Studying Cyber Security: Kolawole's Story

International student, Kolawole in the SEE Building

Kolawole was already studying a master’s degree at another University however soon after starting he realised the course wasn't quite right for him. After careful research, he decided to take a chance and move to Salford to study our MSc Cyber Security, Threat Intelligence and Forensics.  

Choosing Salford

I realised quite early on during my previous cyber security master’s that it wasn’t the right path for me. When I was talking to a friend about my experiences, they suggested that I take a look at Salford because they had a great time studying there. I did my own research, spoke to the international team and decided that it would be right decision for me to make the switch.  

The things which drew me to Salford were the industry experience combined with academics, the expert tutors, the flexible payment plan, student life and the closeness to Manchester city center.  

Studying at Salford

My programme covers many aspects of the cyber security field including threat intelligence, penetration testing, governance, risk and compliance and information security. The tutors are very knowledgeable and use discussion, group work and industry context to successfully deliver the content. 

Throughout the course, I have been able to connect with different mentors and professionals to further increase my knowledge of the sector. Overall completing a master’s in this area has allowed me to discover which specific area of cyber security I would like to specialise in, setting me up for a successful future career. 

Industry Experience

I am currently on an internship with Cyblack UK, an organisation that offers cybersecurity professionals the opportunity to gain hands-on industry experience in lots of different areas of the sector. This experience has been invaluable for my professional development. 

I have also been fortunate enough to get a part-time job through Unitemps as a Student Web Assistant for the University’s web team. I was thrilled to get this role as it has allowed me to see another side of the sector. I have been able to gain experience working within a diverse team and played my part in delivering key web projects for the University. 

My proudest achievement at Salford has been a project called Cyberaware, which is a social intervention scheme that I have created to increase cybersecurity awareness for vulnerable groups. The project was selected by the UK Government through the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology for incubation, facilitated by Plexa. The focus is to provide relatable content to educate the target group on cybersecurity. Now it has been selected for incubation, I am excited to see what the future holds, and I can grow the project to reach more people. 

Giving back to the community

During my time at Salford, I have taken advantage of volunteering opportunities within the University to expand my skills and give back. I have been a Volunteer Co-ordinator for GiveItAGo Football sessions. During this role, I have had the opportunity to take part in leadership training and become a certified Manchester FA Referee for Junior Leagues. 

I have also been a Volunteer Mentor at IntoUniversity, which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their goals. I have been able to use the knowledge I have learned during my master’s to run sessions on programming, robotics and cybersecurity.  

My advice

I would say to future international students to be open-minded about life and studying in Salford. There are lots of support available to help you settle in from accommodation to academic life and mental health. I recommend connecting with other international students through WhatsApp and Facebook groups to get to know other students before you arrive and also to use them to ask any questions you may have. Always ask any questions you may have, there are always people around happy to help you.