Dan Summers, a former postman who now works for the Royal Mail as an information security specialist, has described his career break as being 'like a fairytale'.
Summers won the UK Cyber Security Challenge in March, beating 25 finalists to prizes worth £37,000. During the challenge one of his jobs was as a Christmas temporary postman. Summers accepted his new Royal Mail job after mentoring from the company.
"It does seem like a fairytale, going from being a postman to information security," Summers told ZDNet UK on Friday.
The Royal Mail Group (RMG) would not have recognised Summers' potential without the Cyber Security Challenge, RMG chief information security officer Vincent Hughes told ZDNet UK.
"Dan wouldn't have been discovered inside the Royal Mail Group in this way," said Hughes.
Hughes said that he doubted any one organisation could run a wide series of competitions such as the Cyber Security Challenge single-handedly.
"[RMG] couldn't afford the investment, the time, and probably wouldn't have the expertise," said Hughes.
Organisations as diverse as the Office of Cyber Security & Information Assurance, PricewaterhouseCoopers, QinetiQ, Sophos, HP Labs, Science Applications International Corporation, Cassidian and the Sans Institute have sponsored the Cyber Security Challenge.
Summers has had a series of training opportunities. First prize included an Open University course; memberships to the British Computer Society and Institute of Information Security Professionals; and exams from the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers (Crest).