After a successful year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stéphane returned to France to become a CTO, a CISO, an entrepreneur, and a security consultant. We invite you to discover his career path through this portrait.
Stéphane has loved computers since he was a child. What made him fall in love? His first viewing of the movie WarGames tells the story of a young hacker who, despite himself, infiltrates a U.S. Army computer developed to predict the outcome of a nuclear war. “The hero of the film is very young. His school is equipped with a modem. He starts by changing his grades and then manages to connect to an army computer and almost starts a nuclear war. It hooked me. That kind of movie inspired me; I wanted to learn to code too. I started with an Amstrad CPC 464”, recalls Stéphane.
At 18, the young man was faced with a difficult choice: pursue a university degree in computer science or turn to medicine, a career choice that interested him just as much. “I would have liked to become a neurosurgeon, but I guess the geek side won out,” he smiles. With his diploma in computer science in hand, he flew to Boston: to the prestigious American university of MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“After my first diploma, I was having a hard time finding a job in cybersecurity. A friend in Boston told me about a master’s degree in computer security, which didn’t exist anywhere else, and which was exclusively for people who were already working. I didn’t hesitate,” says Stéphane. He took out a student loan and moved into a huge American-style campus. “Five kilometers away, there is Harvard. In the corridors, you meet Nobel Prize winners. I attended lectures given by Bill Gates or Linus Torvalds. It was surreal, a real change of scenery for a French guy like me,” he recalls.
He learned all the basics of computer security for eight months, the interconnections between networks, their different layers, and discovered the first DDoS attacks. We were in the early days of encryption, cryptography or steganography, the art of hiding information in images or messages,” he explains.
The only downside? English, that Stéphane only speaks a little. If initially, it was complex to understand the lessons, he improved quickly. He adds: “At MIT, students come from all over the world, so culturally it’s very enriching. I learned a lot about other customs and ways of seeing the world.
Stéphane began his career as CTO for MadWin, an online game publisher. “It was very intense, a real start-up atmosphere. We started at 9 am and finished in the middle of the night. My mission was to determine the company’s technological choices. We realized that some players were trying to cheat. To avoid this, we had to be on the cutting edge of security,” explains Stéphane.
Although his career path was rather technical, he quickly turned to consulting and carried out numerous missions as a CISO (Chief information security officer), notably for a pharmaceutical laboratory and a bank.
He then started his own company. “At the time, starting with the technical side to become a consultant was the classic pattern. For me, it was essential to have a solid foundation in IT: I had to understand the experts and know what I was talking about to be credible,” he says. The company Stéphane launched is specialized in security consulting and application development. He will even produce video tutorials, sold in DVD form, to teach how to code. If the company is successful, Stéphane wishes to find a better balance between private and professional life. He became CTO again before joining Orange Cyberdefense.
In April 2018, Stéphane became a security consultant at Orange Cyberdefense. He is in charge of CISO missions. Very quickly noticed, after only a year and a half of seniority, he is promoted to consultant manager.
At Orange Cyberdefense, the more experience a consultant has, the more levels he/she reaches from junior to senior and finally “principal”. Once this last rank is reached, he chooses several paths: expertise, management… or both. Stéphane, who joined the entity as a senior consultant, has decided to move into a management position while specializing in cloud-related issues.
To do this, he followed a management training course, which ends with an assessment. He explains: “It’s a presentation in front of judges. I presented an analysis on a subject of my choice to about ten people: from HR to my hierarchy and managers from other business units.
Today, his day-to-day work is divided between client assignments, developing his knowledge of the cloud – he is part of a task force on the subject – and recruiting for one of the French Consulting and Audit team. “The human side is essential for me: I’ve always been keen to develop the skills of my team members,” he says. What does he like most about his job? “The constant learning and the diversity of the missions. In cybersecurity, you never get bored.
Stéphane is not only interested in IT. He has always had a passion for rugby. He has been a player, an educator, notably at the Castres Olympique school, a club he still supports today. “I have always followed the news related to rugby. After the matches, I was very active on social networks. At the time, I was hosting a podcast on technology, so I started with two friends to create a second one on rugby,” he explains. He appreciates most in this sport: respect – instilled in players from a young age – fighting spirit, team spirit, and tactics. Values that he also finds in IT. “When you launch a project, everyone advances with the same goal; solidarity and mutual aid are essential,” he says.
While his podcast has ended in 2019, Stephane continues to create content for his YouTube channel dedicated to 3D printing. “I’ve always been attracted to the Do It Yourself spirit. When I launched my YouTube channel, I asked French companies to lend me a 3D printer. The company Dagoma did it. I set it up myself and printed my first object: a key ring. It fascinated me; I was hooked.
He explains how to use 3D printing in everyday life on his YouTube channel, including printing replacement parts for broken equipment. Stéphane also uses his 3D printer to help members of the e-Nable association, specializing in the 3D manufacture of prostheses for children born with disabilities. Brut info (a French media) made a report on this initiative.
“A prosthesis costs thousands of euros. Not all families can afford it. With a 3D printer, the cost is 50 euros, which allows us to help a maximum number of children,” he concludes.
We are always looking for talent! Choose from a wide range of exciting jobs across our many topics and regions.
You find a number of these job opportunities on our Careers page. Have a look and maybe we'll meet in the team of security heros, building a safer digital society soon!Check job opportunities