Taking The First Steps On My Cyber Career Journey

By Gurjeet Shetra

My name is Gurjeet Shetra, and I work within the Digital Directorate of the Scottish Government as the Cyber Security Compliance and Assurance Manager. I am very new to the IT world and would most definitely not consider myself to be an IT technical expert, however I know I bring a different skill set and personality to this field and my team. I think it’s really important to highlight and emphasize that, even within IT, there are many roles which don’t require you to have a wealth of technical knowledge to begin your career, there are many roles where you can learn and develop as you go. I was very apprehensive about beginning this role, however I wanted to challenge myself and I knew this was the perfect opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and develop into a completely new field. The support of my management team and colleagues around me has been amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to undertake different training courses to begin my learning and development within the role and industry.

The main objective of my role is to ensure that our digital estate is compliant and we are meeting the standards and guidelines required of us as an organisation. I come from a compliance background, therefore even though I do not have technical IT knowledge or experience, I bring experience and knowledge from compliance, risk and regulatory roles within both public and private sectors.

A large proportion of my role includes stakeholder management and engagement with a large variety of internal and external stakeholders. Therefore my communication skills and the ability to build and maintain strong stakeholder relationships with people and areas has hugely benefited me within my day to day role. As a manager, my responsibilities also include managing a small team and ensuring we are meeting objectives, managing priorities and delivering effectively. I have great confidence in my team and the work they produce, so effective management and allowing each member of my team to develop and work with autonomy is hugely important to me. The health and wellbeing of my colleagues is something I am very aware of, therefore supporting my team in all aspects of their work life is a huge priority for me.

What I enjoy most about this role is the opportunity to develop and constantly learn. I have had the opportunity to undertake some professional industry courses which helps build my confidence and knowledge, to perform better. I am a very sociable person, therefore engaging and building relationships with a variety of stakeholders on a regular basis is something I really enjoy. I am constantly learning something new from their knowledge and expertise.

I have always worked in male dominated industries, and constantly feel the pressures of breaking barriers for women and BAME communities. So I would encourage anyone who has brushed off the idea of working within IT or any other sector they thought they weren’t good enough for, to think again. One small step can offer opportunities that you wouldn’t have even thought were possible. As a wise person once said, the only thing that holds us back, is our own mind.