Audrey Lucas

Audrey Lucas

Master’s in Mathematics and Applications – IT Mathematics and Cryptography, graduated in 2015

Why did you choose to specialise in cybersecurity?

I did my mathematics degree at Université de Rennes 1 and chose a specialisation at the end of my third year, which was quite late. At that stage, I didn’t know which job I was interested in and it was after a Université de Rennes 1 cryptography Masters presentation that I decided to go on to study cybersecurity. That was the Masters that I was most interested in, especially because it focused on applied mathematics.

What were the highlights of your studies?

The most memorable moment was my internship with the CAIRN team at the IRISA research lab in Lannion. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t taken that internship because it was there that I met, and worked with, the person who would become my thesis supervisor. It was an amazing opportunity because he taught me so much and helped me to progress, both on a personal and professional level. 

What were the advantages of your internship?

I worked in the field of microcontroller cryptography research which meant applying encryption algorithms to elliptic curves for microcontrollers. After my internship I was able to immediately start a thesis on the same topic in the same team.

What is your current job?

Currently, I am a cryptographic expert and I work as a R&D Manager in the young company Tekalis. When I joined the company, I was responsible for setting up a small team near Lannion (by the beach!). On top of that, I coordinate various partners for R&D projects related to, among other things, IoT security.

Was it easy to find employment?

Because I was able to start my thesis immediately after my internship, I didn’t need to look for a job. And I quickly found work with Nokia in Lannion after my thesis. I really want to stay in Lannion and was contacted by Tekalis who offered me a position in Lannion. Basically, I had no trouble whatsoever in finding employment, be it in cryptography or not.

Why are you so enthusiastic about cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a really exciting sector and I love developing programmes and being involved in research projects. And the cybersecurity community is a great community to work in.

What are your career goals?

I wish to continue to develop the Tekalis branch in Lannion. Strengthening links with the academic sector (international conference, university course, etc.) is also very important to me. Indeed, I would like to be able to develop Tekalis’ footprint in that environment.

Do you have any advice for students?

I do indeed! I have three things I’d say to students:

Stick with the programme, don’t give up. If you realise that cybersecurity isn’t for you, graduating with a cybersecurity diploma doesn’t mean you’ll have to work in cybersecurity for the rest of your career: tell yourself that if you finish your studies, you’ll be able to work as an engineer in a range of other sectors. 

Grab every opportunity that comes your way and improve your English whenever you can!

Interview conducted in 2021.

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