I am from North Macedonia and my background in technology dates to high school back in my home country. Programming were popular courses and seen as the “cool” subject for the boys, but I always had an interest and signed up for them. These classes eventually led to me applying and securing a place in the computer science course at The University of Manchester in 2016, graduating with a bachelor’s degree with Honours in 2020. Even though my bachelor’s course had a very small focus on cybersecurity, throughout my time at university I encouraged myself to participate in many ‘Capture the Flag’ competitions hosted by the university and external companies. These competitions consist of security themed challenges where the objective is to find the “flag”- a string embedded in the challenge – by exploiting a computer system or network using different tools or solving cybersecurity puzzles. The CTF competitions helped me build practical skills and that’s where I developed my love for cybersecurity and tried to involve myself in as many events as I could, attending local conferences and engaging with industry professionals within my network. I made the decision in my third year at university to secure a cyber internship and it has become the focus of my career thus far.

I am now celebrating my fifth year in the industry. My career started in 2018 as a Security Operations Center (SOC) analyst while completing my degree in Computer Science, a role I held for two and a half years. During this time, I gained my first industry certification and a few smaller certifications for tools such as Splunk and CarbonBlack, which are used widely in the industry.

Following graduation in 2020 I started working at Bank of America. My career at the bank started on the Monitoring & Triage (M&T) team within the Global Information Security (GIS) division. In M&T, I was quickly able to adapt to the new working environment and soon took responsibility to train new teammates in our processes and investigation techniques. This is where I also obtained another industry certification – CompTIA CySA+. In July 2022 I moved to my current role on the Cyber Incident Response and Management (CIRM) within GIS. While CIRM added a bigger responsibility in my day-to-day job, I remain focused on developing myself professionally by working towards obtaining the SANS GCIH certification – a rigorous course which builds and test your knowledge in cyber incident handling, computer crime investigations and the use of a variety of hacker tool.