developing systems/procedures and discovering any areas which might need to be enhanced in the future.

What have been the real highlights of year 1?

Probably not just one thing, but in a general sense, the responsibility BT has trusted me with. Some of the work I do is very important to the company; leading programmes and team members, producing work which directly affects the security of company interests and owning the results/work I present to the wider company. I have a fantastic team for support if it is needed, but I feel highly trusted and valued in my role. If you want the responsibility, it’s very easy to prove yourself or just ask for it!

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve faced this year?

At University I spent 4 years developing myself in security. It became a passion, and moving into a company which is so broad was a challenge. Within a few months I was doing work with customer focussed teams, and truthfully it took a while to understand. It’s easy to go in and say “this is the best security standard, everyone should achieve this”, but over time, you begin to see there is not ‘one size fits all’ in security. It takes understanding to work with other teams who have different objectives, different timescales and different priorities. This role has definitely developed my communication skills, I have to be descriptive enough forpeople understand the risk and clear enough everyone can understand the steps which need to be taken.

What’s surprised you most about BT?

The size of the company! If you're reading this in the UK you probably know us as ‘British Telecommunications’, (and you’re not wrong… that is the name!) but it’s also ahuge misrepresentation of the company, we are very much ‘Global Telecommunications’! Since being in this team I have been on calls with projects from all over the world and I have made friends with Graduates from Greece, America and Italy. The size and scale of our operations really make you feel part of something big. A simple script I write at my desk can quickly be used by teams all over the world, or a security procedure I try to put in place can involve teams and equipment anywhere on planet earth. It’s a massive operation which you cannot comprehend until you get here!

Have you got involved in any of the grad socials or charity events?

Graduates have great communities all over the world, we all like to get together when we can. In Ipswich we do ‘pay-day-drinks’ once a month, we go to special events in Ipswich like German beer festivals and Fireworks night and we are often in the cinema seeing the latest films. We're all a great bunch really, all very similar, but at the same time we are very different due to the teams we are in and the work we produce.

What would you say to someone thinking about joining the BT grad scheme?

Why not?! Hurry up and apply! If you’re not already convinced then I guess it’s a good job I’m not in a sales team! Truthfully, BT is such a big company and there are so many opportunities for training, improvement and finding where you want your career to go after university. I have met some of the smartest and most dedicated people in this job, people who are passionate about security, enthusiastic about BT, and creative in their views of the landscape. No two days are the same here!

Keen to join Joseph on our Cyber Security graduate programme? Find out more here.