After completing his BSc in Computer Security & Forensics at Edinburgh Napier, Charley decided to expand his knowledge in cyber security by continuing his studies with a masters in Advanced Security & Digital Forensics (now MSc Cyber Security).

Originally from France, Charley decided to stay on in Edinburgh because of his new found love for the city and his confidence that this course would land him his dream-job in security testing.

Charley Celice with an award

Above: Charley winning ENU Student of the year award during his masters.

“The course was spot on in terms of skills I could apply in the area I wanted to work in, which other universities didn’t really offer.”

Prior to completing the MSc Advanced Security & Digital Forensics (now MSc Cyber Security) at Edinburgh Napier University, I had just completed my honours degree in Computer Security & Forensics (now BEng Cybersecurity & Forensics) at Edinburgh Napier. I decided to complete a postgraduate degree as I was keen to gain relevant skills quickly to get a foot in the door in a job I was interested in from the start of my professional career, on top of gaining more confidence and increasing my network. 

I chose to study this course at Edinburgh Napier University as I already had a great experience of the core teaching staff and extracurricular activities I had engaged with during my undergraduate degree. The MSc is also NCSC-certified, which was quite attractive. The course was spot on in terms of skills I could apply in the area I wanted to work in (security testing) which other universities didn’t really offer. Edinburgh Napier focuses not just the technical skills but also the soft skills, which are just as important as a consultant.  

Programme support and organisation

Having done both my undergraduate and masters degrees at Edinburgh Napier, I was quite familiar with the campus and staff. I was already in a good routineGraduate student Charley Celice by the time I started studying for the masters course. If anything, I found that the programme leader for the masters was well organised and support would be provided no matter the issue, not just on campus but digitally, too. 

Whilst studying at Edinburgh Napier University, I particularly enjoyed the Penetration Testing module, which I found doesn’t just focus on technical skills. An important part of my day to day job is the reporting aspect and the teaching staff were well aware of that important skillset when developing the module.  

The dissertation is with no doubt the most challenging piece of the course. However, I found all the support I needed with my supervisors as well as with other fellow students. As an international student, support was regularly provided around academic writing, language, and presentation, which I found immensely useful. 

I earned a range of rewards, including class medals and Student of the Year 2015, and was offered the opportunity to help organise and feature in a BBC documentary. All of which wouldn’t have been possible without the support and encouragement of the core teaching staff. 

ENUSEC - Napier's Cyber Security Student Society

With the help and support of Rich Macfarlane, programme leader, I initially created, and led during my masters, the Edinburgh Napier Security Society (ENUSEC). This had such a positive influence, not only in terms of support around the course between students and staff, but also to help take a break from the studies and work which is important. The core staff often sent various challenge and competition opportunities which I pretty much jumped on at every occasion. This helped apply the skills I had learned, have some fun, and on some occasions get rewarded for it. Creating and running this society helped me a lot to boost my confidence and motivation throughout the course and is something I will be proud of for a long time.

“This is a very international city with loads to do. When I came from France to Scotland, I didn’t know anyone, but that changed quickly.”

I had a great student experience during my five years at university. Most people in Edinburgh are incredibly friendly and open. This is a very international city with loads to do. When I came from France to Scotland, I didn’t know anyone, but that changed quickly.  

I also love nature and hiking and mountaineering, and there’s so many good spots in and around Edinburgh for that. 

Upon leaving Edinburgh Napier, I did some more research and work at the university, passed professional certifications, and then went on starting a Penetration Testing career at Secarma. I initially joined as a junior tester and am now a managing consultant.  

Industry relevant teaching  

I would absolutely recommend this course, the main reasons being the core staff leading it and their will to always make sure content is up to date. I still get contacted regularly to provide professional feedback on current trends, techniques and tools,  so I know for a fact the staff there are doing their best to make sure what they are teaching is always relevant to industry.  

Having the opportunity to be part of a student-led security society full of wonderful people willing to share ideas and help each other is also a great plus.  

My advice for prospective students would be don’t isolate yourself. Jump in, make connections, get involved. Never be afraid to ask questions, either to students or staff. Make use of all the support provided, especially for the dissertation, or if you need flexibility. Reach out to alumni and staff if you’re hesitating, they’re often very approachable, and can share their experiences and advice.