Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

National Apprenticeship Week: Meet Shammas Hanif

February 7, 2023

6-12 February marks National Apprenticeship Week in the UK. This week we’ll be showcasing and celebrating our apprentices around the business.

We sat down with Shammas Hanif, Security Consultant Apprentice to find out more about what brought him to Cisco.

What drew you to the Cisco Apprenticeship programme?

I have never been an individual who was interested in going down the traditional route of university, I knew that I wanted to do something that would involve me being hands-on. I knew that Cybersecurity was where I wanted to be. After this realisation, I began to actively search for degree apprenticeship programs which would in turn allow me to be hands-on as well as receive the qualifications I would need for the future.

As part of my search, I came across Cisco (to be honest with you I wasn’t sure what they did at the time) but after a bit of researching I discovered that Cisco was a global organisation that covered a wide range of technology architectures – including Security!

I guess one key factor that drew me to the program was the ability to rotate around the business which was completely unique in comparison to any other program I had seen. In turn, this has allowed me to gain experiences across IT, Sales, CX and Marketing giving me not only a broader understanding of the business but skills for life as well.

Advice for anyone wanting to apply?

My honest advice is don’t focus too much on the smaller details of your career. You’re young and have time, use it to learn what’s best for you. Don’t rush into anything. Instead gauge a rough idea of what fascinates/interests you and from there you can decide where you want to go, remember you’re never locked into a role so feel free to explore.

I would recommend perhaps finding online courses, work experience or even workshops/events that align with your interests to give you a flavour of the industry and from there you can make a decision.

Another piece of advice is I would highly recommend using LinkedIn, to find people who are in job roles that interest you – see their career journey. And even reach out to see if they would be willing to have a 20 min coffee chat (most people are) but remember not to feel too disheartened if they don’t get back to you either.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Good question, hopefully still in Security. Doing what, I’m not sure to be honest with you – technology is such a fast-changing environment, anything can happen!

But if I had to say I would love to have gained experience in Red teaming and using that knowledge to consult customers on how to stay safe from threats.

Also, would be pretty cool to have explored the blue team side of security as well. But we shall see.

As I always tell people as long as you’re enjoying what you are doing, you can’t ask for anything else.

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