Cyrielle

Cyrielle

2015 Cryptography Major graduate

Why did you choose to specialise in cybersecurity?

I was able to take an introductory cryptography course during my mathematics degree. The idea of sending secret messages or decrypting intercepted encrypted messages made me change my initial study plan and choose a Masters in Cryptography at Université de Rennes 1.

What were the highlights of your studies?

There were two memorable moments which changed the course of my intended study and career plan. The first was when I discovered cryptography. And the second was when my supervisors at the end of my second Masters year encouraged me to continue my studies to PhD level. I always said I’d only study up a Masters but in the end I changed my mind and did a thesis just after my internship.

What were the advantages of your internship?

I did a six-month internship at the Institut de Recherche Technologique (IRT – digital technological research institute) in Cesson-Sévigné, 15 minutes from Rennes. I was assigned with creating an image encryption algorithm to resist image modifications that social networks carry out on photos. It was thanks to my internship that I was able to discover R&D software processes because I was involved at each step: research on paper, programme implementation, writing progress reports, and establishing a proof of concept. On a technical level I trained myself on more specific areas of cryptography which we hadn’t studied in depth during the Masters. I was also able to discover what a thesis actually is and that’s why I decided to study for one after my internship.

What is your current job?

I’m a Cryptography Engineer at the French Directorate General of Armaments’ Information Control Defence Agency in Bruz (Brittany). One of my goals is to develop new cryptography algorithms to secure the French Ministry of Armed Forces’ equipment.

Was it easy to find employment?

I found a job in the cryptography sector and started immediately after my thesis. In general, cybersecurity employment opportunities are high and this includes the Rennes region. Looking for a job in cryptography applied mathematics is trickier in the Breton industrial sector, though there are a few companies in Rennes in this field.

Why are you so enthusiastic about cybersecurity?

What I really love about this sector is the diverse nature of our work and the fact that it is constantly changing: there’s no time to be bored. I learn something new every day and that’s really rewarding!

Do you have any advice for students?

Go even further than what you learn in the programme. For example, I would encourage students to:

  • source, for themselves, and read science reviews about subjects that interest them;
  • attend or watch online seminars/conferences; and ask questions: specialists/researchers (professors, supervisors, tutors).
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