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She majored in Electrical and Computer Engineering and was headed for a software engineering role. But she didn’t want a cookie-cutter career – she wanted a new puzzle to solve. It turned out, cybersecurity was the missing piece of the puzzle.
Like many young people, Samantha wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. Her passion for technology had steered her towards a computer engineering degree, but it seemed all roads from there led to software engineering – and that wasn’t a road she wanted to go down. Fortunately, that’s when she discovered Barclays’ cybersecurity internships. Matching her interests, whilst not emphasising coding, she applied and was accepted.
Fresh out of college with no prior experience in cybersecurity, Samantha was nervous. But the Barclays team welcomed her to the family and provided the support and training she needed to succeed. During the graduate programme, she gained a holistic overview of the department, as well as a detailed understanding of each sub-division. From Cyber Operations to Security Consulting, she soon became an expert on the technical concepts to the point that she wrote a how-to guide for cyber operations newcomers.
As Samantha settled into life in the department, she learnt that doing her job well wasn’t just about having the right skillset, but having what her team called a “secure mindset”. This meant thinking like criminals in order to stop criminals. Who are they? What are they doing? How can we stop them? While it was “fun thinking like the bad guys to fight the bad guys,” her work also enabled her to tap into a greater sense of purpose – she was protecting countless people from cybercriminals.
Nowadays, Samantha is thriving as a cybersecurity analyst and Digital Eagles volunteer, a Barclays’ programme which involves teaching children coding. As she predicts, “coding is going to be one of those skills like typing or math” that everyone will need to function in society, so she’s committed to passing on her knowledge to those who might not otherwise get the opportunity. Whether she’s working or volunteering, it’s become clear to Sam that her purpose is about more than technology – it’s about humanity.