In this article, we share with you the story of an ECA professional year student who went from being a fresh graduate to becoming part of an award-winning App development team.
Starting the journey with ECA and Elegant Media
After finishing her masters of business (IT) at RMIT in 2019, Tina Chim was looking for a way to break into the industry. This was when she came across ECA’s professional year program, and she instantly felt the professional year program being offered by ECA was a perfect fit for her.
Tina began her professional year at the start of 2020, and after finishing her initial certifications and programs, it was time for her to start the process of getting an internship. “The ECA professional year takes you through a step-by-step process for getting the internship that will work best for you, which was great,” says Tina.
Even though she was applying for an internship during one of the worst economic periods of the century, she was offered an internship with Elegant Media, one of the leading App development companies in Australia.
From internship to employee
Tina’s time as an intern at Elegant Media was marked with a steep learning curve. “There were multiple areas of the business that I got to work in. I was working with real projects, which pushed me to learn a lot in a short period of time. It was an excellent opportunity to understand and grow in the industry.”
Tina excelled during the internship, was a good fit with the company environment and a few months after finishing the internship, she was offered a full-time position at Elegant Media.
She feels she was offered a job at the company because of her work ethic and because of how well she jelled within the company.
“Being offered an internship and then a job in a year like 2020 was a blessing, I was very happy when I got hired.”
The best part of ECA professional year and becoming a project manager
“Based on my personal experience, the tutor I had at ECA was very passionate about what he was teaching. The tutor ended up making the course extremely interesting and I think that really helped in pushing me to learn more during my professional year.”
The professional year program presented Tina with the opportunity of an internship and she feels it was invaluable in her journey to becoming a Project Manager in an award-winning app development team at Elegant Media.
“The best part about working as a project manager with an App developer is the fact that I am constantly learning. No two days are the same; I get to work on different projects with different clients, and I enjoy this process of learning and adapting to different project needs.”
Future plans and advice to new interns
“I have had the opportunity to work with the new interns that came to work with us this year and it was a very humbling experience. I still have a lot to learn, but while talking to them I also realised how much I have learnt in the last year.”
I plan on growing as a project manager and becoming better at coordinating and handling a team. At Elegant Media, we are always pushing the boundaries of innovation and efficiency and I plan to play a key role in our companies success over the coming years.
I would advise all students thinking of doing a professional year program to not underestimate the connections they can make and the things they can learn during this year. You never know where the professional year can take you.
Internships are often thought as one of the first steps when collecting “real-world” experience, encounters, and environments. An internship can be a great portfolio enhancer, provide learning lessons for students, and allow for the “application” process of academic studies to be utilized. At ECA Internships, our goal is to assist students looking to transition from academic studies to corporate settings.
“Cybersecurity” internships are not the most common types of positions offered in the corporate industry due to its requirement of skill specialties, a risk of breaching company confidentiality, and the specific requirements needed when being a security intern.
In addition to the scarcity of internships offered overall, the competition is intense with individuals competing against talented, skilled, and advanced students all around the nation/world.
Types of Cybersecurity Internships
There are five main types of cybersecurity internships offered to students. These five types of internships can be broken down into multiple sub-internship positions. Keep this idea in mind when applying for a security intern position and building your resume.
Cybersecurity Analyst: As an analyst you will support a team of people to identify and assess the capabilities, activities, and logs of an adversary. You will be expected to collect, analyze, process, and disseminate cyber alerts or threats while assessing the network for any potential alerts. In addition to monitoring the network, an analyst intern is responsible for incorporating security policies, implementing security awareness, and establishing a plan to combat potential threats.
Security Assurance: Perform gap analysis of existing controls/regulations. As an intern you will compile and record controls for compliance while working with additional business units to catch and quickly mitigate potential security risks. An intern could also assist in publishing risk reports, conducting a risk assessment, creating/collecting required documentation, and configure reports/user account management.
Application Security: Assist and perform in activities such as penetration testing to review internal applications of an enterprise. Highlight any vulnerabilities to remediate efforts or develop new automations to harden system applications. Gain an understanding and participate in the secure software development lifecycle. Provide viable feedback and input for an organization to improve the overall security of a system. Follow and demonstrate an understanding of the penetration testing methodologies laid out through specific standards. Probe and scan for vulnerabilities in client and standard applications.
Security Management: Assist in the creation and review of policy documentation, develop additional security awareness training materials while supporting any additional problems with the training. Help the security management team in activities associated with security awareness and risk compliance. Create news articles, communication emails, and deployment of security products. Develop and procure business continuity and recovery procedures. Research and recommend overall security upgrades to an enterprise’s network.
Network Management: Participate in the development/deployment of computer networks with a overall “security” in mind. Integrate and administer a network regarding switches, routers, firewalls, and network security appliance management. Respond and remediate security alerts regarding the network. Identify, implement, review, create, and define requirements for information security. Notify and alert other teams when system alerts have appeared. Reduce and remediate the efforts in false positives.
Building your resume
The ideal cybersecurity candidate has a mixture of technical and soft skills.
On the technical side, most employers want proof that you are:
Grounded in IT fundamentals: e.g. networking, systems administration, database management, web applications, etc.
Versed in day-to-day operations: e.g. physical security, networks, server equipment, enterprise storage, users, applications, etc.
For soft skills, they’re looking for candidates who:
Know how to communicate with non-IT colleagues and work in a team
Understand business procedures & processes
Love to solve complex puzzles and unpick problems
How to Gain Practical Cybersecurity Experience
Teach yourself to code. (Experts recommend this again and again.)
Build your own computer and security lab using old PCs, your own wireless router with firewall, network switch, etc. Practice securing the computer and network, then try hacking it.
Create an open-source project.
Participate in cybersecurity contests and training games. e.g. Wargames, Capture the Flag competitions (CTFs), etc.
Look for vulnerabilities on open-source projects and sites with bug bounties. Document your work and findings.
Pair your cybersecurity certification exams with side projects that utilize the same skills.
Offer to help your professor or employer with security-related tasks.
Take free online cybersecurity Programs and Pre-assessment tests.
Invest in training courses over and above your degree.
Networking and Volunteering
Join LinkedIn groups, professional networks and security organizations.
Attend local security group meetings and events.
Collaborate with a team (at work or in school) on a cybersecurity project.
Volunteer at IT and cybersecurity conferences.
Volunteer to do IT security work for a non-profit or charity.
Read IT and security magazines/news sites and blogs.
Bookmark useful cybersecurity websites.
Keep tabs on cybersecurity message boards like Information Security Stack Exchange.
Run a background check on yourself to see if there are any existing red flags, then determine what you can do to address them. Security is a sensitive field and employers are looking for ethical candidates.