‘Future Leaders’ is a series of blog posts by the Financial Times in which we interview our team members and ask them how they got into technology, what they are working on and what they want to do in the future. Everyone has a different perspective, story and experience to share. This series will feature colleagues working in our Product & Technology teams. You can also connect with us on Twitter at @lifeatFT.
Hi Santa, what is your current role at the FT and what do you spend most of your time doing at work?
I’m currently a Junior Risk Analyst in the Cyber Security team and my priorities as a risk analyst are to identify and assess cyber security risks for the FT and work on mitigating those risks.
How did you get into the technology industry?
I think it was a very rational choice because when I was growing up I had to do a lot of manual labour and I knew that I 100% did not want to do that for the rest of my life. I told myself that when I grow up I will make sure that I have a good and stable career. As I got older, I started exploring the opportunities around me and two potential career paths caught my attention; the technology industry or the police academy. I liked the idea of becoming a police officer, but I understood that I would have more opportunities to grow in the technology side and that is when I made a choice of getting into the technology industry. You would see now, why I am working in Cyber Security.
Ah, it’s like the policing of the tech world..
Yeah, it’s still in my heart somewhere. It’s very different but I think there’s a reason why I went into cyber security because I always wanted to fight for something upstanding and just and reduce exploitation.
Did you study IT at university?
I completed a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Computer Control, in Latvia and then I worked for a while in the IT industry. I initially worked as an IT Infrastructure project manager and believed it was my dream role. Slowly, I realised it was different from what I’d expected, although I enjoyed it, I wanted more. I thought, “what can I do now?” and then the opportunity came up to move to the UK and do a Masters degree in Cyber Security at the University of Southampton. That was a big step for me since I didn’t have the choice to study Cyber Security in Latvia. This was an exciting new chapter in my life.
That’s a huge move, well done!
Yeah, even I’m surprised at myself when I look back! I graduated last December, I moved to London straight after submitting my dissertation and started working at the FT.
Wow, that was very quick! So, since you’ve been at the FT almost one year now, what do you think is the project you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of?
It’s probably the project I’m currently working on which is the ‘Investigations Room’ for the Investigations team. The room is designed for them to conduct investigative work in a secure environment. What that means exactly I won’t go into the details of, but it’s exciting. I know it’s useful too so that makes me happy.
We’re almost there, we’re planning to deliver it by end of this week. We’ve worked really hard on it.
The thing I liked the most about the project is that I’ve learned a lot from it. The editorial and journalistic side is very new to me.
That’s cool. What do you think is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
I was thinking about this question and I think one of the things I’ve learned is that I used to be the person who had to plan everything. I had to identify all the different scenarios and outcomes and I had to be certain whatever I was doing was well thought out. Then I realised you miss a lot if you only do the things you can plan because most things are not certain. That’s the key learning, not to wait for a perfect situation or perfect conditions to come, just do it. I’ve always thought that if you want to do something, you always feel like you aren’t good enough, you’ll always feel like you’re not ready but I think I’ve learned to overcome it and to just jump. If it works out then it works out and if it doesn’t then I’ll deal with the consequences.
Very true and you learn from everything, every experience too. That brings us nicely to our final question, what would you like to do in the future? No strict plans of course..
Well, when I was doing my bachelor’s I knew what my ideal career would look like and then when I got there I realised it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. Because of that I no longer think about wanting any specific role in the future. The thing I want to do and have in my mind is the kind of person I want to become. I want to develop my personality, there are certain things that I want to improve on and I think that’s what I would like to do. I want to develop my overall personality so that I will be the best version of myself and then we’ll see what that person will decide to do in the future.