Our Learner of the Month for October is Ross Inman, a SOC Apprentice at NCC Group based in Leeds, who is currently on a Level 4 Cyber Security Technologist apprenticeship.
NCC Group is a global expert in cyber security and risk mitigation, working with businesses to protect their brand, value and reputation against the ever-evolving threat landscape.
Ross was nominated by his trainer, Ian Greaves, who explained: “Ross is an ultra-engaged learner whose total commitment to learning makes him a role model to his peers. He’s strives to stretch himself at all times and is even completing security certifications which are outside of his apprenticeship.”
Ross spoke with us about his passion for Cyber Security, his choice to choose an apprenticeship and his experience with Estio so far:
“I chose Cyber Security after studying Computer Science at A-level; the security aspect really grabbed my attention, and it’s a huge field that is constantly growing and evolving. I enjoy the fact that it can be challenging, as you’re having to try and predict how criminals may attack systems and keep ahead of them.
“I originally thought I’d study Computer Science at university, but then I discovered this
apprenticeship and realised it was a fantastic opportunity to get both the hands-on experience and knowledge I needed to break into the industry. It’s a direct route into the career I want.
“At NCC Group I work in the Security Operations Centre (SOC), as a SOC Apprentice – Front Line Analyst. This is where all the alerts come in and we become aware of anything that shouldn’t be happening on our clients’ networks. We respond to it and flag the breach to the client. I enjoy having problems to react to in real time, and that my work genuinely has an impact within the business.
“Although working as a Front Line Analyst is my favourite role, I’m free to gain experience in any field and within the SOC there are a variety of different roles such as Network Engineers, Threat Intel Analysts and Infrastructure Engineers. I get to shadow them and it’s interesting to learn about their roles and how the SOC works.
“In the future I’d like to continue working in cyber security, but as the industry is so vast, I want to continue to achieve experience in each field.
“I enjoy coming to Estio to learn from people who have worked within the industry, not only are they teaching they’re also able to pull on their own experiences to further demonstrate their point. I’ve picked up on a lot of technical skills; I’ve learnt how to interpret logs on network devices and, populate triage alerts and investigate them efficiently. I’ve enjoyed the Cryptography module the most. It’s incredibly challenging and complex, but I really enjoy that.
“I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship with Estio or with NCC Group to a friend. I’ve felt really supported by my employer; if ever I need time to work on my portfolio it’s always available to me and being able to shadow within the business has been hugely valuable. My line manager is hugely supportive, and I feel really valued, when he found out I’d won Learner of the Month and the £25 Amazon Voucher prize that comes with it he offered to double it.
“My Skills Coach is also really supportive. He has regular meetings with us to work on our portfolio, and he sets us reasonable deadlines – if we’re unable to meet a deadline then he’s able to move the deadlines around to suit our working lifestyle.”
James King, Ross’s Line Manager, told us “The area we (and Ross) work in is the Security Operations Centre, or SOC, and we are responsible for providing managed services to a whole range of customers spanning many different sectors and countries. Within the SOC our mission is to deliver
world class 24/7 managed security solutions that predict, prevent, detect and respond to cyber-attacks and form part of a wider Cyber Security capability that NCC Group has to offer in the cyber market space.”
“Apprentices are core to our staffing structure and have been engaged in the SOC for many years with a great deal of success. We have seen apprentices progress into many senior roles both within the SOC and the wider business, for example Senior Analysts, Principal SIEM Engineers and Technical Consultancy. Our success is in part because we rotate all our apprentices between the multiple SOC teams on a bi-weekly basis. That way they are learning a variety of skills such as networking, incident analysis and engineering.
“Ross has particularly excelled when working with the Security Analysis Team and if he continues the hard work he could easily find roles such as Security Analyst, Seniors Security Analyst and Principal Analyst open to him in the next couple of years.”
We wish Ross all the best with the remainder of his apprenticeship, and future career.