Caroline Caton is helping shape Bermuda’s financial technology approach through her internship at the Bermuda Government.
The 19-year-old from Pembroke has worked on a multitude of projects concerning cybersecurity, digital commerce and cyber awareness with the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation.
Throughout the past year, she has worked as the lead writer and editor of the 2017-18 IT Career Guide, helped draft a cybertips workshop curriculum and helped develop the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation’s 2018 Student Survey, which was used to help build a curriculum for Bermuda’s 2018 Digital Leadership Conference.
Her accomplishments garnered recognition from the University of Ontario’s Institute of Technology, her alma mater, and the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation, which named her a “Rising Star in ICT”.
As the daughter of a computer specialist, Caroline took interest in computers at a young age, seeing programming as “a simple solution to complex problems”.
Working with computers became a career goal by the time she reached middle school.
She said: “I had this really amazing IT teacher who kind of showed me the benefits of how IT can progress you professionally.”
Caroline, soon to start her third year of university, has greatly attributed the experience to developing her programming, cybersecurity and computer architecture skills.
While she recognises that computer sciences are a male-dominated field, recalling that many of her classes had around six men for every one woman, she appreciates the support of female colleagues.
“You feel a little outnumbered, but I find that, because it’s such a small community, most women are supportive of each other. “There’s a really nice camaraderie there because we all think, ‘hey, we’re outnumbered, let’s band together’.”
Caroline is working as a government intern with an all female team of four. They work with experts from abroad through BDA’s Fintech Department and are currently exploring the benefits of blockchain for businesses.
Caroline believes the shift towards fintech could inspire young Bermudians to get involved with computers.
“I know ConnecTech does coding classes for students already and I think that’s going to be expanding,” she added.
Caroline also stressed the importance of cybersecurity and understanding basic computer skills.
She said: “With such a small island I think people don’t think that there’s ever going to be a threat to us because we’re just this little island and we’ll be left alone, but I think, with the more promise we get globally with this tech industry, I think we do have to be careful with cyber threats.”
Caroline will develop her understanding of cloud computing, cryptography and security systems in her remaining university years. She plans to finish school in 2020 with a degree in networking and IT security and a business minor in operations management.
The intern expressed her interest in computers by saying: “I constantly want to keep learning and developing knowledge and I think IT is the one industry that constantly updates every year so you’re never bored. There’s always something new to learn, there’s always something more interesting out there.”
She also said that those who are curious about computers can find resources outside of college, adding: “You can go online and learn how to code, or go on to Khan Academy for step-by-step guides or local programmes.
“Do your own research and try and find an area that you’re interested in, then see what skills are beneficial for that area and try and develop those.”
• UPDATE: This story originally said incorrectly that Caroline Caton is working as an intern at the Bermuda Business Development Agency. It has been amended to say she is an intern at the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation. We apologise for the error.