We spoke to Leah about her career journey from Network Engineer apprentice to Cyber Security professional.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Leah Claireaux, I’m a Cyber Security Research Professional.

Anomaly detection is used to identify areas of the network that seem suspicious and could be malicious. I specifically work on machine learning algorithms to identify these anomalies because network attacks are becoming more sophisticated. We need to be one step ahead of the attacker.

Tell us more about your background

I did my A Levels at Northgate sixth form and then started thinking about going to university. However, I came across BT’s Network Engineer apprenticeship programme and I knew that was what I wanted to do. I had actually been inspired by an Innovation Day at the BT Labs, but they didn’t offer innovation apprenticeships. When I did my apprenticeship, I had 6 month rotations in different network teams while I was studying to get my BSc in Software Engineering. All the while, I kept an eye on up and coming technologies and realised that software engineering was something I’d be interested in, so I started to upskill myself. Ultimately, it lead to me joining the cyber security research team where I was offered a role after my apprenticeship.

What drives your passion?

When I was younger, I would always watch engineering programmes with my dad. I was also the go-to person to fix the computer in our house. [Isambard Kingdom] Brunel was a major role model for me growing up. Adaptations and new innovations around things that we already have were incredibly fascinating to me from a young age, which inspired me to pursue a career in this field.

Cyber security integrates my background knowledge on both software and network engineering, combining front-end data visualisation and back-end machine learning algorithms. I love James Bond and some of the visualisation tools that I get use feel like you’re hunting down evil.

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