Without question, one of the best ways to get experience outside of school is to land an information security internship. Internships give you:
- Critical, on-the-job experience
- The ability to see first-hand if you and the work are a good match
- Valuable connections and references following a positive internship experience
For specialized industries, such as information security, internships remain some of the most valuable and rewarding gifts you can give yourself and your future career.
Am I going to be stuck with the grunt work?
Maybe. While some of the work may not bring you fame and glory (yet), it will offer insight into a possible future. As with everything in life, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out. Volunteer for everything – from the most challenging project to the most menial. This is your opportunity to see the work from every possible angle and decide if it’s right for you.
Why would companies want to hire someone without any experience?
The talent shortage in cyber security is not a secret and smart companies know they need to build their teams from the ground up. If you ask any information security engineer, they will tell you that they would love an extra set of hands to get the work done. Hiring students who are engaged and eager to learn allows companies to meet their short term need for extra help as well as long term needs for building a pipeline for the future.
What’s the likelihood that I’ll be hired on after an internship?
There are a lot of factors involved in internship conversions into direct hire positions. While some are completely out of your control, like yearly headcount numbers and budgets, your chances are much higher than someone who has no history with the company. Given the choice of hiring an unknown who may and may not live up to their resume, versus someone who has proven themselves on the job, most hiring managers will hire the person they know and trust. Even if it means they may need to invest a little more time and training.
The bottom line is that the talent gap in information security is real and companies are looking to snap up brilliant young college students before their competitors do and internships are the ideal way for students to ensure they’re making the right decision for their future.