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Logging into a career fighting cybercrime

Woman standing.
Megha Vaghela will graduate with a Master of Cyber Security at the Ipswich Civic Centre on Thursday, August 11.

When it comes to keeping our data and critical information safe, no challenge is too hard for Megha Vaghela. After all, it takes brains, not brawn, to fight cybercrime.

Her determination and tech smarts have landed her a job in the booming IT industry, fulfilling a dream she has had since she was a young girl.

Almost three years after leaving her home in India for Australia, Miss Vaghela is about to tick off another achievement when she becomes the first graduate of the University of Southern Queensland’s Master of Cyber Security.

Her incredible journey is one of many celebrated during graduation ceremonies at the Ipswich Civic Centre this week (August 9-11).

For Miss Vaghela, who will graduate on Thursday, choosing to study at the University of Southern Queensland was a smart move for her future.

“I did a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering back home in India, but it was always my goal to pursue a master's in a different country,” she said.

“The University of Southern Queensland was my first choice because the subjects in the cyber security course were all industry-relevant, and the lecturers have a wealth of experience.

“Despite most of my courses being moved online because of the pandemic, I still had an excellent university experience, and I'm thankful for all the opportunities and support I was given.”

Since November, Miss Vaghela has worked as a security analyst at Brisbane-based IT services provider Wyntec and cybersecurity solutions company Layer 8 Security.

“I thoroughly enjoy my job,” she said.

“I did a six-month internship with Layer 8 Security while finishing my degree, and I was over the moon when they offered me a full-time position after I completed my final assessment and capstone project.

“I get to be part of some exciting yet important programs in helping people and businesses become more vigilant of cybersecurity threats.”

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing and in-demand professions in Australia.

However, the country is still far from filling the gender gap in the sector, with women making up less than a third of the IT workforce.

“Women have a big part to play in the tech industry,” Miss Vaghela said.

“I’m fortunate I work in a very supportive team that wants to see me grow.

“My message to other girls and women interested in a tech career is to be prepared to have a go and don’t be afraid to learn new things.”

Professor Raj Gururajan was Miss Vaghela’s capstone project supervisor and said he was looking forward to seeing other students follow in her footsteps.

“Megha was a quiet achiever, but she demonstrated various technical skills and was a team player with a high level of communication skills,” Professor Gururajan said.

“During her capstone project, Megha comprehended the various issues and voluntarily visited the organisation to learn first-hand technical and non-technical issues and suggested appropriate solutions.

“Her strong work ethic and ability to communicate complex technical issues with her clients stood out.

“She is a fantastic role model for other students and a great example of how we encourage all our students to strive for excellence.”

Are you interested in starting a career in IT? Find more information about the University of Southern Queensland’s Cyber Security degrees.

Or better yet, come along to an Open Day event on August 14 (Springfield and Ipswich campuses) and August 21 (Toowoomba campus).