Travel, internship add to cyber skills and career options

For Mark Dorsett, the experience of travelling and studying in the US as part of his Master of Information Technology (Cybersecurity) course at the University of Melbourne has been one of his most valuable student experiences so far.

In 2019 he joined students at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a month of intensive study.

Mark Dorsett standing in modern corridor
Mark Dorsett

“It was exciting to share the enthusiasm of students there, to meet new people and make new friends. I loved every minute of it.

“I think it has also helped to make connections in the cybersecurity field that I would not otherwise have had the chance to make. It has extended my connections beyond those I could make just staying in Melbourne.”

He says while many of the issues being studied were the same in the US and Australia, he feels the international exchange has broadened his perspective and built his confidence, adding to the knowledge base gained through his course.

Before starting at the University of Melbourne, Mark had completed a Bachelor of Information Systems, with Honours in computer science at La Trobe University, where he was also tutor and subject moderator.

It has also helped to make connections in the cybersecurity field that I would not otherwise have had the chance to make

“But I felt like there was more to learn about cybersecurity and I’ve definitely gained more advanced knowledge through the masters  degree.”

He has been able to apply that knowledge and gain industry experience as part of the course with a three-month internship at the international business services consultancy firm Deloitte.

“I saw a presentation from Deloitte as part of the industry outlook program the University offers for students, and from there I applied for the internship.”

Based in the company’s Cyber Risk Advisory (Strategy & Governance) division, he was involved with projects looking at several different aspects of cybersecurity in including privacy, audit security protocols and website design and user identity.

“I had good foundational knowledge in each of these areas, but I also learned something from each of the projects I worked on.

“When I applied for the internship, I think being able to call on the presentation that was made to students really helped me. In general, the presentations from different companies were a really good chance to hear about industry opportunities and directions.”

He says the quality of teaching and the standards expected from students in his masters are both very high, which is why there is such good industry recognition for the course, and why he took it on.

I saw a presentation from Deloitte as part of the industry outlook program the University offers for students, and from there I applied for the internship

But the on-campus experience for students at Melbourne is also “a must”, he says, and one he hopes future students will be able to return to following the successful control of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Not all universities can offer the kinds of social opportunities, the different interest groups and student societies that Melbourne has.”

Mark graduates at the end of 2020 and is keeping his options open for now. He is currently working part-time in a project management role with a small startup business creating mobile apps for students learning English as another language.

“It’s not strictly cybersecurity,” he says. “But the masters course has opened many doors for me, and I am able to choose from so many different options for my career path.

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Student industry experiences Teaching and learning

School of Computing and Information Systems