Milda is a rising star at KPMG from Manchester, where she has been living for the last 4 years. She joined KPMG with a background in system administration, information and knowledge management and website project management. The last three years Milda has been studying part-time for her second master’s degree, this time an MSc in Information Security Management. Alongside this Milda has been gaining a wealth of experience working on a variety of projects at KPMG, which include third party risk management projects, cloud assurance projects, identity and access management projects and incident response projects.
Tell me why you chose a career in Cyber?
From a young age I have been interested in technology. My interest sparked when being a teenager I had a flu and there was nothing to do at home, but I had a computer with internet. I spent a lot of time discovering the virtual reality and quickly became interested in coding. If there was enough support and encouragement I would probably have a completely different story to tell today. Instead, when choosing my career I was trying to pick a good source of income rather than something that really interested me. At that time technology seemed like a complicated field about boxes and wires which felt like rather a man’s world. I ended up studying History, which turned out to be a great foundation that gave me excellent research, analysis, critical thinking and overall education skills. An unexpected turn to Information Studies that I pursued for my first master’s degree was when I started transitioning into the information security realm.
What are the greatest positives about working in Cyber Security?
There are many great positives. Apart from being a booming industry with a shortage of specialists for at least a decade to come. It is not true that people need to be highly technical to be able to work in this area, for example, knowledge of laws and regulations. Moreover, I do feel like I learn something new every day, there are always new projects to work on and therefore it is never a routine.
What is the greatest challenge in Cyber Security?
The biggest challenge overall is to stay up-to-date and informed of all the changes in the field. Since technology keeps evolving it is important to stay on top of new discoveries and issues that could potentially affect your clients. It is difficult to remain a generalist and therefore eventually cyber security professionals tend to specialise in an area that is most interesting to them.
What are the highlights of your career?
The biggest highlight of my career to date would have to be joining KPMG where I had an opportunity to get a great amount of experience within the field and also to develop enormously thanks to the support of my colleagues. The past years with KPMG have forced me to have a steep learning curve which has allowed me to achieve significant milestones in my career.
Where do you see Cyber Security in 10 years?
I think it is only going to grow due to constant rise of new technologies, which are starting to play a significant role in our everyday life, as is the case with Internet of Things and wearables for example. Definitely there will be a lot of focus on Cloud and Privacy, mainly due to the push of the new regulations within the EU and stronger compliance requirements. Identity and Access Management is possibly another strong area as user authentication issues could potentially help to reduce risks in other security domains.
What are your career ambitions 5 to 20 years from now?
That is a really difficult question. I tend to take opportunities as they come and enjoy what I do. There have been sharp turns in my professional life that I didn’t foresee or plan in advance, yet they turned out to be an excellent choice. I do think that there will be more of this and I can never be 100% certain on where I will end up or what I will do when I get there. However, just like many ambitious people at this point of their career, I do wish to continue climbing the ladder at KPMG and in the distant future to be among the leaders within the industry.
What would you do if you were not a consultant?
Now that I am security consultant I can think of many areas that are interesting, but if I was not on this path I probably wouldn’t consider them. If, for whatever reason I had to give up the career in information security, I would probably become a software developer as it is something that interests me and I’m also slowly learning that on my own free time.
What advice would you give to young people hoping to enter a career in cyber?
Be curious and willing to learn, these are the two most important things. These are the key skills that will help to achieve a lot in your career. Without the natural curiosity, it is not easy to be a good security professional because of the ever changing world of cyber and technology innovations. A key advice to young people and especially women is to not be afraid to go after your dreams and achieve everything that you set your mind on. Do not be confused and tricked by old stereotypes – cyber security is not only for engineers and programmers. Most importantly, no matter what you choose, you must really like what you do and every day at work should be something you look forward to. After all, you are likely to spend about 2/3 of your life working!