Digital Defender: An Interview with Sherin Sarah Varghese

Think EY is home to auditors only?

Well, think again, as EY teams span four service lines: Assurance, Consulting, Strategy and Transactions, and Tax. Today we have with us EY Cybersecurity Consultant Sherin Varghese, who is here to share about her experience landing the role in a “Big Four” professional services firm.

Helping clients to protect their digital assets

As a consultant, Sherin’s work revolves around helping clients perform cybersecurity risk assessments and audits on Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) systems and developing cybersecurity risk management frameworks, policies, standards, and guidelines based on NIST, ISO, IEC and other international standards.

“These allow us to assess the cybersecurity posture in the client’s environment and improve their readiness to protect against, detect, respond to and recover from cybersecurity incidents,” she explains.

On client engagements, Sherin also supports senior colleagues and managers in preparing proposals and pitch decks. Her diligence and effort have not gone unnoticed; Junyu Lee, Sherin’s work supervisor and Director of Cybersecurity, has glowing words for Sherin.

“Aside from being an excellent team player, she displays leadership potential, proactiveness, responsibility and a relentless commitment to quality in her work. She has also gone the extra mile to take on our skill development program, EY Badges, to strengthen her technical knowledge and skill sets, in order to deliver exceptional service.”

The respect goes both ways, as Junyu played a huge part in Sherin’s decision to join EY. She recalls how the director addressed his Operational Technology (OT) team as a “family” during her interview, and how engaged all three interviewers were during the process.

“They asked relevant and better questions, and it turned out to be the best interview experience I ever had. There and then, I knew this was definitely the place I wanted to grow and thrive with.”

Sherin honed her cybersecurity skills at the Singapore campus of James Cook University (JCU), where she pursued the Bachelor of Information Technology. This was a decision she had made after consulting IT professionals and learning about the advancements in the IT field. The two-year full-time degree offered modules that caught her interest—Data Mining, Design Thinking and Network Security in particular—and entitled her to memberships with two professional bodies: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Singapore Computer Society (SCS). She particularly enjoyed the Data Mining and Network Security modules taught by Dr. Kisenchand Ranai, whose classes were engaging and challenging.

“The modules he taught were my favourite, and after graduating I was determined to find roles focusing on either data analytics or cybersecurity”.

Sherin enjoyed a vibrant student life at JCU. She shares how she took on membership and leadership positions in various student clubs and societies, and how she really enjoyed the university’s multicultural environment that helped “develop [her] teamwork skills, interpersonal communication and … [her] understanding of technological growth”.

Most importantly, JCU encouraged Sherin to aim for greater heights.

“The range of modules offered through the Bachelor of Information Technology prepared me to face the challenges of the working world,” Sherin enthuses.

“For example, we were exposed to two-day sprint sessions as part of the Design Thinking and Project Management module, where the lecturer grouped us along with our seniors. Stepping out of my comfort zone, my team and I were able to present innovative mobile app ideas including an e-commerce platform for airlines and healthcare for the elderly.”

Sherin also shares a particularly impactful encounter she had with the Campus Dean, Professor Abhishek Singh Bhati during a Dean’s List ceremony.

“I was disappointed to have missed the mark the previous term—hence I told myself I have to work extra hard to make the list again—which I did,” Sherin recalls. “When I went up to collect my certificate, Professor Abhishek shook my hand and said he was happy to see me again and hoped that I would continue to stay on the Dean’s List until I graduate.”

“I was taken by surprise as there would be 60 to 70 students from all the faculties receiving Dean’s List certificate every trimester. Not only did Professor Abhishek recognise me, but he also remembered the number of times I made it to the Dean’s List.”

This touched Sherin greatly, and she did not let Professor Abhishek down. In fact, Sherin graduated with six Dean’s List certificates under her belt, and a wealth of IT knowledge she’s currently making good use of at EY in Singapore!

When we asked Sherin for advice for individuals currently studying Information Technology, or are interested in Information Technology, this is what she had to say:

“Actively look out for opportunities to broaden your skills such as internships, workshops or earning certifications. The technological field is vast, so stay on your toes and stay curious.”

We couldn’t have put things any better ourselves and wish Sherin a fruitful career at EY in Singapore!

 

This article was written with the help of the Singapore campus of James Cook University. Keen to explore the world of Information Technology? Catch their course preview webinar today!

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