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Year 11 Girl wanting to do Computer something at Uni watch

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    Hi,
    I'm a girl currently in Year 11. I know that I want to do something to do with computers in the future but I don't know what exactly. For A-level I am going to be doing Computer Science, Maths, Further Maths and Psychology. I have also been on the CyberFirst Defenders course and am going to do the Futures course this summer. I was wondering if anyone knows of anything else I should be doing and of any obscure university courses that I might not have looked at?
    Any advice welcome
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    Ethical hacking perhaps...?

    It's definitely worth looking at what each course offers, as some are purely theoretical and completely math-based, where as others are more applied and high-level.
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    (Original post by IzzyS2)
    Hi,
    I'm a girl currently in Year 11. I know that I want to do something to do with computers in the future but I don't know what exactly. For A-level I am going to be doing Computer Science, Maths, Further Maths and Psychology. I have also been on the CyberFirst Defenders course and am going to do the Futures course this summer. I was wondering if anyone knows of anything else I should be doing and of any obscure university courses that I might not have looked at?
    Any advice welcome
    If you are interested in psychology/ social sciences maybe look at data science at Warwick, artificial intelligence?
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    Computer "something" is very broad. Off the top of my head you've got:

    Computer Science and by extension programming based things like software development
    Networking and network management
    Web development (both things like website dev and server side things)
    Security, ethical hacking, etc.
    Digital Forensics
    Business, IT, Computing
    More obtuse things like tech support
    Computer Games related work (everything from coding to asset creation)
    Computer related mathematics (cryptography for example)

    And a ton of other things besides. If you've been part of CyberFirst that suggests an interest in security? Is digital security, ethical hacking, etc the sort of thing you want to go into? That's the route I'm personally taking at the moment if you've got more specific questions.
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    AI
    Ethical hacking
    cyber security
    joint honours (eg computer science and electronics)
    Game design
    Network security
    Forensics
    Buisness
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    Look to see if there are any of these "hackathons" in your area, if you're interested - they're basically group programming events where do team based programming challenges and stuff, although the actual content seems to vary widely. Despite the name, they don't necessarily have anything to do with hacking or cybersecurity.

    You could do some raspberry pi stuff - it's possible you could arrange something via your school, I think there are some schemes where your school can get them for free/considerably less than retail through educational outreach things, for clubs and so on.

    Beyond extracurricular stuff (which isn't that important anyway), in terms of university degrees to consider - Edinburgh have a Cognitive Science course, which has pretty varied course content and can be tailored a lot by the looks of it, but involves various interdisciplinary and crossdisicplinary content in psychology, computing, linguistics and philosophy. Although I don't know the extent of any possible overlap, Goldsmiths' offers CS and has a reasonably well regarded Psychology department you may be able to take modules in.

    At Cambridge you can take Psychology in the first year of the Computer Science tripos, you can take two CS papers in the Psychological and Behavioural Science tripos, and you can take 1 CS paper (and two maths papers) in the Natural Science tripos (which has options for specialising in Psychology and/or Neuroscience). I also believe you can pursue Psychology in Natural Sciences at Durham as well (which I know offers CS as an option)

    On the more mathematical side, Warwick has the aforementioned Data Science course as well as their Discrete Mathematics course (which is something of a joint honours CS/Maths course, focusing on the relevant areas of discrete mathematics and theoretical CS) and UCL has it's Mathematical Computation course. While in some senses there are joint honours courses, they are slightly more interdisciplinary than multidisciplinary.
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    (Original post by Acsel)
    Computer "something" is very broad. Off the top of my head you've got:

    Computer Science and by extension programming based things like software development
    Networking and network management
    Web development (both things like website dev and server side things)
    Security, ethical hacking, etc.
    Digital Forensics
    Business, IT, Computing
    More obtuse things like tech support
    Computer Games related work (everything from coding to asset creation)
    Computer related mathematics (cryptography for example)

    And a ton of other things besides. If you've been part of CyberFirst that suggests an interest in security? Is digital security, ethical hacking, etc the sort of thing you want to go into? That's the route I'm personally taking at the moment if you've got more specific questions.
    I'm not really interested in the programming side of things. I enjoy interaction with people but also have quite a technical mind that understands complex things. My problem is that it is not always easy to find out what different careers involve. What does digital security entail?
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    (Original post by IzzyS2)
    I'm not really interested in the programming side of things. I enjoy interaction with people but also have quite a technical mind that understands complex things. My problem is that it is not always easy to find out what different careers involve. What does digital security entail?
    Again, that's also super broad. Security can be anything from consulting for companies and recommending systems to managing, installing or creating them. You could be writing and fixing code, testing systems (this is where things like ethical hacking come into it more) or selling security to clients to name a few things. Security also somewhat sits nicely with digital forensics because of the investigative element.

    I think the main question is, ignoring job roles what would you like to do? If someone sat you in front of a computer or said you can do anything related to computers, what would you do?
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    Beyond extracurricular stuff (which isn't that important anyway)
    I somewhat disagree with this, although it depends what you mean by extracurricular. All the students that I've seen who take an active interest in Computers and IT outside education tend to do really well in their chosen field. I would argue that an extracurricular interest is somewhat necessary if you want to do well.

