Hi there! I’m Michelle Balestrat (but my friends just call me Miel).

I’ve been interested in computers from roughly the time I could lift my arms.

However, my interest in the web was sparked in the late nineties, when I built web pages on FrontPage 98.

From there, my relatives started to consider me the resident computer geek, and I was promptly enlisted to build and maintain e-Commerce sites, hosting and business email. Through this labour of love, I learned how to work with Linux, mySQL, PHP and a few other web development languages.

Later on, I ventured into the world of security — becoming interested in Cross Site Scripting (XSS) techniques, JS injections and directory traversal, as well as ethical hacking to locate security vulnerabilities. This gave me a firm basis in JavaScript, as well as Bash shell scripting.

The ole BSOD (circa 2013).

Let’s just say I’ve seen a vintage BSOD or two in my time 😉

I then managed to gain real-world experience in the industry, working with a team of inspiring security minds in technical support at AVG Technologies. I’ve been lucky enough to continue this streak, with my current position as a writer of security-based news, articles and reviews at Avalanche Technology Group.

Nowadays, I’m also a busy student at Monash University, completing my degree in Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering. Through the course and in my outside endeavors, I’ve been involved in projects ranging from industrial automation, biomedical applications, robotics, PLCs, MATLAB, hardware-level programming and more.

In 2013, I started ImageWrite, an affordable resume and cover letter service for students and young people. After noticing a lack of resources for inexperienced job seekers at the time, I created the service to provide not only resumes and copywriting, but also to help with the job application process — an often daunting prospect for recent school-leavers and those facing disadvantage.

When I’m not busy studying, writing or getting my code to compile, I write and perform songs in my one-woman indie act, Celiac. I’ve been penning lyrics, designing album covers, recording and mixing my own material since 2007. I also occasionally perform live shows, where I use all manner of bought and DIY MIDI controllers.