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Q&A: Dr Simon Placks, Ernst & Young

We speak to the head of the forensics team - and Leader Board member - about his role helping to catch the bad guys.

What was your first IT job?

I was a software developer designing helicopter radar software. This involved lots of low-level system programming harkening back to the golden age of home computing where every byte of memory was precious.

How has the world of IT changed since you first started in the sector?

Mobile technology, eCommerce and social media have transformed the way that people think about computer technology. Pervasive computing and interconnectivity has splattered data across the world and sophisticated technology is available to the non-technical specialist.

What do you think are the most important skills people wanting to enter the IT job market should have nowadays?

Programming knowledge and a thirst for understanding how things work at the lowest levels. Good communication skills are essential.

What advice would you give someone thinking of entering the IT jobs market/your younger self?

Exercise regularly and protect your neck and back get into this habit right from the start!

Make sure you're passionate about what you are doing. You're goals and objectives will change over time, so make sure you regularly take stock and have the courage to change roles or jobs when you need to. A variety of technical experience can be invaluable to an employer.

What is the biggest challenge facing IT professionals at the moment?

Protecting corporate data in a world where there is capability gap between the IT security function and hackers.

What technologies/trends are you currently watching and why?

I am very excited about Augmented Reality. Virtual reality suffered a little from flying car syndrome'. I suspect our grand-children will not be as squeamish as we are with respect to biological augmentation having a small screen fitted into the cornea will be like having your nose pierced!

Conversely, what current technology/trend are you not interested in and why?

Social media. I get it' and appreciate the technology. I just don't have time in my life for that extra level of administration. My wife is the household facebook co-ordinator.

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