    Of course if you just mean extracurricular on the most general level (whereby things like joining a sports club are considered extracurricular) then yes, for the most part universities don't care. It just makes you look more rounded. But I absolutely wouldn't underestimate an extracurricular interest in CS and CS style topics if that's what you wanted to do career wise.
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    (Original post by IzzyS2)
    Hi,
    I'm a girl currently in Year 11. I know that I want to do something to do with computers in the future but I don't know what exactly. For A-level I am going to be doing Computer Science, Maths, Further Maths and Psychology. I have also been on the CyberFirst Defenders course and am going to do the Futures course this summer. I was wondering if anyone knows of anything else I should be doing and of any obscure university courses that I might not have looked at?
    Any advice welcome
    Hey, here's a few little ideas I have:
    • Ethical Hacking
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Robotics (I'd love to go into this, wish I took computer science as an a level :|)
    • Theoretical computer science

    this page might help you, if you look for what you can specialize into for after you complete/during your completion of your degree.
    https://cs.stanford.edu/academics/cu...specialization
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    (Original post by IzzyS2)
    I'm not really interested in the programming side of things. I enjoy interaction with people but also have quite a technical mind that understands complex things. My problem is that it is not always easy to find out what different careers involve. What does digital security entail?
    Something I would say that hasn't been mentioned yet is HCI/UX based courses. They might combine a lot of the areas you are interested in, and it combines Computing, Psychology and Design.

    I would also mention that most Data Science degrees do not require an abundance of programming. The most important skills in Data Science degrees is a strong understanding of mathematics (in particular, statistics).
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    (Original post by IzzyS2)
    I'm not really interested in the programming side of things. I enjoy interaction with people but also have quite a technical mind that understands complex things. My problem is that it is not always easy to find out what different careers involve. What does digital security entail?
    Sorry for the double post, but I work in Cyber Security and have a masters degree in the area, so I will do my best to give you an overview of common or interesting careers in the sector. It's definitely a growth area:

    1) Cyber Security Engineer: Pretty common job, it involves working mainly with OS Command line interfaces (mainly BASH and POSH), networking, security/vulnerability tools and performing patching and security audits to make sure everything is as secure as it can be.

    2) Cyber Security Consultant: This involves working with customers to make sure they have an adequate security solution in place to meet their needs. This can be a very interesting but challenging job, as doing a through security audit can take a lot of time. You won't necessarily implement the security solutions (this will be done by security engineers in your company or perhaps a 3rd party). So you will need a strong understanding of security technology.

    3) Ethical Hacker/Pen Tester: In terms of being an Ethical Hacker, as many people seem to have suggested, while that might not always require a lot of coding, as someone who works int he sector it is a position that is increasingly becoming oversubscribed. Everyone wants to be like Mr Robot lol! I will also say that if you like the social interactions, Ethical Hacking can be a very isolating job. You are normally on the road a lot, and often work on a customer site by yourself. It can also be a fairly tedious job at times. Hacking is not like in the movies, it's almost always a fairly tedious job that seems a lot cooler than it actually is.

    4) Malware Researcher: This may not require a lot of coding experience, but will require you to understand code, especially at the "bare metal" level. In other words, how code works with and changes the hardware components in a computational device. A super interesting area that is not just confined to Academia, as many Cyber Security companies (e.g. anti-virus software companies) can have fairly big malware research labs.

    5) Digital Forensics: Many of these jobs are in law enforcement, and it can be seen as an extension of a traditional forensics officer in the police etc... It goes without saying it can be a pretty harrowing job at times, and most organisations who employ Digital Forensics engineers or consultants will usually have facilities for them to cope (e.g. an in house counsellor to talk about things with). Corporate Digital Forensics is a fairly big field too, as there can be quite a lot of commercial crime too. Digital Forensics also form part of a robust security audit, so companies like PwC actually have pretty big Digital Forensic departments as there is a lot of money in the sector at the moment.

    6) Software/QA Tester: Security testing should be part of any software testing plan, and this will involved checking code that has been written by developers to make sure it does not have any security vulnerabilities.

    7) Cryptographer: Very very mathematical area of Cyber Security, it involves the study of advanced mathematical algorithms that can be used to protect data. Most roles are in academia, but increasingly there is a slight increase in the roles in other sectors too (like banking). It's a fascinating area if you've the mind for it, and there are some seriously interesting times ahead in the next 10-15 years or so e.g.

    a) Many of the popular algorithms we use to protect our data may be in jeopardy with the advent of quantum computing
    b) The IoT paradigm makes it very hard to encrypt devices as they are so small they can only perform limited computations (cryptography requires many complex mathematical computations in a short period of time). The rise of IoT devices means we are increasingly vulnerable to attack.
    c) Post-Snowden, many of the bodies we use to trust to provide cryptography standards, like the NIST, have been found to have been culpable in intentionally introducing vulnerabilities to these algorithms so they could spy on people. The need for more qualified, independent cryptographers has never been higher.

