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Sarah Qureshi

Sheridan grad Sarah Qureshi

Faculty of Applied Science & Technology

Degree: Honours Bachelor of Applied Information Sciences (Information System Security)

Year of graduation: 2014

Into the Breach: How information systems security grad Sarah Qureshi helps people understand the world of cyber forensics

Ask cyber forensic analyst Sarah Qureshi what excites her about her job, and you’ll get an infectious laugh. “What doesn’t excite me about my job?” she asks. “There’s not a single dull moment. It’s a very fast-paced environment and I learn something new every day. Just this morning, I learned something that was new to me after 10 years in the field.”

Qureshi’s path began at the age of 13, when she began programming. “For me, I wanted to know how many different ways something could be broken, so to know how not to break it,” she says. “It ended up being a trial and error process for me, where I broke a lot more before I could figure out how not to break things or how to prevent them from breaking.”

Drawn to Sheridan by the prospect of a co-op program and the connection she felt to the campus environment, Qureshi was mentored by Victor Ralevich, a professor and program coordinator in the School of Applied Computing, who taught her about the future potential of security as a field. “It came very naturally to me: everything being logical, and easy to understand,” she says. Upon graduating Sheridan’s computer science technology program, Qureshi grew her co-op role into a full-time information security analyst with Atomic Energy of Canada. After getting a taste for IT security and wanting to expand her knowledge, Qureshi accepted a technical lead position at Severn Trent Water Ltd. PLC in Birmingham, England.

While overseas, Ralevich contacted Qureshi and asked her if she would take a look at the new field of study he was starting up at Sheridan: the information systems security degree program. Intrigued, Qureshi returned to Canada, working in IT development and consulting roles while completing her degree.

Today, as a cyber forensic analyst for Paladion Inc., she helps companies discover breaches and threats to their security, and deploy policies, procedures and structures to avoid further incidents. One of Qureshi’s strongest beliefs is that cyber security education should be an accessible area for everyone from technological neophyte to expert. “I think that it’s very important to be able to share information with the general public in a way that instills knowledge, not fear.” Last year, she headed up an initiative with the Peel Regional Police, Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board and Sheridan’s Applied Research Collaboration Centre to design and deliver an interactive cyber safety learning tool for children. “With the Peel Children’s Safety Village, we took that content and delivered it in an easy and digestible way that a five year old could understand,” she says.

Qureshi still refers to a lesson she learned at Sheridan from Ralevich. “He told us that we’re only starting the learning process and to not think that we’re finishing our education when we graduate,” she says. “That stayed with me and when I’m at work, I think about how this is a job where you don’t come in with everything you need to know on day one, so I don’t feel disappointed if I have to learn something new every single day.”

Learn more about the Honours Bachelor of Applied Information Sciences (Information Systems Security)
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