Meet Phil

Retired high school teacher, Phil Penrose, returned to university to further his computing skills by crossing over into the areas of security and digital forensics. Phil chose to enrol part-time on the MSc Advanced Security & Digital Forensics course, getting access to the unique online and blended learning materials, while also attending some classes on campus.

Phil at graduation

“Edinburgh Napier is without doubt the premier institution in the fields of computer security and digital forensics” 

I was first involved with computers back in the 1960s before I did a BSc in Mathematics. After this I spent 30 years teaching Maths and Computing at secondary school. When I retired, I had the time to indulge my interest in all things computing. I had taught generations of pupils how to find their way around computer systems and networks, but technology moves fast, and I thought that it was time to update my skills and knowledge. When I saw Bill Buchanan being interviewed about the new course on TV I immediately thought that this was exactly the content that I was looking for, and so I applied to study the MSc Advanced Security & Digital Forensics course. 

Edinburgh Napier is without doubt the premier institution in the fields of computer security and digital forensics. It is still one of the best masters courses and has been acknowledged by its accreditation by the National Cyber Security Centre and by being awarded the Best Cyber Education Programme at the 2019 Scottish Cyber Awards. Also, the course could be taken part-time, distance learning or a mixture of the two which suited my needs perfectly. 

“Every module was relevant to current industry practice and were truly interesting.” Phil Penrose with an award

The first thing that struck me was the quality of the course materials. They were outstanding both in content and in presentation. The same applied to the practicals. Every module was relevant to current industry practice and were truly interesting. 

I did most of my study in a distance learning mode since it is a six-hour bus journey from my home to Edinburgh. Nevertheless, I tried to attend two lectures and two practicals once a fortnight. Luckily lectures were on consecutive days and an overnight stay in a hostel allowed me to socialise after practicals as well.  

During my time at Edinburgh Napier University I was part of the ENUSEC (Edinburgh Napier University Security Society). The activities arranged by ENUSEC are always both educational and entertaining. A must do for any computing student. I learned so much from fellow students at the events 

Since finishing my course at university, my masters dissertation was published in a leading journal and I was offered a PhD studentship to continue my research. The University created a ‘spin out’ company to further develop my PhD work. Cyan Forensics has since become a leading tech company in the field of digital forensics and won “Best Cyber Start-up” in the Scottish Cyber Awards in 2018. 

“The Advance Security & Digital Forensics course equips students with the skills and knowledge required for a career in cyber security.” 

I would absolutely recommend this course to other students. It equips students with the skills and knowledge required for a career in cyber security. The course is well regarded by employers and is NCSC accredited. If you are interested in cyber security and have some prior learning in the areas of computing and networking, then you will find this course ideal.

Cyan Forensics

Phil's independent study for his dissertation in Digital Forensic Triage led to a publication, onto a PhD, and subsequently to a successful spin-out company Cyan Forensics, who's Triage software is used by almost every Police Force in the UK.