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Women in IT: Nicole’s Story

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Nicole is a Security Operations Centre Analyst at Six Degrees. She works as part of a team that delivers round-the-clock cyber defence monitoring for clients.

Nicole works on the cybersecurity frontline, keeping our clients safe from cyber-attacks. During her shifts, she responds to security alerts raised by Six Degrees’ security monitoring software. If she considers the alert serious enough, she will raise a ticket which is sent to the client.

Nicole works in a high pressure, specialised role. But when she joined Six Degrees in 2017, she had no previous experience in either IT or security.

“I think I was quite lucky to be offered the role because there aren’t that many entry-level security jobs available. I did a degree in Sociology and Geography, which is obviously quite different. Sociology is really widely encompassing; I studied quite a broad range of topics, from feminism and environmentalism to the Holocaust and modernism.”

Sociology and Geography to IT security may seem like a leap, but Nicole explains that “studying an analytically-focused degree at university has helped shape the way I approach my role as a Security Analyst.”

Working in IT

A thirst for knowledge is what compelled Nicole to embark on her career in IT.

“What attracted me to IT was the culture of learning that the field has. I wanted a career in which I could be challenged and constantly learn new things. I think IT was quite a fitting choice, because even though I didn’t have previous experience before gaining this role, I feel like it’s one of the few career choices where you can actually start from a pretty low level and work your way up without having to necessarily have qualifications to start off with.”

Life at Six Degrees

Nicole relishes the culture, the teamwork and the challenges that her role with Six Degrees brings.

“There are quite a lot of things I enjoy about working for Six Degrees. The company is really supportive and encouraging; they have a great education path with lots of opportunities to grow and develop. I also have a really great manager who is very supportive, nice colleagues… it’s a good working environment.”

Being a Woman in IT

“I don’t think my gender really affects my approach to working in IT, but I understand the importance of having diversity in employees and the strength of employing people from different backgrounds, with different viewpoints to challenge others’ opinions.”

“Six Degrees is a very inclusive environment. They treat all staff fairly and equally, which is all you can really want in that perspective.”

Through her example, Nicole has acted as a pioneer and set the template for how Six Degrees now recruits candidates. Prior to recruiting Nicole, Six Degrees looked to recruit candidates with technical and security backgrounds to work as Security Operations Centre Analysts. But by learning through Nicole’s example, we now look deeper into an individual’s skills and capabilities in order to ascertain whether they’ll be a good fit for this high pressure role.

Nicole is enthusiastic about more women entering the IT industry.

“I would say to not be put off by the gender imbalance which you typically see in the IT industry, or by perceived societal norms.”

Nicole was recently shortlisted in the Security Champion of the Year category at the Women in IT Awards

Author Toby Shackleton
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