Updated: Jul 23
If you are starting a Cybersecurity internship soon and don't know what to expect, this blog post would give you an idea of what my internship experience was like and what you might expect.
Here's a detailed video of my experience:
I recently wrote a blog about how to get your first cybersecurity internship. That blog pretty much highlights most of the "before the internship" process for me.
You can check that blog post out here
Expanding more on my background and previous knowledge, before getting into this internship, I had just completed my freshman year of college, recently passed the CompTIA A+, was studying for the Network+ and just started my Cybersecurity homelab project. I was actually seeking IT internships/help desk positions while at the same time applying for Cybersecurity Internships.
One fateful afternoon, I received a call from a strange number who at the time unknown to me was the company's recruiter/hr rep. After picking up the phone, he introduced himself and went ahead to ask questions about my background and general interest in Cybersecurity.
The conversation went on for about 15 minutes. I introduced myself and spoke about my current education level, certifications attained & planned for as well as expressing my interest in Cybersecurity. After our conversation he said he was going to to send my resume to the hiring manager and told me to expect his call in a few days for the next stage of the process.
A few days later, I get a call back from the Recruiter and he said that after looking at my resume, the hiring manager and the team would like to schedule an interview. Excited to hear the news, I schedule the interview for the soonest possible date. In preparation for the interview, I'd stand in front of the mirror for long periods and ask myself questions and answer them. This was key for me in terms of building confidence because I had never really interviewed for a Security Internship or any internship at all. I also reached to my mentors in the Cybersecurity field and asked them for interview help and on my own did research on topics I knew little and was still learning about.
Time flew by extremely fast and it was suddenly the day of my interview. Dressed in my H&M dress shirt and black tie, topped off with my sharp navy blue blazer, I was ready to kill this interview. As an introvert, at this point I was just getting better at interviews and confidently interacting with the people who interview me. Confidence was very necessary for me and that outfit sure did give me that confidence.
After a very brief wait in the video conferencing app, I was met with a panel of interviewers and the interview began immediately. From the start, I was very confident and everything was going smoothly. I introduced myself, gave my pitch and answered most of their questions. At the end the interview turned out to be more of a conversation than a question/answer session.
The Follow-up Email
Right after the interview, I immediately wrote a follow up email to each of the interviewers as well as the recruiter, thanking them for their time and highlighting things I talked about in the interview as well as things I was unable to answer. I showed diligence by going back to study those topics and highlighted my new found knowledge in that email. Finally, I scheduled it for 8:00AM the next day. Highly recommend doing this!
About a week after the interview, I was at the mall looking for a parking spot when I received a call from the Recruiter. Nervously, I found a parking spot and proceeded to pick up my phone. The recruiter shared the pleasant news of the company extending me an offer with the pay rate for the position and the start date which I excitedly accepted. One of the best days of my life!
DURING THE INTERNSHIP
After a couple of weeks, I started the internship and meet the team officially. The first two days were on site but the rest of the internship was fully remote. I primarily received training from the Information Security Engineer & Senior Security Analyst who I learned a lot from. After a couple of weeks of shadowing, I was slowly able to start working independently. I definitely would ask questions all the time and reach out for things I was unsure of.
In this internship, I had a very amazing experience because my manager wanted to make sure I learned a lot. He made me participate in meetings, work on projects, explore several tools, learn new solutions being implemented and so much more. I got to learn a lot about Email Security & Administration, Phishing Analysis, Cloud Security, Active Directory, Endpoint Protection & Interpersonal skills as well. In conclusion, I couldn't have asked for a better experience.
I also attained my CompTIA Security+ certification during this internship. This certification helped me get a very general and broad understanding of Security and definitely helped me become a better Cybersecurity intern.
So what next?
AFTER THE INTERNSHIP
As at the moment I'm writing this blog, it's been two weeks since my internship ended and I now work Full-Time as a Cyber SOC Analyst. The shift from an internship to a Full-Time position while still pursuing a college career has been quite the learning experience. Although my new position as a Cyber SOC Analyst requires a different and more advanced skillet, I can confidently say that my internship gave me that mindset on how to think like a Cybersecurity Analyst and critically analyze the different scenarios I find myself in.
I had an amazing experience as an intern and was able to learn a lot of things. I highly recommend for other students to seek internships while they're in college in order to gain relevant industry experience and learn about the intricacies of the cybersecurity industry before the completion of their degrees.