Security Analyst, TVNZ
Master of Information Security and Digital Forensics
Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences in IT Service Science & Networks and Security
Hearing a guest lecturer speak about cyber security threats was a lightbulb moment, says AUT computing alumna Ash Lennox-Steele.
“During one of my bachelor’s degree classes we had a guest lecture by the head of AUT’s Master of Information Security and Digital Forensics. The lecture was about the growing risk of cyber security threats, and how the master’s degree addressed this. Despite not really considering postgraduate study before, after that lecture I knew that’s what I needed to do and cyber security was where I wanted to go.”
Now working as a security analyst for TVNZ, she loves being on the ‘good’ side of the security fence.
“It’s nice to know that the work I’m doing helps keep my organisation and the people who interact with it safe. I really enjoy the challenge. With the way technology is moving, and the increasing complexity in the security space regarding threats and attacks, there’s always more to learn.”
A passion for technology
Ash had been drawn to technology from a young age.
“I enjoyed playing around with technology to understand how it worked and what I could make it do. When it was time to choose where to go to university, AUT’s Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences aligned well with my preferred way of learning and working as it provided hands-on experience to help process the theoretical knowledge of the degree.”
A real standout for her was the project at the end of her bachelor’s degree, says Ash who was supported by a Keir Trust Study Award during her undergraduate degree.
“With the number of classes on the go, and the expectation to retain as much information as possible, it was easy to get lost in a particular subject or class, so the end-of-degree project really put into perspective how much I had learnt and further boosted confidence in my ability to make it in the industry.”
Taking on postgraduate study
Having decided that postgraduate study was the next step for her after completing her bachelor’s degree, Ash stayed on at AUT.
“I didn’t need to consider anywhere else, as I had such an awesome experience during my undergraduate degree at AUT. The entirety of my master’s degree was a highlight in itself – the level of hands-on work and the tight-knit classes made for a very cool atmosphere for learning and sharing experiences.
“The quality and real-life experience of the lecturers further helped to put into perspective the importance of what we were doing, and emphasized why our learning pathway is so important.”
She constantly draws on the skills she developed for her career now, says Ash who received a number of awards throughout her master’s degree, including an Excellence in Māori and Pacific Advancement Award and ESET NZ Postgraduate Security Award.
“The skills and knowledge I learned at AUT have provided a very broad foundation for me to build on, from the basics taught in a conceptual level at undergraduate level through to the more advanced and focused skills I had the opportunity to develop throughout my master’s degree.”
Advice for other students
Ash’s advice for other students is simple – plan ahead.
“Look at the broader picture of not only what you’re learning in each class, but how it all links together. Look past completing your degree and graduating to where you want to end up. This will help you effectively plan your courses, and refine your knowledge and skillset. Most of all, ask lots of questions, not only of the academic staff but also of your peers.
“You should also participate as much as you can in the opportunities presented to you through AUT because the more you put in, the more you’re going to get out of the experience.”