I’m often approached by students who are wondering what they need to do to become more marketable for an internship. First, pursuing an internship is a great way to build practical experience and also a way to show your skills to a prospective employer. These are competitive positions however and there are a few things you should keep in mind on your journey to secure a position.
Generally an internship is going to be most beneficial after you have completed the first year of your program. That means by starting to consider an internship early you still have time to make yourself more marketable. Employers are going to be looking for someone they can benefit from with the potential of hiring in the future, that means you need to be competitive with others. You should assume that everyone applying for the internship will be enrolled in a similar college program to you, so your grades need to be competitive. This is where most students stop, “I have good grades, hire me.” Unfortunately, that is often not enough. Here are some other actions you can take to become more likely to likely to secure that coveted position.
- Any IT work you can do is valuable to put on a resume. That may mean working a help desk but that is a starting position. Some organizations are also looking for volunteers to help with setting up networks or administering systems. A good place to find these opportunities in your area are professional groups – see next bullet.
- Become a student member of ISACA, ISC2, OWASP, ACM, IEEE, or any other cybersecurity focused professional group in your area. Find a group that has a local chapter (google for those organizations in your area). They have speakers that provide great info and you make good connections for potential internships/jobs
- Practice learning skills in a home lab. Start by downloading VM-Ware or Virtual box. Both have free versions. These allow you to set up a virtual machine on your computer. Then load a linux version such as Ubuntu or Fedora. Use your access to BU’s Microsoft Imagine site and download Windows Server – practice working through them. You can set up a virtual network and share files between the machines to see how that works. Our library has several good resources on those topics
- Talk with our career center – http://www.bellevue.edu/student-support/career-services/career-services, they can help with info as well, especially with preparing for interviews, building a resume, etc.