Great Hands-On Experience in Cybersecurity

When starting my internship at Schneider Downs, I was not too sure what to expect. Of course, I knew that the internship would be dealing with cybersecurity, but I didn’t know how deep of a dive I was going to get into that field.

These past three months have been eye-opening in terms of the new knowledge and skills I’ve picked up. The internship has been the most valuable work experience I’ve had so far in my career. After learning the ropes and getting settled into the work for a few weeks, I got to help on client cybersecurity penetration tests, or “pentests.” I was treated as if I was part of the team. Some of the work that I did involved gathering client data, testing vulnerabilities, and trying exploits on systems or interfaces using various software tools that the team used regularly. A couple times, I got to go on-site with the team and work with a client. I had the opportunity to add to or improve the software tools used by the team and I made a few Python™ and Bash scripts that made the tools used by the team more efficient.

Another thing I got to work on was payload obfuscation, where I researched methods for making a software script be less detectable by antivirus protection software. Several times I helped team members by researching new tools or updates to existing ones. I got experience working on an incident response case, where I wrote a draft of the incident response findings, and at the end of the internship, I got to help with a physical pentest.

I also got to go to the Pittsburgh BSides cybersecurity conference that happened nearby. I attended several lectures and talked with different vendors in the industry. I had never gone to an event like that before, so it was a great experience.    

The team was awesome to work with. All the guys there were fun, helpful, and gave me meaningful work. They also were always able to answer my questions and guided me through any troubles I had. The team helped me set up a shadowing opportunity with another department in the firm, which provided me valuable info.

Overall, the internship gave me a practical understanding of what it’s like to work in cybersecurity and I got to do meaningful work that I looked forward to doing each day I came in to work. The experience was fantastic and I’m sure will serve me well in my future career.    

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