From Nairobi to Wrocław

Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, David Ngei Omurwa, a Cybersecurity student studying at Coventry University Wrocław, Poland, told Cybernews Academy of his challenges during his transition from home to professional life. He described the adjustments to his new life and how he came to pursue his dream career. We sat down with this bright young student to discuss the ins and outs of Wrocław’s cybersecurity course. During our interview, David spoke fondly of his life in Nairobi, his transition to life in Poland, alongside his personal, professional, and academic successes.

Infatuation with technology

David’s experience growing up in Nairobi was pleasant. He attended an excellent primary school where he first cultivated his love of tech. David first got acquainted with technology through mobile phones. This budding tech fan enjoyed making his family phone do unintended things. He recalled changing the wallpapers, and text tones, deleting pictures, and just playing around with things. Then he got his first computer, and from there, he started experimenting with Kali Linux. It’s safe to say that he had a keen fascination for technology from a very young age. From there, he became “the top student in his high school computer studies class and among the best in mathematics.” However, technology wasn’t his only love affair; David was a passionate football player and an even bigger fan. He told us that his future was torn between football and technology– so he decided to pursue cybersecurity at university. “I was better at computer skills than football,” he said– it was natural that I took this path. Knowing what you’re good at and what inspires you is key to choosing the right academic and professional approach. This keen sportsman assessed his options and decided that a career in cybersecurity would be more engaging, exciting, and challenging.

Moving away from home

At 19, David said goodbye to Nairobi and hello to his new home, Poland. As you can imagine, the transition produced challenges as he moved away from his close-knit Kenyian community. During our interview, he casually compared Kenya and Poland and how the social interaction between people is entirely different, so it took a while for the young student to adjust to his new way of life. One fantastic thing about Poland, he told us, is how safe it feels. "It's something that I guess people don't appreciate here, I can walk without looking over my shoulder, and I'm going to be fine." Before arriving in the country, this prospective student did his research and ensured the environment was right for him. "It's cheaper, and there's access to the labor market, which is important for me," he exclaimed. In addition, David loves the air of international acceptance within his surroundings. "I love that a person's competency is appreciated above things such as race, religion, and where the person is from. In my experience, I have proven that I am competent, and every time I've been given an opportunity, nothing has come in the way. Coventry University Wrocław accommodates every student. They even helped David with the immigration process, as all the documentation was in Polish. At the time, David had no grasp of the language and struggled to decipher the paperwork. This made his transition much more straightforward and allowed him to focus on what matters—starting his university experience.

Finding the right course

Although his transition from country to country was prosperous, David encountered further challenges. He initially started a course in Warsaw and decided Computer Engineering wasn’t for him. From there, he set his heart on Coventry University Wrocław’s Cybersecurity course. You might choose a path that’s not right for you, but that’s OK– you can always reroute and find the degree program that suits you. David told Cybernews Academy that he didn’t regret his initial course as it “exposed him to the thing he truly wanted to do.” He took a Computer Security class during his initial study, confirming his passion for cybersecurity. So, he decided to move to Wrocław. Eventually, he settled into his dream course and began excelling at what he does now.

Throughout our interview, David discussed the motivations behind his cybersecurity journey. I hate thieves, and I detest criminality, he exclaimed. This self-proclaimed fan of law and order believes that those with a vast knowledge of technology should use it for good rather than evil. The future of cybersecurity needs to be secure and safe for everyone in the eyes of this student. That’s why he decided to take a course filled with exciting content and bright new models that could help secure peace online.

The fundamental concepts

Coventry University Wrocław’s course is a full-on, in-depth look at the fundamental concepts of cybersecurity. The modules in this course focus on information security risk management, vulnerability management, basic cyber security operations, digital forensics, and penetration testing. When asked what he liked most about his course, David outlined the opportunity to complete their assessments through reports and research instead of exams. Understanding what your course offers is the best way to ensure academic success– as you don’t want any nasty surprises. David fondly recalled some of his assessments: “When it comes to report writing, you have to dig into the subjects to get good grades, and I feel like this pushes me to be better at what I do.” This young student worked hard and desired to enter the industry early. So he applied for many jobs, and after much rejection, he was given a fantastic opportunity.

Straight into work

After a long search and many applications, QIAGEN, a German biotechnology company, emerged. Due to his strong beliefs surrounding online safety and security, it was essential to the cybersecurity student that his workplace reflects his moral and ethical principles. Thankfully, David located “a place where they pioneer things that help people.” Initially, he started working in IT support and then progressed to a place on the Cybersecurity Operations Team at QIAGEN. He recounted his feelings surrounding his new profession “It is the job I’ve always wanted to do,” and I managed to break into the industry early in my academic career. This keen student saw this opportunity and grasped it in both hands. Although initially struggling, he remained persistent and dedicated to his chosen career path. So, what does the future hold for David Ngei Omurwa? This young professional wants to continue working at QIAGEN, begin working with open-source technologies, and strengthen his understanding of Linux and other operating systems.

David left the Cybernews Academy interview with some words of encouragement for those struggling to find a degree that fits them, questioning moving away from home or trying something new: If you think it, you can do it.” So, stop second-guessing yourself and jump at any opportunity that comes your way– you never know where it could take you.