You may be one of the few students out there that already has a clear picture of where your career will take you and what you want to do with your next four years. If so, you probably already have your first, second, and third year cyber internships selected. Most students, on the other hand, are still searching and a little unsure about what the next step will be. This is EXACTLY why internships are important! An internship will allow you to test drive a career and see what fits you best in the real world. Now, where to start?
- Think about what made you decide to go into information security in the first place
Was it a movie? Potential job security? That “evil bit” that attracts some of us to the industry when we could have gone straight IT? Whatever that is, there is a (legal) career option out there with your name on it.
- Start investigating options
Make a list of which courses you’re most interested in and start talking to your professors about possible opportunities that will bolster your passion.
- Put your research skills to good use
Check out job postings in areas that light you up. Whether it’s cyber research, identity and access management, mobile security, application security, critical infrastructure protection – anything – researching job postings will lead you to the companies that hire in your area of interest.
- Build out your network
Most universities have excellent resources for internships, but not always in your area of expertise. Take the list of companies and positions you’re interested in and ask your advisor about their connections in the area. Don’t forget to talk to other students and professors about their experiences with internships and companies they have successfully worked with in the past.
- Target specific internship opportunities
Many internships will be posted on niche job boards and other information security specific professional associations. Make sure to check these sites early and often to make sure you’re not missing opportunities. If possible, load your resume or profile so that employers can find you too.
Finding the right internship is critically important to your career and can set the stage for your future. Taking the time to focus your search will pay dividends and will set you apart from mere applicants in the eyes of employers. Everyone wants to hire someone excited to learn and grow – make sure they know that’s you!