Blog post -
MySwitch2Cyber: Sales Operations to Cyber Security Program Manager
In the next instalment of our MySwitch2Cyber blog, our talent attraction team sat down with Rachel Erskine to hear about her 10 year NCC Group journey and switch from a career in Sales Operations to becoming a Cyber Security Program Manager.
Hey, I‘m Rachel and I’m a Program Manager based out of NCC Group’s Atlanta office and I’m sharing my story about how I switched careers and made the move into cyber security at NCC Group.
I’ve been with NCC Group for coming up on 10 years, so the move to our cyber division was an interesting one to say the least!
I began my career with the company in Manchester (UK) as a Sales Rep in the Software Resilience division back in July 2013. I joined with a Psychology degree, a passion to build relationships and a desire to pay off my student debts as quickly as possible!
During my time in the Manchester office, I held a number of direct sales and (eventually) managerial positions; in the end supporting the divisions’ Global Accounts Team to achieve their aggressive sales targets through proactive account management and client engagements.
In 2018, I was asked to relocate to Atlanta to support and drive the US growth strategy as outlined by our CEO! It was an opportunity I absolutely could not pass up, and one that truly changed my life!
While in Atlanta, I recruited new sales reps; trained existing teams and supported (from a sales operation’s perspective) the largest acquisition in the division’s history.
It was safe to say by this point I had learnt a lot about NCC Group and the Software Resilience division on both sides of the Atlantic, but I knew I needed to expand my industry knowledge in order to make a wider impact.
So, I became an active member of the Technology Association of Georgia; regularly attending industry networking events and cyber security discussions in the local area. In doing so, I felt more connected to our clients and their needs. It opened my eyes to how we could better support them, but it also opened my eyes to projects NCC Group were already involved in … but on the other side of the business, in Assurance.
The Assurance division specializes in areas of cyber security I had only scratched the surface of during my 9 years within the Software Resilience arm of the business and I needed to explore this further…
In December 2021, I was able to travel back to the UK for Christmas for the first time in 2 years (after COVID travel restrictions had kept me separated) and I used some time to plan my next career move.
I knew I wanted to stay with NCC Group, and I loved the life I’d built in Atlanta, but my desire to keep learning, improving and progressing prompted me to explore options in the Assurance division.
It was in January 2022 that I discovered an open position in the Project Management Practice, and I jumped at the chance to join a team I’d heard great things about!
Being an internal candidate myself there was a strict application process that needed to be followed; this was done with the help of the recruitment team in Atlanta. I made my manager aware of my intentions to apply for the position and they were extremely supportive of me developing within the company into a role we knew would be a fantastic fit for the skills I’d honed over the years.
I successfully made it through to the final stage of the interview process, which consisted of a 2.5-hour meeting with 3 managers/directors within the practice. During this meeting I answered questions (both scenario-based and technical) and presented on a project I had previously led to demonstrate how my experience would make me an ideal fit for the role.
The interview went well, and I felt comfortable in not only answering questions from the team but asking them questions too! After 9 years in the same division, moving to a new one was a big step, and it was important to make sure I was making the right choice too.
I knew as soon as the meeting was over that this was absolutely the right next step for me, and I just hoped they felt the same. Luckily, they did, and I accepted an offer just days later!!
When my previous team learnt of my new role they were disappointed to lose me, but also excited I’d be staying with the company and could advocate for Software Resilience in a new arena.
I’ve been a Program Manager working on cyber security projects now for almost 4 months and feel like part of the furniture already. We’re constantly growing, improving and creating something remarkable, and I’m honored to be a part of it.
To anyone unsure of their next step, I say listen to your gut and make the move! To me, working in cyber is knowing you’re making a difference in a world where technology is the future and the opportunity for growth feels limitless and I am excited where my new role takes me.
This blog is the fourth of our series of career blogs ‘MySwitch2Cyber’, in which we share the inspiring stories of our colleagues who joined NCC Group at the start of their cyber security journey from diverse and non-traditional career backgrounds.
You can read the previous blog here.