Master of Cyber Security

Spying the chance

Nikolai Hampton formalised 25 years in the IT sector to become a cybersecurity expert.

by Chloe Walker

As a kid, Nikolai Hampton enjoyed mucking around with electronics kits and a Commodore 64; later on, he dropped out of an engineering degree to work full-time as a computer salesperson. Now, he has more than two decades of experience in the IT sector and since 2009 Nikolai has run a business providing software solutions to the printing industry.

In 2016, Nikolai completed his first degree – a Master of Cyber Security at Edith Cowan University (ECU).

“I wanted to formalise 25 years of industry experience with some sort of qualification,” he says, adding that ECU’s track record in cybersecurity research and the accessibility of staff were major drawcards.

Studying by distance education from his home in Brisbane, Nikolai co-authored a conference paper with his supervisor Patryk Szewczyk, which won the best paper award at the 2015 Australian Information Security Management Conference.

This came as something of a surprise to Nikolai, who was diagnosed as dyslexic in high school. “It turns out I like writing!” he says. “Writing and reading were never things I thought I’d be strong at.”

The realisation led Nikolai to start a blog, and several posts, which he published under a creative commons licence, were republished on The Conversation. Now, Nikolai is a contributor to publications like Computerworld and makes regular appearances as a media commentator on tech security issues. He’s also contemplating a PhD.

“I’d never thought about doing research. I’d never thought about doing a PhD,” he says. “That was a foreign concept to me, but it’s definitely a possibility now.”

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