Talent Acquisition Partner, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence
24 May 2022
What’s it like to take part in our National Security Cyber Accelerator? Mollie Chamberlain sits down with two recent participants to find out…
Our National Security Cyber Accelerator is designed to take great software engineers and security researchers and give them the experience they need to deliver cutting-edge systems and research in an industry where success really matters.
Each recruit to the accelerator takes part in a six month programme of hands-on learning, covering a range of languages, platforms, and technologies that will prepare them to both make things and take things apart. Training is delivered out of a specialised BAE Systems facility in Gloucestershire – right on the doorstep of the thriving Cyber innovation and tech sector hubs of Bristol and Cheltenham.
I have spent the last week or so delving into conversations with various individuals who have experienced our Cyber Accelerator first hand, who were eager to open up and talk more about not only the fascinating topic of cyber security in general, but about what makes BAE Systems Digital Intelligence stand out from the crowd when it comes to an employer.
First we hear from Marie, an aspiring cyber security enthusiast, who started her career with the Cyber Accelerator Programme in April 2022. And then we sit down with Daniel, who completed his programme in 2019 and has since been a valued member of our cyber team, delivering meaningful and crucial work across multiple critical projects.
Marie – Computer Science Graduate, and Cyber Accelerator newcomer
What was the interview and recruitment process for the Cyber Accelerator programme, and what made BAE Systems stand out to you as an organisation?
The recruitment process, in general, was really quick. I initially spoke to one of the recruitment team and then a couple of days later I was invited to complete two online coding challenges, which I also loved, as they are always a lot of fun!
A week after the coding challenge, I had my virtual face-to-face interview for the role, and I was offered the job the next day. The entire process was less than two weeks which was amazing, especially compared to other recruitment processes I’d been through in the past. Other interviews I have carried out, have been either online written based interviews, or pre-recorded videos, neither of which give you the opportunity to get the vibe of the company, or to ask questions.
What was your career and education background prior to joining the Cyber Accelerator Programme?
I’ve always loved cyber security – even as a child I was always very interested in problem-solving. In my early teens, I started to research cyber security further and started to play cyber security games and learn cryptography. I jumped at the chance to study Computer Science at both GCSE and A-Level, and finally started my integrated degree in Computer Science which I’ll be completing later this year. A Computer Science degree has offered a few modules around cyber security, but I’m really looking forward to learning about cyber security in an academic capacity and applying that to making a difference.
What makes you passionate about cyber security?
Firstly I love the ability to make a difference. Secondly, I’ve always really enjoyed puzzles, and riddles and I see cyber security as a huge puzzle that I can help to solve. In short, it’s a really fascinating subject.
What are you most looking forward to during the Cyber Security Programme?
I’m really excited to learn and put what I’ve learned into real-life situations. I like the mix of experience and knowledge in the programme. Having come out of university, where I’m surrounded by people who have all been doing the exact same work for the last four years, it is really nice to work with a more varied group of people who can offer a different perspective.
Daniel – Cyber Software Engineer
What made BAE Systems stand out during the recruitment and interview process?
The two most stand out things for me, was that during the recruitment process, everyone that I met throughout that time were so genuinely, nice. They were all very likeable, professional and down to earth. This certainly reflected the culture and environment when I joined the business so it was definitely an accurate representation of the company.
What was your career and educational background prior to joining BAE Systems?
I completed my Computer Science degree at the University of Bristol in 2019, and didn’t have any relevant work experience prior to joining the programme. This was another huge selling point of BAE Systems, they were less concerned around hands on work experience, and more interested in educational background, aptitude and attitude.
What makes you so passionate about cyber security?
I would say that I discovered cyber security at university during my third and fourth years when we carried out various modules on the topic. I found it all very fascinating – the fact that it’s an open ended and really deep subject.
Now working in the field, it’s great because the clients we work with have very niche requirements so even now, I’m still having to learn lots of new stuff on a project by project basis depending on the content. Knowing that I've contributed to keeping people safe gives me a huge sense of achievement.
What did you most enjoy about the Cyber Accelerator Programme?
There were two key elements of the programme I really enjoyed. The first one, was the C++ module, which was structured like a real life work project which meant it was very hands on, and we had all the tools we needed to carry out the work.
And the second was the android reverse engineering module. Its premise was we got a dummy android app which we had to reverse engineer, tear apart, and find all the secrets that had been hidden within it, and report back. It was a really exciting piece of work to get stuck into.
Are you interested in a career at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence? Visit our Careers Page to find out more.