Welcome, Dermot and Natalie. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. To kick things off, could each of you describe your role at Cygilant to our readers?
Dermot: Hi everyone; glad to be here. I’m currently a Quality Assurance Engineer at Cygilant.
Natalie: And I’m a Cybersecurity Analyst with Cygilant’s Belfast operations.
Why did you choose to work at Cygilant?
Dermot: I have always been interested in technology; cybersecurity in particular. I was drawn to Cygilant because of the cybersecurity focus combined with my desire to take the next step in my career and become a member of an engineering team. The opportunity seemed tailor-made for me.
Natalie: I had previously been employed in a similar role by another company. This role at Cygilant gave me an opportunity to continue to grow as a professional.
What aspects of your prior career/previous job roles got you ready for your time at Cygilant?
Dermot: Before Cygilant, I worked with a consultancy here in Northern Ireland where my clients were mainly in the public sector space. I learned a lot about public accountability and putting the customer first.
Natalie: Learn to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. It’s more than just believing the old adage that “the customer is always right.” The customer comes first – and what that means is you need to learn to think about their issues, their concerns, and their needs – and to do so before they do. What cybersecurity problems is their business likely to encounter – and how can you prepare them for that?
What advice would you give someone looking to get into cybersecurity work? What skills are important to understand?
Dermot: Nothing in the industry is ever stable or static. You need to be adaptable, engaged, and willing to continuously learn new methods, new technologies, new ways of solving problems. That’s the key to success in the software industry, and in cybersecurity in particular. You’re expected to be at the forefront of new technology – so embrace that.
Natalie: Your career is what you make of it – despite what you might think, there are no barriers in front of you. I have about as diverse a background as anyone – I started in neuroscience, underwent military training, and somehow made my way to information systems and cybersecurity. If you want to make a change, or accomplish something, you can do it. It might take hard work and some time, but nothing’s impossible.
Dermot: And I was trained in mixed martial-arts (MMA) fighting before leaving it behind for the world of technology. Bottom line, changing your path is possible.
What’s it been like being onboarded at a new company during the pandemic/while working remotely?
Dermot: I won’t lie; at first it was a bit scary. It was unlike anything I’ve experienced before – the lack of physical meetings or in-person check-ins to make sure you’re getting up to speed. But I soon realized we’re all in a similar situation. Physical meetings have been successfully replaced with Zoom meetings, and they’re all conducted in a way that ensures you receive the same detailed directions and instructions that you would have if still in-person.
Natalie: Joining Cygilant was an easy process. It was very clear and transparent to understand what my role would be and what success would look like. Onboarding was speedy and to-the-point – when it all comes down to it, getting to understand the work and the way Cygilant operates, and getting to know your teammates is all the same as it is at the start of any job. Now, there’s just different channels we have to use to accomplish the same goals.
What’s different about working with customers remotely?
Dermot: Providing customers with top-notch, 24x7x365 service is what Cygilant is about. It’s our responsibility to make it easy for them to work with us. That part of the job isn’t different under the new normal. In fact, the majority of this work was done remotely before the pandemic began.
Natalie: Not that much, all things considered. Health and safety restrictions because of the pandemic are a shared global experience for us all. We’ve always focused on making sure customers are receiving strong, regular value from their relationship with Cygilant – and the status of the world hasn’t changed that.
I also believe that onboarding new customers is one of the most important tasks we have – and doing it correctly from the start can help set the tone for the relationship and ensure long-term success.
What do you like best about working at Cygilant?
Dermot: Honestly – and this may sound a little cliché – Cygilant feels like a family. The company has gone above and beyond to make us all feel connected during this work from home situation. It’s really helped us work as a cohesive group, even though we’re not in the same room.
Natalie: Everyone has been friendly and approachable – going out of their way to make you feel welcome. I really feel appreciated here.
Thanks for your time Natalie and Dermot. If you’re reading this and are interested in making a change – or know someone looking for a new opportunity – check out our careers page and job openings here, or drop us a line at any time.