09 July 2019

A day in the life of an IRM pen tester: Ellis Wilcox

To raise awareness of IRM’s Graduate Pen Tester Scheme, we’ve interviewed some of 2018’s grad intake to find out what it’s really like to work as a pen tester at IRM. Today, we hear from Ellis.

Name: Ellis Wilcox

Education/Background:  A levels Maths, Further Maths and Physics. BEng Electronic and Electrical engineering & MSc Electronic and computer engineering, both from the University of Birmingham.

Age: 24

What is your role?

I am a Graduate Technical Consultant.

What did you do before you joined IRM/how did you come to join IRM?

Worked in a building services company as a product support manager in the HIU (Heat Interface Unit) department. I heard about the opportunity on the IRM graduate scheme through a friend.

Why did you choose IRM?

I felt it was more in line with what I was interested in and what I studied at university.

How do you manage your home and work life balance?

I try my best not to work on anything past normal working hours unless there is reason to do so – that way I allow myself to disengage and focus on other things I enjoy.

Did you always plan to work in cyber?

Not always, I thought I would work as an electrical engineer for a long time.

Do you find your job challenging?

Yes, because I had virtually no technical experience in cybersecurity so there was a very big learning curve. However, I am happy with the progress I have made so far. The learning process of using hack the box, training rigs etc, was extremely useful to helping to progress my understanding.

Tell us how you learn new things

Mainly in the office and on the job, whenever I have a day I’m not assigned to anything I try to pop on to HTB (hack the box) to brush up on my technical skills.

Have you been to any interesting places working in cyber?

I’ve been to the offices of a famous British broadcasting company as well as a trip to Paris for work – they have been the most interesting places so far!

What training opportunities do you have with IRM?

Cyber Scheme Team Member (CSTM) has been the key one. There’s now a big push from management to continue to invest in our development, so it seems as though a lot more training should be coming our way. I also like the encouragement to gain personal qualifications.

What tips would you give to somebody looking to enter the cyber industry?

It depends on what role you want I guess. I’ll speak more on pentesting. Brush up on your technical skills – that was a big factor for me. There are plenty of good resources; Vulnhub, YouTube, Hack the Box. And make sure you can communicate your ideas and thoughts clearly, efficiently and appropriately.

The next instalment from “A day in the life of an IRM pen tester” will be posted tomorrow. To learn more about the IRM Pen Tester Graduate Scheme, visit our careers page here.