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Being Different Is Good … Help Diversity Thrive

When you look back on your life was there someone who helped you to get to where you are now? Someone who inspired you with a bit of advice? Someone who was kind and supported you? Someone who went out of their way to help you, and who only did it to help you? Someone who saw the potential in you that others did not?

For me, it was a few great teachers I was lucky enough to have been taught by. I would not be doing the job I do if it wasn’t for one of my lecturers from the past. He was so supportive in his teaching and showed such dedication to all of his students. Overall he always had the time to speak to me. And, even when I became a colleague, he was there to give me helpful advice when I was struggling with things. I basically wouldn’t be the person I am and where I am, without his kindness and support. He was my mentor when I needed it.

As every teacher knows, every single person has such potential, and the skill of the teacher is to find a way to unlock that potential and let it thrive. And, like it or not, we are all teachers … to our kids, to our colleagues, and to people around us. We stand where we are often due to someone supporting us and believing in our potential. When others might dismiss us, there will be someone, somewhere, who knows that we have greatness inside. In our careers, we should not be assessed for what people see on paper, but on the unlocked potential inside us: a passion, a drive, a dream, a goal. And we get promoted in our jobs because people see our potential, and know they can find ways to unlock it.

So what I love about my job is that I get to meet so many people who are different from the norm. They think differently. They do things that I would never expect. I suppose a university attracts people who are different and want to do things in a different way. In fact, the most amazing people I have ever met have all been different from the way we view normality. Being different is good, and brings forth new ideas and new viewpoints. I think we spend too much of our lives trying to be normal, but there’s really no such thing as normality.

A more diverse and inclusive world allows every single person to achieve their full potential. We are all different and all wonderful in our own ways.

So, do you love your work in technology and want to give something back? Do you want to change someone’s life and set them on the path to a life-changing career? Are you passionate about the change that education can have in someone’s life?

Well, we are currently setting up a mentorship scheme for the MASCOTS programme for those with neuro-diverse conditions at college/university studying cybersecurity. For this, you could perhaps you might give advice on industry practice, or on future careers?

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The time commitment may be just a few hours of useful advice, or where you could support someone through their degree. No matter, you could be a core part of defining someone’s future. The MASCOTS programme aims to provide an extensive educational framework to support neurodiversity:

If you are interested, please email Basil Manoussos to register your interest in being a MASCOTS Mentor (, or just pop me a message.

We have a careers event coming up in Feb 2021, and we want to make sure we best support everyone, from every background, and let them find that amazing job. So, please consider supporting, and don’t worry if you are on the other side of the planet … these days, we live in a small and interconnected world.

Watch this space for more details of the event.

This work is funded by Skills Development Scotland [here] within the Cyber Security Neurodiversity Skills Development Fund, and led by Edinburgh Napier University and supported by The Cyber Academy.

Professor of Cryptography. Serial innovator. Believer in fairness, justice & freedom. EU Citizen. Auld Reekie native. Old World Breaker. New World Creator.

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