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Studying at UEL made all the difference, says Maldives police deputy director of IT

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Ahmed Athif’s new found passion for ironman triathlons and endurance running is no surprise to those who know him. 

Hailing from the tropical archipelago of the Maldives, Ahmed, 34, is the deputy head of IT and Communications with the Maldives police force – and renowned for his determination and strong work ethic.

He was promoted within six months of returning from the University of East London (UEL), where he was studying UEL’s MSc Information Security and Digital Forensics.

“I started working as a network engineer with the police in 2002, making sure our IT systems met the needs of the frontline staff and were secure, but I was keen to improve my skills,” he says. 

“So I looked online to see if there was a course I could do that would benefit my career development and include my interests in security and forensics. After a bit of a search I found that UEL offered the ideal degree for me, the MSc Information Security and Digital Forensics.” 

Ahmed applied to UEL and was offered a place, along with a scholarship from his police force to fund his studies. He became the first person in his family to travel overseas to study.

He describes arriving in London in 2007 as “very different” and exciting. “I lived on the UEL Docklands campus for a term, then moved to a student flat share in Stratford. It gave me a real love of London, so I’ve made sure to come back and visit. Docklands is a beautiful location and there was lots on offer.” 

The programme offered Ahmed a range of up-to-date modules in security management, communication networks and enhancing computer analysis as well as the computing laboratories to put theory into practice. 

“The MSc was exactly what I needed,” he says. “It really helped me. Within six months of returning home to the Maldives I was promoted to deputy head of the IT and Communications directorate. My studies at UEL played a huge part in that."

The directorate, which employs 75 people working alongside 3,500 police officers and support staff, works to ensure that the Maldives has a fully computerised police service to meet the modern needs of policing. 

In 2012, Ahmed was involved in setting up the police force’s Cyber Security Operation Centre and the recent introduction of a prototype Samsung tablet for frontline police officers. 

He explains, “It means everything from licence checks to ID check and using social media can be done more effectively, saving time and giving officers the secure tools they need.”

Ahmed shows that determination hard work, and choosing the right degree can make a big difference. And what about his new found passion? 

“I’ve recently done a 24-hour non-stop run, and I completed a 100-mile run along the North Downs Way in Kent. I also recently completed a full ironman triathlon in Australia.”

Interested to find out more? Read about and apply for our  MSc Information Security and Digital Forensics