Meet Mattia Iraci

Tell us about your career path so far and your current role.

My journey in the IT field began at the young age of 13, when I started assisting friends and family with their tech needs. By fifteen, I was certain that IT was my calling.

I opted not to complete university, as I was already gaining practical experience in helpdesk roles and wanted to transition into system administration. I found a Helpdesk position that offered growth opportunities, which I preferred over continuing to pursue my university education.

From there, I progressed to a network administrator role. I also had a brief but enriching stint as an IT manager in Africa, where I managed the entire IT department and navigated diverse cultural dynamics.

When I moved to Australia, I joined a managed service provider, which honed my skills in effective project management. This is where I began exploring cybersecurity which eventually brought me to my current position at Shell Energy.

Did you have a role model or mentor who supported you when you first started your career and what was the impact of that?

Reflecting on my early career, I was fortunate to have a mentor who profoundly influenced my journey into IT. At the age of 10, while living in Italy, I formed a connection with a colleague of my mother’s. We became good friends, and we often spent time together.

He generously shared his knowledge, guiding me through technical challenges and nurturing my burgeoning interest in IT. His dedication to programming, marked by long hours and late nights, served as both an inspiration and a cautionary tale. Observing his work ethic, I realised that the programmer’s life was not for me — I desired balance and time for personal pursuits.

Thus, he became a role model in an unconventional sense. His example steered me away from programming and towards roles that aligned with my lifestyle goals, leading me to embrace opportunities in help desk support and eventually system administration.

What is it like to work here, and how would you describe our culture?

The company culture is one that actively seeks to develop its employees even if the roles are different to what they are performing today.

This forward-thinking approach is exemplified by the company’s willingness to prepare employees for not just the next step in their career, but several steps ahead. Just recently, I was reassured in a meeting that the company is ready to support my growth and training for future positions, ensuring that when the time comes, I’ll be ready to seize the opportunity.

What impact have you made, or do you hope to make in your role?

In my role, I aspire to foster a heightened awareness of both personal and organisational security, as well as privacy. I used to use the same password everywhere without a second thought about the implications. However, in my previous role when I was asked to educate others about cyber security, I decided I should lead by example.

This prompted me to delve deeper into the field of cyber security, transforming my own habits to better serve and guide others. My goal is to ensure that the impact I make is one of lasting, positive change in the way we approach cyber security and privacy.

What’s your take on our approach to flexible working and how does it support you?

I personally love working from home. The flexible working policy allows me to work both in the office and at home which is something I greatly appreciate. The tranquility of my home office allows me to concentrate without the usual office distractions. This setup not only enhances my productivity but also eliminates the commute, freeing up more time for personal activities after work.

Any advice for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

For those aspiring to carve out a career in cybersecurity, my advice is to start with the fundamentals. Begin by mastering troubleshooting, a skill typically honed through help desk experience. Understanding how to effectively resolve technical issues lays the groundwork for more advanced knowledge.

Next, familiarise yourself with network operations, as this is essential for systems administration and develop your project management abilities. This includes learning to break down large tasks into smaller, manageable parts and keeping a clear vision of your objectives.

Once you’ve built a solid foundation, explore specialised cybersecurity training platforms. There are many free resources out there such as TryHackMe | Cyber Security Training to help you work out whether it’s something you’d like to pursue. Cybersecurity’s importance is only growing, so those with robust IT and cybersecurity skills will remain in demand. However, the most vital attribute isn’t technical – it’s your attitude. Adopt a learner’s mindset and be open to continuous learning. Excellence in cybersecurity isn’t just about knowledge; it’s about the willingness to grow and adapt.

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