Andrea Pane is a MSc Cyber Security student.
What motivated you to pursue postgraduate study?
During the last year of my undergraduate studies, I became passionate about Cyber Security and decided to deepen my knowledge through a postgraduate course. Additionally, I knew it would widen my work prospects and allow me to apply for an entry level job in the field.
What were you doing before applying for a postgraduate degree?
I studied a bachelor's degree in IT Engineering in Italy. Then, I came to London and spent a year working and studying to improve my English language skills. In the end, I got a C1 level IELTS certificate and applied to study at City, University of London.
Were there any challenges affecting your decision to study a postgraduate degree? If so, how did you overcome them?
I had two challenges to overcome: the university fees and my poor English. I overcame the former through a loan offered by the government that I will repay when my income reaches a certain threshold.
The latter required me to take a year break from university and study by myself, but I worked hard and achieved a great result.
Why did you choose City?
The course structure included a wide variety of interesting topics, covered with a great balance between theory and practice. The lecturers I met before starting the course were passionate about their job and they have demonstrated this during my time studying the course.
I also noticed a friendly environment during the open day and a lot of current students seemed happy with their experience at City.
How are you funding your studies – did you secure any financial support?
I requested and obtained a loan from the government that allowed me to cover the university fees and part of my living expenses. I also worked for a while and saved up some money, but the major support came from my family who helped me a lot.
How are you finding studying in the UK?
Studying in London is amazing. There is a wonderful environment full of people from all over the world. You have a lot of opportunities to widen your knowledge, gain insights about the industry you want to work in, and take part in networking.
There are also many activities to do in your free time and great places to visit.
What does a typical week at university look like for you?
Weekdays are usually quite similar. I usually have lectures in the morning and schedule some time for independent study. In the evening, I like to watch a nice film or play video games with my friends to relax a bit after a hard day of studying.
At the weekend, I usually go out for a nice walk. I love discovering new places, especially parks and nature in general.
What has been your favourite module or aspect of your course so far?
My favourite part of the course has been the practical coursework. We had a virtual environment with real-life scenarios, and we were required to play different roles: ethical hacker, analyst, digital forensic specialist.
It has allowed me to put into practice what I have learned as well as experience issues that may arise in future jobs.
What knowledge and skills has your course helped you develop?
The course has allowed me to widen my knowledge in the entire field of cyber security. I have learned how to assess and address threats as well as discover vulnerabilities in a system and improve its security level. I have also explored different research areas and learned how research is conducted.
What opportunities and experiences has City offered you so far?
I had the opportunity to work as a Brand Ambassador at City, which allowed me to meet a lot of people and support students that were interested in courses like mine.
I was also able to participate in many seminars and fairs organized by City and by my lecturers. This allowed me to go beyond the course, expand my knowledge, and meet companies specialized in Cyber Security.
What are your career plans and how has City prepared you for them?
I plan to apply for an entry-level position or a paid internship to begin with. City has given me the knowledge and tools to do this with confidence. After getting some work experience, I want to explore all my possibilities and create a career path for myself.
What advice would you give to someone considering a postgraduate degree?
If you are passionate about something, don't make anything stop you. Do your best to overcome any obstacle and apply for the postgraduate course you are interested in. It requires you to put in a lot of effort, but in the end, you will gain a lot from it.