YorkAlumni5 – 4 – Tim Bateson

This week we have a fascinating insight from York Alumnus Tim Bateson who works in information security……,,

1. What did you read at York and why?

Electronics, because I had always been interested in engineering (I originally planned to do Civil Engineering), but was sponsored to specifically do electronics by the RAF.

2. What are your favourite memories from university?  Extra-curricular activities: specifically, DJing on URY and at Toffs (now Tokyo) and at campus events such as Fresher’s Bash.  I also enjoyed running URY as it’s vice chair and helping organise BoB with YUSU.

3. When did you graduate and who do you work for now? 2005.
I temped around York for 6 months, then went into RAF Officer Training and served for 6 years to the day.  I came out last Christmas and have been working in information security with PwC since.

4. What do you do on a day to day basis in your job?
Consultancy is incredibly varied.  There are few days the same.  I could be doing a cyber risk assessment on a government project like Universal Credit, or writing the procurement requirements for a new government IT system, or helping a data centre in the far east understand the UK data protection act.

5. What advice do you have for current York students looking to gain employment in your field/for your company?  Two things: 1) carve out a niche and 2) network.

1) The whole reason I went into InfoSec is because itjobswatch.co.uk and other job trends analysis sites had it as a fast growing, high paying career with zero unemployment.  It was also recently named the 8th best job in the US.  Look for qualifications that add disproportionate value: I choose Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) because it only takes a couple of months to read the material, only costs $400 to sit the exam, but the average salary of someone who passes the exam (globally) is US$100k.  Sounds like a good return on investment to me.  Current students should do the same analysis about what makes them unique, which sectors (and locations) are booming, and how they can upskill further to add disproportionate value.  Note that personal preference doesn’t really come in here: if you want to do something or live somewhere specific (particularly if its trendy) then don’t be surprised that competition will be fierce and you won’t earn very much.  If you want to move out of student digs or your Mum and Dad’s then worry about getting a well-paid job, not doing what you find satisfying.  Get a few years experience under you before trying to live the life you want to live, particularly in the current economic climate.  If you’re not sure what to study next, then learn Mandarin – China will dominate everything in 30-40 years.

2) If you find yourself applying for a job (i.e. filling in a form) in open competition with others, and it’s a good job, then chances are that you’ve already lost it to an internal candidate or someone better connected.  Go to professional association meetings or your local chamber of commerce, or anywhere similar, and chat with people over coffee.  Discuss how you see the industry changing over the next 5 to 10 years (using the STEEPLE pneumonic helps consider change factors – Google it) and if people like what you have to say then they will offer you a job, or put you in touch with someone who needs you.  I can’t stress this enough.  I filled in a dozen application forms and got nothing back.  Then I tried chatting to people over coffee at professional society meetings, was introduced to other people for coffee, and had 3 job offers in the space of a month – all in various Starbucks without any formal interviews, any forms or any competition from other candidates, and all for positions that didn’t exist.  Good quality and fast growing employers don’t recruit – they don’t have to, and it costs too much.  They find people they like and create positions for them to move into.

Final thing – don’t even try getting a public sector job until at least 2020.  The government’s broke, like all governments globally, and isn’t recruiting (with the exception of the medical professions).  Target the private sector only for now.

Email: tim@timbateson.co.uk

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