"On my BSc Computer Science degree programme I really enjoyed the balance between theory and practical work. At Surrey you don’t get to choose modules until your final year which in my opinion is a good thing: by that time you know what you enjoy studying and can make an informed choice.
Personally I am very interested in Cyber Security so in my final year I selected three modules which cover the many different aspects of this fascinating subject.
Doing a placement year turned out to be a brilliant experience.
I spent mine with Accenture as a Software Engineer in the company’s Technical Solutions branch, which involved developing mobile apps for the public sector among other tasks, and spending time both in central London and Newcastle.
Surrey has given me lots of other opportunities. In my final year I was a Lab Demonstrator – helping first year students with their lab exercises – and got involved in the Department of Computing’s Mentor Scheme.
I also spent a summer research placement contributing to a project focused on rail safety systems, which gave me a flavour of what a career in academia would involve and helped me to decide what I wanted to do in the future.
I’m now continuing my studies at Surrey with an industrially sponsored PhD in cyber security: an area of computing I am passionate about. I was excited to have the opportunity to join the Secure Systems group within Surrey’s Department of Computer Science as a PhD student. The group is a core part of the Surrey Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS) which is recognised by GCHQ as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR).
My PhD work involves doing security protocol analysis of future connected communicating cars in Intelligent Transportation Systems. This focuses both on the security aspects (ensuring the system behaves as expected) and the privacy of users (ensuring that individuals using the system cannot be tracked or profiled).
My PhD is sponsored by EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and Thales UK through an iCase bursary. This means that I’m in regular contact with Thales’ security research office to discuss my progress and stay up-to-date on industrial trends which could make my research more relevant and impactful. I’m also due to complete a placement with the company later this year.
One of my aims in undertaking a PhD was to learn all the core skills needed to be an independent researcher such as writing and delivering peer reviewed publications, and networking with other researchers worldwide. To date I have already had one joint paper published with researchers in the Netherlands and Germany, and I’m currently writing up another publication to submit soon. From this recent work, I hope to achieve some foundational models which other researchers will be able to base their work.
Studying for a PhD at Surrey has also given me the chance to take up other learning opportunities alongside my research.
I’m currently studying for my Graduate Certificate in Higher Education which I hope to achieve this summer. Pursuing this course and gaining exposure to different teaching practices has enhanced my student interaction skills and helped me to communicate my research more effectively to various audiences.
I chose to remain at Surrey for my PhD partly because I really like the campus, the historical town and the beautiful greenery that surrounds Guildford. The fact that Guildford is only 40 minutes away from London Waterloo by train means I can meet up with friends and enjoy everything the city offers, with the bonus of being able to escape back to Guildford at the end of the day."