    I hope that helps a bit. Any questions let me know.
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    (Original post by IzzyS2)
    I'm not really interested in the programming side of things. I enjoy interaction with people but also have quite a technical mind that understands complex things. My problem is that it is not always easy to find out what different careers involve. What does digital security entail?
    Have a look at the job profiles on this page, it contains quite a lot of different types of jobs in the general area of IT, some of which are more skilled than others:
    https://nationalcareersservice.direc...ion-management

    Being able to understand complex things is great for a wide range of jobs really. Analytical skills and problem solving are widely applicable to a lot of different kinds of careers, so you could also consider something like a Business Analyst, which is far more people-orientated, but also requires a good technical IT background:
    https://nationalcareersservice.direc...siness-analyst
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    (Original post by jestersnow)
    Sorry for the double post, but I work in Cyber Security and have a masters degree in the area, so I will do my best to give you an overview of common or interesting careers in the sector. It's definitely a growth area:

    1) Cyber Security Engineer: Pretty common job, it involves working mainly with OS Command line interfaces (mainly BASH and POSH), networking, security/vulnerability tools and performing patching and security audits to make sure everything is as secure as it can be.

    2) Cyber Security Consultant: This involves working with customers to make sure they have an adequate security solution in place to meet their needs. This can be a very interesting but challenging job, as doing a through security audit can take a lot of time. You won't necessarily implement the security solutions (this will be done by security engineers in your company or perhaps a 3rd party). So you will need a strong understanding of security technology.

    3) Ethical Hacker/Pen Tester: In terms of being an Ethical Hacker, as many people seem to have suggested, while that might not always require a lot of coding, as someone who works int he sector it is a position that is increasingly becoming oversubscribed. Everyone wants to be like Mr Robot lol! I will also say that if you like the social interactions, Ethical Hacking can be a very isolating job. You are normally on the road a lot, and often work on a customer site by yourself. It can also be a fairly tedious job at times. Hacking is not like in the movies, it's almost always a fairly tedious job that seems a lot cooler than it actually is.

    4) Malware Researcher: This may not require a lot of coding experience, but will require you to understand code, especially at the "bare metal" level. In other words, how code works with and changes the hardware components in a computational device. A super interesting area that is not just confined to Academia, as many Cyber Security companies (e.g. anti-virus software companies) can have fairly big malware research labs.

    5) Digital Forensics: Many of these jobs are in law enforcement, and it can be seen as an extension of a traditional forensics officer in the police etc... It goes without saying it can be a pretty harrowing job at times, and most organisations who employ Digital Forensics engineers or consultants will usually have facilities for them to cope (e.g. an in house counsellor to talk about things with). Corporate Digital Forensics is a fairly big field too, as there can be quite a lot of commercial crime too. Digital Forensics also form part of a robust security audit, so companies like PwC actually have pretty big Digital Forensic departments as there is a lot of money in the sector at the moment.

    6) Software/QA Tester: Security testing should be part of any software testing plan, and this will involved checking code that has been written by developers to make sure it does not have any security vulnerabilities.

    7) Cryptographer: Very very mathematical area of Cyber Security, it involves the study of advanced mathematical algorithms that can be used to protect data. Most roles are in academia, but increasingly there is a slight increase in the roles in other sectors too (like banking). It's a fascinating area if you've the mind for it, and there are some seriously interesting times ahead in the next 10-15 years or so e.g.

    a) Many of the popular algorithms we use to protect our data may be in jeopardy with the advent of quantum computing
    b) The IoT paradigm makes it very hard to encrypt devices as they are so small they can only perform limited computations (cryptography requires many complex mathematical computations in a short period of time). The rise of IoT devices means we are increasingly vulnerable to attack.
    c) Post-Snowden, many of the bodies we use to trust to provide cryptography standards, like the NIST, have been found to have been culpable in intentionally introducing vulnerabilities to these algorithms so they could spy on people. The need for more qualified, independent cryptographers has never been higher.

    I hope that helps a bit. Any questions let me know.
    IoT and its security interests me a lot - I did my GCSE english speaking endorsement on it. I like learning about the real world applications of various technologies, understanding them and showcasing them to others.
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    (Original post by IzzyS2)
    IoT and its security interests me a lot - I did my GCSE english speaking endorsement on it. I like learning about the real world applications of various technologies, understanding them and showcasing them to others.
    I would definitely say a security consultancy role would suit you longer term, but obviously if you've "been in the trenches", so to speak, you will speak with much greater authority about things like IoT and Security. So initially that understanding could come from Academia or from gaining work experience as a Security Engineer, Ethical Hacker or Cryptographer.

    There are huge sums of money being poured in to Cyber Security academia at the moment, and there is an abundance of PhD opportunities in the field. I would say that if you want to work on IoT security, cryptography is the way to go. There aren't a lot of reliable crypto solutions for IoT devices at the moment. Lightweight Cryptography, as it's known, is a big emerging field. It would require a strong understanding of mathematics and electrical engineering.
 
 
 
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