The UK is a culturally diverse environment
Samuel Kofi Amoako is from Ghana and is studying a Master’s in Cyber Security.
When I was in Ghana, I always loved helping people. I’m very empathetic as I love to see people prosper so I chose to study Social Work and Psychology for my Bachelor’s degree. While at university, I realised I had a passion for technology as I started spending the majority of my time at the university’s ICT directorate.
Due to my newfound passion, upon graduation, I applied to undertake my mandatory one-year national service with the university’s ICT Directorate and was successful in securing a trainee assistant role. This gave me the opportunity to continuously enrich my knowledge in information technology and I ended up undertaking other IT courses.
After my national service, I got a job in a bank where I worked for four years and rose to a management position. Prior to travelling to the UK, I was the Head of IT.
From 2020, cybercrimes escalated to an all-time high due to the emergence of Covid-19 and the greater dependence on technology. In 2020, the Parliament of Ghana enacted the Cyber Security Act which established the Cyber Security Authority to regulate cyber security activities in the country. To promote safe cyber space in the banking sector, the regulator, the Bank of Ghana, also pushed for all banks and SDIs (Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions) to adhere to its cyber and information security directives. At this point, it became necessary to acquire specialist knowledge in cyber security.
My company sent me on training programmes to increase my knowledge of this area. Through these training and personal development efforts, I attained several certificates in cyber security.
Coming to the UK to pursue an MSc in Cyber Security was definitely an opportunity to get quality education from a developed country and to gain international exposure and experience. The MSc Cyber Security course offered by University of Gloucestershire is certified by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which attests to the robustness and relevance of the programme. The programme is exciting and challenging and requires you to research, learn and practise all the time.
A highly recognised MSc Cyber Security degree will open so many opportunities after graduation. I see myself becoming an established cyber security consultant helping organisations in managing their cyber security risks and improving their security systems.
International grant award
During my application process, I got offers from 7 different universities – I had to compare the modules, programme certification and the cost. In addition to these, the amazing support from the Admissions and International Students office and the International Grant award, which gives a discount on your fees, was the main catch for me. That was something very important for me.
The University of Gloucestershire does a great deal to help give students employment opportunities. In the first three months of my programme I have already been to two career fairs – with General Electric (GE) and BAE Systems. These giant organisations presented career opportunities in the cyber security industry as well as in their respective organisations.
In addition, the Your Future Plan team and the career studio publish job and placement opportunities as well as advice for CV writing, interview techniques etc. As an international student, these skills really help in terms of job prospects.
I had read the UK is a culturally diverse environment and I wanted to experience it. When I got here, it was fantastic. Living with other students has been an amazing experience at the Pittville Student Village. I have met and made some great new friends.
As an international student moving to a new country, you need to brace yourself for the challenges ahead. One major hurdle you need to quickly overcome is deciding where you’ll live. I wanted to avoid paying for expensive temporary accommodation.
Sorting out my accommodation was a priority so I booked university halls of residence (Pittville Student Village) in advance. The residence boasts a gym, laundry rooms, study suites, a faith space, basketball court, table tennis and a social space. There are events every week including my favourite – movie nights.
Also, whether you’re living in Gloucester or Cheltenham, I advise getting the Unirider academic year bus pass. It’s a great way to save on transport. It is much cheaper to use the bus pass if you need to commute for a part-time job.
As I settled into life in the UK, I looked for opportunities to develop my soft skills and to share experiences with others. I came across the student ambassador scheme job post on the Your Future Plan portal. I had the conviction I could effectively do this, so I applied, got shortlisted, came for the group interview and got offered the role. It has been an amazing opportunity sharing knowledge of my university with others, while networking and developing vital soft skills.