Sutapa Sarkar

Staying one step ahead of the malicious hackers

With a master’s degree in chemistry, Sutapa was predestined to become a scientist rather than a ‘friendly hacker’ at a bank. But she found her destiny and is perfectly happy as a security engineer.

Sutapa: “Me working here, in a technical role at a bank in the Netherlands, was not what I expected when I was studying in university in my homeland India. But the campus recruiters of different software companies, in their quest for technically skilled people, decided to interview students from the chemistry department and there I went! My first job was with a consultancy company. In 2013, I was asked to travel to the Netherlands for the company I was working for back then. After a couple of years, I joined ING as an operations engineer, specialised in performance testing.”

Never shy away from a challenge

“My development as a ‘techie’ took a flight, because I never shy away from a challenge. After a few years as an Ops engineer, in which I tasted all aspects of this role, I was ready for the next step. When I heard about the work of ING’s security engineers, I was immediately hooked. What an interesting world to explore!’

Perseverance and hard work

“As I hardly had any knowledge nor any experience in the security domain, I needed all my perseverance to get off to a good start. I worked super hard to learn the technical basics of security engineering, and worked hard to obtain a certification deemed as the golden certification in the world of security (CISSP), an exam which only half of the participants pass the first time.”

Good against bad hackers

“Me and my colleagues are the good hackers, who protect ING’s applications against the bad ones. Our daily work is to try to break into our apps - before they go to production, of course - and to acquire admin rights - if possible. We thus help the DevOps teams to build secure software, inform and educate them about secure software development lifecycle. Together, we stay one step ahead of the malicious hackers.”

A rewarding yet schizophrenic job

This job is a rewarding, albeit somewhat schizophrenic one: you don’t want to discover any security breaches because that means something’s wrong, on the other hand you do, because of your hacker instinct. Fortunately, my ‘solver instinct’ always prevails. Let’s tackle the problems and repair the leaks!”

Big changes

“A lot has changed in the last few years. Not only did I make the professional step of my dreams, I also got married and became mother of a baby boy. Another dream come true! I still work full-time but partly from home, which works very well for this job. Also, for all the other ‘working-parent-related’ changes, ING has been really supportive.”

About Sutapa

Sutapa, originally comes from India. Work brought her to The Netherlands, her job at ING and love made her stay. She loves travelling and photography is one of her passions. She is an enthusiastic cook, exploring Indian and other cuisines. Besides, she is a big movies fan, especially of Marvel movies. She and her husband have a baby boy.

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