Aron Amundson

Digital Security, Forensics and Ethical Hacking - 2017
IT Security Adviser - Gjensidige

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Why choose GCU

There was no single reason for why I chose GCU, rather than a handful of coincidences. Having completed school and conscription in Norway, I studied Sports and Physical Education for a year not knowing what to choose as my profession. When it came to the end of that year, I started looking around for courses that I thought sounded interesting, and the one at GCU stood out amongst all of them. Subsequently, I applied and was awarded a place, left Norway, and started something completely new in a new country. This was one of the best choices I have made in my time.

What was most important

The most important side of GCU for me was that I enjoyed my time there and my education. For the first time in all my education, I felt like I understood what was required from me to succeed and achieve the results I wanted. This is without a shadow of doubt a product of me finding a field that interested me and having teaching staff that provided modules that were interesting and well taught.

Biggest lesson learned

Be proactive and start early with gaining experience; always apply to a job if it interests you, regardless if you meet all the requirements. I had two internships during the summer holidays that were created for me, as a result of contacting firms myself and asking if there were a possibility of an internship. These positions were valuable as I proceeded through university and the curriculum would contain material that I had already experienced first-hand in my internships.

Describe GCU

I would split this into two: firstly, the Common Good within the University, and secondly the Common Good outside the University. Within the University I always felt that the teaching staff I interacted with had a strong open-door policy, where me and my fellow students could seek them out if we had questions regarding the material, or if there were other aspects that we needed to discuss. As well as this we had teaching staff that would meet us with humour, going both ways.

In terms of Common Good outside the University, I would like to mention the project we completed in our third year. We were tasked with a real-life case to create teaching material for schools across Scotland to support teachers in the delivery of the SQA National Progression Awards in Cyber Security. We created everything ranging from lectures to tutorials, and to games that could be used in facilities where IT resources were limited. Upon completion, the material was made available for teachers, and we won the first Scottish Cyber Awards - the Community Impact category. This goes to show that GCU looks further than to next year’s examinations and that the University is confident enough in its students to use their knowledge and skills to assist the grassroots when needed.

Who inspires you

The ones who inspire me are the friends I hold close and dear who have in the last couple of years been a solid foundation when life has been challenging.

What's next for you

My ambitions have not changed much since university; holding a role I enjoy while challenging me in a rewarding way. The four years at GCU have been a solid platform for evolving both my soft and hard skills, as a job never involves just one of them.

Anything else 

My advice to anyone starting a new job, especially when young, is to ask your peers when there is something you do not understand or even who to ask. More than likely they will be happy to answer, and it is one thing less to worry about. 

And as a final note, take care of your mental health. It is not worth suffering alone, there are people out there who are more than willing to help; from friends to professionals.

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