Cyber Security Bootcamp: Meet Bianca Power
6 May 2019
11 minute read
Q: Hi Bianca! First and foremost, can you introduce yourself? What were you up to before joining Coder Academy?
Before teaching at Coder Academy, I was a student in Coder Academy’s Fast Track Bootcamp. Before that, I taught education practice and theory to future teachers at Griffith Uni on the Gold Coast while doing my PhD in Education.
Q: What brought you to teaching at Coder Academy?
I’ve always loved teaching, and having experienced Coder Academy’s bootcamp from a student perspective, I was seriously impressed by what they were doing. So, when an opportunity came up to teach there, I jumped at the chance to combine my love of coding with my passion for teaching in what I knew was a great educational environment, where I would be working with awesome people every day, and constantly learning along the way. It’s an awesome place to be.
Q: How would you describe the education model here at CA?
Our education model is based around the principle of helping people succeed, and doing it efficiently. We practice Growth Mindset — the belief that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Our bootcamps are intensive, but in a good way. One of the things that stands out is the very supportive culture, with strong bonds formed between students and staff who are dedicated to helping students enter the world of tech.
While each of our courses is based on a solid curriculum informed both by the qualification framework and our industry connections, we’re flexible in the delivery to allow for “feeling the room” and going at the pace that’s right for the group we’re teaching. As well as teaching the technical skills, we regularly take time to focus on soft skills, such as giving presentations and working as a team. Our industry mentor talks and day trips to companies such as Google, Atlassian, The ICONIC and many others, allow students an insight into the industry they’re entering, while establishing important network connections.
Q: Cyber Security is big news right now, but what actually is cyber security?
Cyber Security is about protecting computer systems and networks from being broken into or damaged. It’s a set of techniques to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of computer systems and data against threats.
Q: What drew you to Cyber Security?
I love the technical challenges inherent in cyber security — whether it’s learning how to break into things or understanding how to protect against others breaking into them. You have to really understand how things work in order to manipulate them to your advantage. It’s cool, it’s nerdy, it’s fun, and it’s a community full of interesting people. It also feeds right into my passion for learning — there’s always something new to learn in tech!
Q: Why should more people get involved in Cyber Security?
As more and more of our lives are moving online, cyber security is impacting us all whether we realise it or not. The smart phone in your pocket; the smartwatch or fitness tracker on your wrist; your iPad, Google Home or Amazon Alexa, tablet, laptop, and more — these devices are all collecting data about you and sending it over the internet. How hard would it be for someone to get a copy of some of that data? How would they do it? What could they use it for? How does the government protect top secret information that’s transferred over the internet? What about your bank — how do they make sure that Joe Blow can’t get into your online bank account and transfer all your hard earned savings to himself?
Getting involved in cyber security means learning about how these things work. By understanding how they work, you can start taking action to protect yourself and others against potential threats. If you’re working in cyber security, depending on your role, you could even get paid to break into companies’ systems to test their security (that’s called Penetration Testing). How could that not be cool?!
Q: What do career options look like for Secure Coders interested in Cyber Security?
Software development companies want coders who understand security, while cyber security teams want security professionals who understand code — and both are few and far between. So as a secure coder, you’re in a great position.
As a secure coder you could work as an Application Developer or Web Developer, Penetration Tester, SOC Analyst, Bug Bounty Hunter, in Dev Ops or Dev Sec Ops, or in another dev or security role.
There is a serious skills shortage in cyber security in Australia right now, and jobs that need to be filled. For those with a passion for cyber security, it’s a lucrative career path where you’ll never get bored — there are always new threats and technologies on the horizon.
Q: Who would make a good Cyber Security professional?
A good cyber security professional is someone who’s curious, sceptical, analytical, has good attention to detail, and has a keen interest in figuring out how to break things and manipulate rules and systems to their advantage — finding what others haven’t.
You don’t need to have a background in tech to be good at cyber security, although you do need to train yourself up in it. One of the things Coder Academy specialises in is helping people who have had previous careers make a shift into the tech field. Coming from a previous career can actually add to what you bring to your new role in cyber security, as it gives you a unique perspective. You may think in ways others wouldn’t, which is really what it’s all about.
Q: Why is coding valuable when pursuing Cyber Security roles?
Cyber security is all about breaking into systems. Those systems are written in code, and thanks to Open Source, it’s not uncommon for the code to be publicly available. By being able to read code and understand how to adapt it to your purpose, you have a huge advantage as a security professional. This allows you to manipulate the systems others have written to your advantage, and on the flip side, to know how to write your code to make it as secure as possible to protect against attacks from others.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering learning more about this area of tech?
Do it. It’s fascinating! Do some reading, try some hands-on CTFs (Capture the Flags), go to info sessions or Meetups. There are plenty of free and paid online resources, but you really can’t go past getting in and being a part of the community, whether online or IRL. And of course, Coder Academy’s Cyber Security Bootcamp is a great way to fast track your career as a secure coder, both in terms of the technical skills you’ll learn and links with the dev and security communities you’ll foster.
Q: Any last pearls of wisdom you’d like to share?
“Where there’s a will there’s a way” may be cliche, but it’s true. Whoever you are, if you want it enough, you can do it. Follow your interests, let them become a passion, see where you end up. It might not be where you expected, but that’s ok! Be true to yourself and never believe you can’t do something — you just can’t do it yet.
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