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Neurodiversity is my superpower!

Nye pandemic looks
Those hot pandemic looks!

2020 didn’t bring much positivity to the world, but if lockdown had a silver lining, it’s that it enabled me to learn much more about myself. Hey, I’m Nye and I’m a Senior Cybersecurity Engineer here at Immersive Labs, and I consider myself “neurodiverse”.

Approximately 15% of the UK population is thought to also come under the umbrella of neurodiversity. This term covers a wide selection of neurological conditions, including autism, ADHD, and dyslexia, amongst others. In late 2019, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) adding to an already existing diagnosis of dyslexia and dyspraxia. Unfortunately for neurodiverse individuals like myself, the typical workforce can be a challenging place. Luckily, I’ve hit the ground running at Immersive Labs, so I’d like to share my story.

My journey with IML actually started in 2018 when I had the opportunity to demo a cool new platform from a company I’d never heard of before, some place called Immersive Labs. Before I knew it, I was smitten with the platform and its content, and I’d accrued enough points to walk away with a spot at the top of the leaderboards. 

Leaderboard Oct 2018
Leaderboard October 2018

Now this was before Community Edition was in Beta (https://www.immersivelabs.com/resources/blog/test-your-cyber-mettle-for-free-immersive-labs-community-is-now-in-public-beta/), so I thought that this demo was my only chance at experiencing the IML platform. Funnily enough I was completely wrong. I soon discovered the Digital Cyber Academy program offered by Immersive Labs – which gives students a chance to use a version of the platform for free – and almost immediately signed up! It’s not often you find good cybersecurity training content, especially for free! I signed up in October 2018, and haven’t stopped since.

Naturally, as soon as I saw that Immersive Labs were hiring for a content developer, I applied for the position. As soon as I got the opportunity to talk to some of the Content team in the interview process, I knew it was a place I wanted to be. Fortunately, they thought the same thing about me, and offered me a position.

But then, the self-doubt started creeping in. Here I was, joining a company I admired, but should I be there? Had I just tricked everyone else into thinking I should be hired? I knew about Imposter Syndrome, but definitely not affecting me… right?

My work colleague
My main colleague since the pandemic

Starting in January, I was terrified I would be found out at every turn. But, as the days went on, I was experiencing positivity, honesty, and respect instead. My colleagues were turning to me, not to call me out on my mistakes, but to ask for my honest opinion. And when I did make mistakes, I wasn’t reprimanded – instead, we had a chat on how I can avoid making the same mistakes in future. I’m not treated differently because I find written instruction easier, or judged because tasks can take me longer than others.

It’s taken me a few months at the company, but I’ve really started to think of my ADHD not as a handicap, but as a superpower. I’m energetic and spontaneous, and I can hyperfocus for hours on end without being distracted. I know I’ve still got a lot to work on, but it’s really refreshing knowing that the team at Immersive Labs always has my back.

Neurodiversity is a superpower, so let’s show it off.