In 2015, Ese Oduyuye entered the Cyber Security Challenge as an amateur contestant. She went on to become the only female contestant to reach the 2015 Masterclass Final, where she competed against 41 of the nation’s finest code-breakers.
“I entered Cyber Security Challenge because I was curious about what skills were involved in guarding people and organisations against cyber-attack. I wanted to learn and see how much I already knew about cyber security.
“The Cyber Camp I went to in Shrivenham in 2014 helped me learn from a practical point of view. It consisted of a mixture of briefings and team based challenges emphasising different cyber security related capabilities.
“I liked the flexibility of being able to do the Challenge’s virtual competitions from the comfort of my own home. Each virtual competition was run by a different sponsor and required a different set of skills; from hacking encrypted hard drives to finding vulnerabilities in computer code, so each round helped me to learn something new.
“After I did well in the virtual competitions I was surprised and delighted to be invited to take part in face-to-face competitions against the best amateurs in the country. This meant that I had the chance to demonstrate my skills to the world’s biggest companies in cyber security.
“I was excited to be among the chosen few to appear in the Masterclass Final – a simulated attack on HMS Belfast’s gun-control systems – where I had the chance to test myself against the most talented computer experts from all over the country, in front of TV film crews and reporters. I got to demonstrate my cyber security skills in front of all the biggest employers, from intelligence agencies like GCHQ to defence companies like Lockheed Martin, and I was lucky enough to receive a number of job offers after the event.
“There is great demand for talent in this field and I felt that I could apply my existing cyber security knowledge and skills to help people and organisations in this area. Also, being able to safeguard information from falling into the wrong hands caught my eye. It is a meaningful job with an ethical dimension.
“Being the only woman in the Masterclass Final made it a bit daunting, but I was determined to make the most of it and learn. I would definitely recommend the Cyber Security Challenge to other women as this will help you explore the jobs that are ready and waiting in the cyber security field. It’s a win-win situation.
“I would also say cyber security is a far more diverse career than you might think, involving teamwork, an inquisitive mind and the ability to understand the motivations of hackers. Plus, there’s an honourable side to it, because you are helping to protect people.”