Cybersecurity senior consultant Apoorv Chitray (EPITA Class of 2016) shares his success story
If there are two things that sum up the career of Apoorv Chitray (EPITA class of 2016), it is his thirst for knowledge and his optimism. This Alumnus of DNM International Master – Computer Security program tells us about his journey in EPITA and how it helps him to land a job in France.
What is your background before you studied at EPITA?
I came to EPITA in the 2014 Fall intake. Before coming to France, I obtained a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Computer Science, and then I worked as a Researcher in IIT Bombay on a project funded by the government of India for more than two years. I did my research on Open Source Technology and its widespread implementation on the Pan India level. Open Source Softwares are still in huge demand in the market. After finishing my tenure as a researcher, I’ve decided to pursue further studies overseas. I received several offers, but I chose EPITA because it enjoys a high reputation as an IT school in France. Finally, I got enrolled in the DNM International Master – Computer Security program.
How was your student experience at EPITA?
Yes, it was really good. In the beginning, it was not easy because not everyone speaks English in France. Then I started learning French, interacting with others, and understanding what was happening around me, with the help of the French language classes at EPITA.
As for the classes, EPTIA has provided key courses, such as penetration testing, network security, which are very important in the field of cybersecurity. I could therefore broaden my technical skills and knowledge. Apart from technical courses, we had courses that trained our soft skills such as project management, which helped me a lot. Currently, I am working on multiple projects in IBM France, along with leading a domain-specific one. What I learnt at EPITA can therefore be applied to real workspaces.
Today, we have more than 40 nationalities on campus. At that time, how international the learning environment was at EPITA?
There were already a variety of nationalities at that time, eight or nine as far as I remember. There are classmates coming from Australia, India, Nepal, Italy, Greece, Mexico, etc. It was a good experience to study with those people of different backgrounds.
After having finished the classes, you undertook an internship. Which company hired you? And what was your experience?
I did my internship at Randstad France. They are a global leader in HR Consulting Services. I was responsible for doing penetration testing, which is at the heart of cybersecurity. My work includes various advanced ‘cyber attacks’ which I had to perform onto their web & mobile applications to hack it and to check its robustness, and to verify if it was good enough to put the applications on the internet. We kept testing and finding the vulnerability of the applications and proposing solutions to secure them. I also got to explore some parts of PKI & Infrastructure Security during my internship.
How did you get along with your colleagues, especially French ones, during your internship?
I had made many friends there. One of them was from EPITECH. I spoke French with them. That was how I got to learn more about the French language and culture, how they speak, how they do things etc. I have had the chance to integrate with French people more during my internship phase. It has helped me a lot. I suggest students do their internship in France.
What is your professional experience after your internship?
After my internship, I worked as a Cyber Security Engineer in ISE SYSTEMS, where I took care of many projects related to penetration testing, POC’s of EDR Solutions, Cyber Defense solutions like Cyberbit, and the creation of the infrastructure.
While I was in ISE SYSTEMS, we also built our own Internal SOC (Security Operation Center), processes, and methodologies for the internal defensive capabilities and for the clients as well. Working in the core cyber security field, I have learned a lot of things during this tenure and upgraded my skills in various domains like forensics, security operations, French soft skill, etc.
Are you now working in a company, or you have created your own?
I have been working as a “Senior Consultant – Cyber Security” in IBM France for the last three years. I particularly specialize in the domains of Offensive Security and Defensive Security, and currently working for the clients in the banking and insurance industry, such as Groupama, La Banque Postale, Orange Bank, BNP Paribas, etc.
For my present client, I am holding the position of Level 3 Analyst in their CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) where we deal with cyberattacks on the defensive end and improve the threat hunting capabilities and security postures for them. Along with it, I am also leading a new project developing the Red Teaming service portfolio in IBM.
What is your future plan?
Since I have been working and gaining relevant cybersecurity experience for the past many years, I am looking forward to creating a start-up in cybersecurity, targeting India, France and the USA. People will hear about it soon.
What advice would you give to our future students and candidates?
I’ll definitely say, work on your French. This is especially very important for those who would like to work in the field of Computer Security and Information Systems Management. My second piece of advice would be to do your internship in France and be positive. If you believe that you can get one, you’ll certainly do.