Computer Science Personal Statement
My primary interest is cyber security however the reason I am choosing computer science as my degree rather than a standalone cyber security course is because of the way it correlates with cyber security.
In order to get a strong understanding of how to protect information on a computer system you need to first fully understand how that system operates from the highest level of user interaction, to the lowest level of machine code unseen by most people.
My keen interest in cyber security resulted in me learning many different things such as numerous programming languages, data structures and operating systems. My most comfortable programming languages I know would be C, which I use to create binary programs with weaknesses to potentially exploit, Python to create the exploits for said binaries as well as create scripts to automate tasks within a system.
Binary exploitation also requires you to understand how a program works when decompiled into assembly, because of this I taught myself a reasonable amount of assembly to understand the way a program works at the lowest level.
When learning my Computer Science and ICT A-Levels I would apply a security focused mindset, for example, when my computer science teacher was showing an example of SQL used with a website I demonstrated how SQL injection could be used to get unauthorised access to data.
When first introduced to computers I was always interested in creating my own programs and understanding how they work, however my views have changed overtime and now when confronted with a program or system, I think ‘How can I break this to gain control?’, or ‘How can I get this program to output something it shouldn’t?’.
A recent accomplishment related to both Computer Science and Cyber Security that I am especially proud of is my participation in the extracurricular programme ‘Cyber Discovery’, where I was invited to take part in a competition in London because I was one of the 170 out of 23,000 students who were considered to take part in the final event based on my knowledge and skills shown throughout the programme.
Solving a single challenge during the event would take many hours of researching, developing an exploit and testing it, but the satisfaction gained when you see your hard work pay off and the exploit complete successfully never ceases to amaze.
The event as a whole taught me many things from simple programming practises to increase the security of a program, but also helped me develop much stronger logical thinking, problem solving and also how to properly decompose a problem.
Another major interest of mine is language, specifically Korean. I have been teaching myself for around a year and have developed a reasonable amount of proficiency in this time.
Learning a language can be difficult especially when trying to find suitable resources online, because of this I recently decided to use my knowledge of programming to create an online application for language students to help each other. This also gave me a reason to learn new web technologies including the MEAN stack, which is the backbone for this project.
During my time at University I wish to meet like minded individuals passionate in both computer science and cyber security and hope to participate in cyber security competitions as a team. I also hope to fully expand upon my current self-taught cyber security knowledge with higher level Computer Science resources.
After my time at university I will pursue a career in IT, more specifically as a cyber security practitioner and I am certain that the knowledge gained and the challenges overcome whilst doing a degree in computer science will help immensely.
Not sure if I was too technical... I will be applying for courses with foundation years because I was a big dumb-dumb and did poorly in my A-Levels.