Daniel Sibthorpe is a graduate of the University of Portsmouth’s on-campus MSc in Cybercrime and Counter Fraud and Corruption. He works in the National Forensic Services team at Crowe UK, an accountancy and risk advisory firm.
We chatted to Daniel about studying Cybercrime with Portsmouth, including what motivated him to choose this area of study, how his course is impacting his current work and where he sees his cybercrime career going in the future.
Tell us about your academic studies and career so far?
Initially I attended the University of Portsmouth to study Psychology as an undergraduate student, which is what developed my interest and understanding of criminal behaviors and crime prevention in general. I had already decided that I wanted to continue my studies, and this interest in crime prevention is what led me to exploring potential postgraduate degrees. I chose the University of Portsmouth for my MSc degree because I was aware of the quality of teaching, the topics included in the curriculum and the city in general.
When I finished my MSc in Cybercrime and Counter Fraud & Corruption I was fortunate enough to gain an internship at the Cabinet Office as part of their Fraud and Error team. I then completed a second internship at Crowe UK where I was offered a job full time and have remained for the last 2 years.
The focus of my work in the National Forensic Services team at Crowe UK involves fraud investigation and cybercrime prevention. My everyday tasks vary from advising clients on issues concerning their cyber security, to analysing data for a fraud investigation, to writing articles and conducting research for marketing purposes.
Why did you choose to study Cybercrime rather than Cybersecurity?
I had always been interested in cybercrime and cyber security in general, but less so in the more technical side. Also, my undergraduate degree in BSc Psychology meant my background and interests were more aligned with the topics from the MSc Cybercrime curriculum.
The MSc in Cybercrime provided an ideal platform for understanding cyber security in basic terms, rather than delve into too much detail regarding the technical side of things. At the start I was a little concerned that I would be out of my depth, given I had very little knowledge of the technical side of cyber security. However, I was happy to learn that a lot of the students on the course had different backgrounds that did not necessarily involve cyber security.
Though some students had a technical background, I never felt overwhelmed as a lot of us were starting from the same level of knowledge. There was also a great mix of students from different age groups, from students who had just finished their undergraduate degree, to students returning to university after several years.
Daniel Sibthorpe on his graduation day at Portsmouth
What knowledge and skills did you learn on the course that you’re finding beneficial in your current work?
The main benefit from the course that I am applying to my current work is being able to explain more advanced cyber terms in plain English to clients who have little to no understanding of cyber security. The report writing has also been essential for when I have been investigating cases of fraud or reporting on cyber vulnerabilities of an organisation.
In what way did the Cybercrime course open career opportunities for you? Where do you see your career going in the future?
The MSc Cybercrime and Counter Fraud and Corruption put me in a much better position when applying for jobs. Being able to explain topics concerning cybercrime in plain English has been a major advantage and crucial part of my work. The course also gave me the opportunity to work out the topics I was most interested in and wanted to pursue further.
Every day is different as cybercrime and fraud continue to evolve, so I see myself continuing in this industry for a long time to come. I would urge undergraduates to do an MSc in Cybercrime with Portsmouth, as it has opened so many doors for me.
The University of Portsmouth is offering a part-time, online MSc in Cybercrime to help you gain the skills needed to meet the demand for experienced cybercrime researchers and investigators. There are three start dates a year for this flexible course – January, May and September: