We are now all operating from our makeshift home offices, and for our SHIFT students this means taking their learning online. Without skipping a beat, SIGNAL has kept the information coming for our cohort by hosting our line-up of industry speakers via Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings.
Last week we met with Cyber Security consultant, Nick Baty of CCL and Firebrand's Operation Manager Lynda Henderson. Read on to hear how they found themselves in leadership roles within the tech industry.
A day in the life of a cyber security expert
Nick Baty is one of New Zealand's leading digital security specialists. He joined us via video link for a fascinating chat about his role as Principal Security Consultant for Computer Concepts Ltd. (CCL) and his journey into cyber security.
With an impressive background working within the NZ Ministry of Defence, the Government Communications Security Bureau (including the National Cyber Security Centre), and the Ministry of Health, his roles have been primarily in ‘normalising’ digital security for businesses and educating business owners to be proportionate and pragmatic about security.
“When a computer or phone is lost or stolen, it is no longer about losing the hardware, it is about protecting the data contained within and being able to ‘remotely sanitize’ the item in order to protect the use of your data”.
With a Masters in International Affairs, Nick also gained valuable knowledge and experience from his network of mentors, particularly within the NZ Ministry of Defence. The value of being able to communicate with all members of his team, and forming valuable relationships in the industry was also a key piece of advice from Nick to the 2020 Dunedin SHIFT cohort.
“New Zealand is an early adapter of digital tech with platforms such as TradeMe being at the forefront in the digital world. Be a sponge! Learn from others that you work with, be patient and realise your own competencies.”
A digital design thinking process
Direct from her home office via video link, Lynda Henderson Mission Commander/ \Operations Manager for Dunedin based marketing and digital transformation agency Firebrand, gave us an amazing overview of the design process they used to successfully bid for the development of a Ministry of Social Development app to assist at-risk and long term unemployed people into meaningful work, and to help ensure their mental health and wellbeing before, during and after employment. This groundbreaking app also brings the new employer into the loop, to ensure that their new hire is being onboarded and supported appropriately, which has been shown to greatly increase the likelihood of remaining in employment.
Many hours of in-depth research were required just to get to an initial concept stage, and Lynda described the importance of this in the design thinking process.
"An empathetic approach that includes surveys, design sprints and walls covered in Post It Notes are required before even going near a computer. We even pulled strangers in off the street for their valued opinions!"
Lynda also shared the story of how she came to be designing digital solutions for a diverse range of Firebrand clients scattered around the world. Lynda started her career as a signwriter, a vocation which soon moved into the digital realm.
“I knew I wanted to be in Digital Advertising, but I was realistic enough to know you don’t leave school and step into those roles. So I chose a trade that would take me there instead”.
Lynda has since held many roles, with Miller Studios, Otago Polytechnic and in her own business.
Now in a role she loves at Firebrand, there are still interesting new challenges. One of the most recent is learning to work with her team via their monitors, instead of all interacting in one room!
Without the involvement of our industry partners, we couldn't deliver the industry-focused programme we do, nor give our students the experiences they receive. Whether you are a guest speaker, a project client or internship host, we truly value your support.
View our SIGNAL Industry Insights page to see our current line-up of industry leaders, sharing their experience with our SHIFT Cohorts.