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I don’t want someone to hold my hand – I want to do my own thing

Meet Kyran, hailing from Cambridge, England, with a background in economics, business, and computer science Kyran Peel told Cybernews Academy of his success at Coventry University. Kyran has had a keen fascination for cyber security ever since he was a child. From as early as fourteen, this computer whiz has been interested in innovative ways to access the internet. It started with a YouTube video and ended with a passion for technology. We sat down with Kyran to discuss his current academic successes, personal projects, and his plans for the future. This self-taught cyber extraordinaire had much to tell us about his Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security degree. Let’s get into it.

Back to The Start

Since his early adolescence, Kyran has been curious about cyber security and hacking. He told Cybernews Academy journalists, “I started exploring the cyber sector in year ten, really early.” He had already started thinking about cybersecurity and ethical hacking in secondary school. In school, he explained that he “wanted to go on YouTube and play Cool Maths Games, but these services were blocked. I wanted to get around that.” His curiosity grew as he moved through school, and his projects became more ambitious. He had already embarked on his first major project in his teenage years. During his A-Levels, he “made an Instagram checker, that in his words, has “done pretty well.” He told us that “this was my way of learning APIs.” Kyran added that this project blew up much more than he expected, where he received “Seventy stars on GitUp.” An impressive achievement for this young hacker. As he grew older, he started looking at his passion as a career and wondered where he could go from there. That’s when he began researching universities that offered courses in cyber security.

Finding The Right Course

Despite the “niche” field, Kyran expressed that “there are a lot of places to do cyber security and computer science.” However, most courses didn’t fit Kyran’s hands-on approach to learning. Thankfully, Kyran managed to find universities that offered practical computer science courses. However, he encountered a problem. “I was looking around, and there's a lot of places to do cyber security and computer science, but you get one module a year out of the three.” Kyran knew he wanted a practical course that focused purely on cyber security. Before commencing his studies, Kyran researched and ensured that he correctly assessed his needs. Kyran discovered Coventry University and found exactly what he was looking for. Due to its uniqueness, Ethical hacking and Cyber Security proved to be the perfect fit for this tech fan. When Kyran saw the course, he felt like he’d struck gold, as it was the only other university that offered what he was searching for. Apart from the University of Aberdeen, there is no other course like this in the UK. But as you can imagine, Scotland was just too far from home. So, that’s how Kyran landed in Coventry.

Starting In Cyber Security

During our interview, Kyran remembered when he first found his ethical hacking degree. “I saw that Coventry did this ethical hacking and cyber security course, which was practical work for three years. It's one of the only places that did it.” This tech star didn’t want to hold off on his passion by sticking to a rigid structure. So, after doing his research, he settled on a university in the Midlands that focused on the aspects he was most passionate about. Kyran told us what his first year at university was like and how his course is not for the faint of heart. Coventry course leaders “expect you to have a lot of computer science knowledge beforehand,” he said. This put off many of his potential classmates, as they believed that the course, in Kyran’s words, was “a cakewalk.” He goes on to clarify that this specific degree is “not an introductory course.” Instead, it is a place where Kyran can flex his already extensive cybersecurity knowledge. Unsurprisingly, Kyran was already aware of his degree's specifications, which made it easier for him to integrate. In addition, his understanding of the industry, his passion for cyber security, and his dedication to his craft made the transition that much easier. Kyran told us that his degree is a pioneering course that tends to “develop every year– they’re changing it up all the time.” Poignantly, he commented on the state of the industry and how his course reflects cyber security. He noted that “cyber security also changes all the time,” which shows how important it is to find a degree that mirrors your chosen profession.

The Practical Approach

One of the aspects that Kyran found most appealing about Coventry’s ethical hacking course was the practical approach to learning. This tech boffin voiced his opinions surrounding learning approaches in cyber security. He said, “I take a slightly different approach. My approach is more practical.” He told us more about this independent approach to learning and how his course supports that learning style. “This course is very self-learning, they’ll give you a week of lectures on a concept, and they give you a lot to go off and work on your own.” Kyran triumphantly expressed, “I don’t want someone to hold my hand – I want to do my own thing.” Kyran faced many challenges during his academic career, which only helped him hone his craft. He said, “Every time I hit a problem, SSH isn’t working, I have to set up a keychain, or a command isn’t working– I’ll learn more by doing something I completely constructed myself because there is so much room for error.” Kyran’s independent approach and Coventry University’s flexibility helped boost his creativity while reflecting industry standards. This approach will inevitably aid Kyran and set him up for success once he graduates. This budding young student found a degree that fits his desired outcomes as he continues applying his knowledge daily. So, this future professional began walking the path of academic success, navigating through his first year and moving on to his second year, a year full of practice, self-teaching, and close collaboration.

Close Collaboration and The Uni Experience

Kyran told Cybernews Academy about his university experience. “Uni is very interesting, and the course is very different than every other course.” His outlook on his current course is one full of positivity. He expressed how attending university “widens your ideas” and helps create new independent projects. University can help you branch out and gain a new perspective as you collaborate with other soon-to-be professionals. Kyran commented on collaboration at uni as he mentioned, “Because it’s a computing thing, you end up having a small group of people that stick together.” He told us his team “answers each other's questions and enjoys collaborating” with one another.

Future in Third Year

Kyran spoke optimistically of his future work at Coventry University as he discussed with us the free structure of his future third-year studies. He mentioned that he should have the opportunity to complete a “project that can be whatever we want, as long as it’s cybersecurity based.” This freedom is precisely what Kyran was looking for. Specifically, he commented on some of the tasks he has completed during his studies. He told us that activities like “capture the flags are artificially constructed,” and that’s why he struggles to “get into” this kind of activity. This free spirit prefers the organic route, as he readily works on up-and-coming projects– “I’m always doing projects. I’m just that guy.”

So, what does the future look like for Kyran? One thing’s for sure this young professional won’t sacrifice his integrity for just any job. “I want to be with the right company that will support me throughout my career,” he expressed. Kyran left our meeting optimistically, explaining why the university experience is so important. “There’s a lot of opportunity” when you take time and assess what you want from your university experience. There is always an opportunity waiting for you to grasp with both hands. So, what are you waiting for?