E25 - Sean Mitchell at NCC Group

Aaron Singleton-Martin
Sean Mitchell

By Aaron Singleton-Martin & Sean Mitchell

On today’s episode of the Security Vendor spin-off series, we are joined by Aaron Singleton Martin and Sean Mitchell, Head of SOC Operations at NCC Group. During today’s episode, they discuss Sean’s introduction into the cybersecurity field after a long career in the IT world. Sean also shares more about his mentorship program and the inspiration behind starting this up.

Sean’s journey into the cybersecurity world is an interesting one. Prior to his career in cybersecurity, he had an extensive career in the IT sector, gaining valuable insights and honing his technical skills. However, his curiosity and passion for cybersecurity led him to make a significant transition. Joining Leidos, he embarked on a path that would shape his future.

At Leidos, Sean laid the foundation of his cybersecurity career. Initially working as a security analyst, he quickly immersed himself in various areas of cybersecurity, such as security analysis, SOC transformations, social emersions, and assessments.

Sean’s journey took another turn when Capgemini acquired Leidos Cyber. Instead of going through the interview process, Sean seamlessly transitioned into Capgemini. This provided him with a unique opportunity to work with a diverse range of clients and expand his horizons as a cybersecurity consultant.

While Sean enjoyed his time at Capgemini, he recognised the need for professional growth and advancement. Seeking new challenges, he made the decision to join Babcock as a SOC Manager. This role allowed him to step into a leadership position, overseeing the SOC. Sean’s relentless pursuit of excellence led him to his current role as the Head of SOC Operations at NCC Group.

Is education a necessity in cybersecurity?

Sean believes that while education is valuable, it is not the sole determining factor for success in the cybersecurity field. In his experience, practical experience and hands-on knowledge carry significant weight when evaluating candidates for entry-level roles. Sean emphasises the importance of real-world application, highlighting that cybersecurity is a constantly evolving domain that demands practical skills to address emerging threats effectively.

Sean’s perspective challenges the notion that a specific degree or certifications are prerequisites for entering the cybersecurity industry. While these credentials can enhance your credibility and demonstrate a certain level of expertise, they are not absolute requirements. When reviewing CVs, he focuses on candidates who can showcase practical experience.

A Different Perspective on Mentorship

When Sean gained a leadership position at Babcock, he observed existing mentorship programs but felt that he could provide a different perspective to aspiring professionals. Recognising the importance of mindset in cybersecurity, Sean decided to establish his own mentorship program that focuses on guiding individuals not only in technical skills but also in developing the right mindset for the challenges they may face in their cybersecurity careers.

Seizing Opportunities

With cybersecurity becoming increasingly competitive, he advises aspiring professionals to be proactive and take advantage of any opportunity that comes their way. Waiting for the perfect role may lead to unnecessary delays in kickstarting a cybersecurity career. By getting their foot in the door, whether through internships, entry-level positions, or volunteer work, individuals can gain valuable practical experience and establish a foundation for growth.

Tune in on the 29/06/2023 to hear the full episode!

Check out his website here: https://seanmitchell.tech/