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Shakeel John-Lewis


Course studied: MSc IT Security

We now offer: MSc Cyber Security

United Kingdom
NTU has great advice around MSc degrees so I spoke to career advisers who mentioned that having a Masters in a different field could be beneficial as it makes you more employable as you can draw knowledge from two fields.

More about Shakeel

NTU alum Shakeel John-Lewis initially joined NTU as a Biological Sciences student, however he soon realised that he wanted to pursue a different career path. We caught up with Shakeel to hear the inspiring story of how he changed the direction of his studies and completed a Master’s degree in IT Security.

What did you learn during your time at NTU – both inside and outside of lectures?
The short answer would be a lot. The longer answer would be that outside of lectures I learnt more about myself, other people, and the world in a sense. Being dropped off at Clifton campus in my first year and put into halls with random people was not daunting, in fact it was fun. I can happily say the people I met in my first year were my friends I carried throughout my undergraduate and my Master’s degree and even today. My favourite memories outside of lectures were fresher repping, working for the Students’ Union and their club night, Double vision 2015-2016.

I also learned that your career is not linear, which I am grateful for. I undertook a Biological Sciences degree but towards the end of the 2nd year I realised I was not enjoying my degree, nor did I want a career in this field. Fortunately, NTU has great advice around MSc degrees so I spoke to career advisers who mentioned that having a Masters in a different field could be beneficial as it makes you more employable as you can draw knowledge from two fields.

I opted to take a year break in between my undergraduate and my masters to work for the Students’ Union as the Vice President Postgraduate Officer. This allowed me to understand the Postgraduate world at NTU, make improvements before I undertook my own and think about what field I wanted to do my MSc in.

I decided to study MSc IT Security as it was still within the School of Science and Technology, so I could take some transferable skills I have learnt in my BSc and apply it to this new MSc i.e., technical writing. Also, the job market for technology jobs was rising and still is. I look back at my MSc with fond memories, every lesson was exciting as I was learning something completely knew and, in a sense, starting from scratch. In addition to this, I was living with 2 of my good friends who were also doing their masters in different fields from their BScs so there was a real comradery between us.

What does your current day involve?
As a Business Analyst at a leading medical technology company, my day is focused on liaising with key stakeholders in sales, marketing and finance departments. Through regular meetings, I endeavour to gain a comprehensive understanding of their pain points and capture their project requirements. From there I collaborate with my partners in IT to brainstorm innovative solutions using digital platforms. My daily objective is to create effective and sustainable solutions that will address the challenges faced by my stakeholders.

What attracted you to this field of work?
I set out on the path of doing a Biology degree back in 2015 as I wanted to become a scientist who helped to cure all of the diseases in the world. So, it was important to me to work for a company that is committed to improving human health and making a positive impact in the world. Thus, since leaving University I have worked for two companies, and both have been healthcare companies. Regarding the role, I am a very sociable person so my day to day involves a lot of speaking and human interaction.

What have been the highlights and biggest challenges of your career so far?
Biggest highlight was applying for the Johnson & Johnson Technology Leadership Development Program during my Master’s degree and being the only graduate they took back in 2020. This was great for me as Johnson & Johnson is the world’s largest and broadest healthcare companies in the world so for me to go straight in there as my first company after university was awesome.

My biggest challenge was opting to leave Johnson & Johnson back in 2022, as I said earlier, your career is not linear, and I would have had an amazing career at Johnson & Johnson but I wanted to see more of the world. It was a hard decision, but I opted to leave and head to a new healthcare company. Fortunately, this decision paid off and I am happier than ever at my current company.

What are your plans for the future?
I am unsure, the world of healthcare is still interesting to me but if there gets to a point where I feel comfortable and I am not learning any new content for months on end then I will pivot and go to a new industry where I can learn all over again.

If you had a time machine, what would you go back and tell yourself at uni?
The belief in yourself is justified, keep going!

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