Ongoing ‘healthy competition’ with her brother was the reason Shishira Skanda first tried computer games. Once she discovered she could make computers do things through coding, she was hooked.
In the ninth grade, Shishira had an opportunity to take a new subject. The options: economics, physical education and computer programming. She chose computer programming out of pure curiosity.
“That was my first step towards coding and after that there was no turning back,” she says.
Fast-forward many years and Shishira is now an analyst with Deloitte’s Cyber Risk Advisory team. They help industries across Australia with their security.
“We work with our clients to understand what they want to do with their IT systems and where vulnerability for cyber crime may be. We look at what information they have and how to stop it leaking or being stolen,” she says.
“I love looking at security issues and working backwards to find the gap in the developing space that led to the vulnerability. I also work with software development teams to help them see new threats coming so that they can make their work more secure.”
Whether hackers are trying to pick on someone or steal money, there’s a cyber crime battle going on every day.
Sometimes these security issues make front page news, like when hackers take over computers and blackmail people, demanding Bitcoin in return for giving files back.
How did Shishira end up in this exciting career?
“At school, I always liked science and mathematics. I was logically inclined. At university, I enjoyed learning, building and breaking IT systems,” she says.
At university, Shishira built a number of apps. One of these is Pi-Watch, a security system with a motion sensor and camera to capture images and videos of the people at your doorstep. The app asks, ‘Do you want to capture image or stream video?’. You can see who it is and if it’s a friend you can give them a call and say come back later.
She was part of team that built ICONIFIED. It helps foreign students find local services, like shopping centres or GPs, without needing to speak the local language.
These are just a few examples of what can be done with computer science skills and Shishira thinks the future is bright for kids that want to get into the IT industry.
“Security is going to get bigger and bigger. Beyond that, there are lots of jobs, for example, combining computers and creativity or computers with clients,” she says.
One of the things that has surprised Shishira about the IT industry is the perception that IT is difficult to learn.
“I wouldn’t say IT is easy, but if you get the hang of it, you’ll enjoy it so much and you’ll do it in your free time. IT has so many job opportunities where you’re not expected to code, for example, design or working with clients or doing research.”
“The IT industry is not an industry by itself; it’s an industry inside every other industry. Most people think it’s very tough, but it’s not and it’s evolving over time.”
– Claire Harris
Shishira’s path to fighting cyber crime:
> > Bachelor of Engineering (Computer and Information Sciences), MSRIT, India
> > Masters of Information Technology, Monash University
> > Summer internship, Deloitte
> > Graduate Analyst, Deloitte
Liked this article? Check out Andrea Olrich, Software Developer.
“I love looking at security issues and working backwards to find the gap in the developing space that led to the vulnerability.”
Author: Heather Catchpole
Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs