Cristof Kaufmann works in the Customer Security team at PostFinance, and Silvan Scholer in IT security. What unites them is their shared interest in security, and the fact that they learned a lot of what they need for their current roles on the job. They were both open to taking on a new challenge. PostFinance was likewise open to their applications and to taking on two new novices without significant/appropriate work experience in the field. Cristof Kaufmann and Silvan Scholer explain how this all came about.
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Customer and IT security: a win-win situation for new talent and employer alike.
It isn’t easy to find promising new talent in specialist fields. However, with a bit of openness, willpower and commitment, everyone can emerge as winners. The examples of Cristof Kaufmann and Silvan Scholer go to show that PostFinance also takes some unconventional approaches to recruitment.
Cristof Kaufmann: “For me as a mathematical engineer fresh out of uni, this was the perfect opportunity.”
“In February 2019, I completed my master’s degree as a mathematical engineer at the ETH Lausanne, went travelling, did my military service and decided that I wanted to start working in October 2020. A colleague who works for PostBus drew my attention at the time to the position of cryptographer with PostFinance. I was first drawn to this field back when studying for my master’s, and I’m actually also a cryptologist in the Swiss Army. So I decided to apply, and it all worked out. I recall thinking at the time that I didn’t have all the skills the job required – except for a logical mindset and a structured approach to working. After all, the job is perhaps 5 % mathematical/technical work, whereas the rest concerns processes, regulations and the like. I actually felt very supported by my manager, Stephan Zimmermann, from the outset, and I was given a lot of help along the way so I could start my professional life working here – despite the fact I was fresh out of uni. Of course, with my qualifications I had a lot of options available to me. Yet this position with PostFinance was the perfect opportunity for me. For one thing because this financial institution is a company I believe in, and for another because I get to gain practical experience in the field I’m particularly passionate about. In addition to my previous position as Security Officer, I have now also taken on the role of Security Compliance Officer. My goal over the course of the next two years (I’ll be 30 by then) is to gain enough expertise in the field of cryptography to be a key asset in this sector.”
Silvan Scholer: “I spent the first six months having to google what everyone else was talking about.”
“In autumn 2018, I applied for a trainee programme with PostFinance, albeit not in marketing, which I would have been academically qualified for, but in IT security. The subject just fascinated me. I was accepted, and after six months as a trainee in this area, I asked to extend my traineeship by another six months. I was determined to remain in IT security because I spent the first six months having to google what everyone else was talking about. Over the next six months, I wanted to be more of an active contributor. My manager, Adrian Wiesmann, recommended around 1,500 pages of material to read up on the subject. This is normally aimed at people looking to obtain Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification. I got stuck in, even organized an internal study group, and managed to get the certification. Since February 2020, I have been working full-time as a Security Analyst at PostFinance. Big companies don’t always give newcomers an opportunity like this to make a career shift by recruiting them. I think the fact that PostFinance gave me this opportunity, despite me coming from outside this sector, is great. I definitely came to the job with strong interest in computers. I love gaming, and later went on to build my own computers. Another thing that suits me about my role is the fact that I really like getting into the nitty-gritty of things, and trying to find explanations and being an independent thinker. Anything else I feel you can quite easily acquire if you’re motivated enough.”
Cristof Kaufmann is a Security Officer (Key Manager) and Security Compliance Officer with PostFinance. He holds a master’s degree in mathematical engineering from ETH Lausanne.
Silvan Scholer is a Security Analyst with PostFinance. After secondary school, he completed a banking apprenticeship for secondary school leavers and went on to study business administration, majoring in marketing, at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.