By Taryn Kuczynski, September 2015
Internships provide excellent hands on learning experience, work experience opportunities to students, and may even help you clarify your career goals. I chose to do an internship as a part of my BS Cybersecurity degree and have learned a lot about myself, my career goals, and my continued educational goals, and have had the opportunity to network with people in my desired career field. In some cases, this has also included networking with people who are in related career fields. Most employers look for people with “on the job” or “previous” experience and some of us graduating from our current programs may not have any related experience, most likely due to the fact we are new to the career field or transitioning careers. This has been something which has troubled me for some time and when I saw the opportunity to gain that experience, I was very excited.
Internship = Credible Job Experience
Foremost, an internship provides you with that golden opportunity to get the credible job experience in your related field before you graduate. Additionally, internships also look great on a resume and will allow you to feel more confident in your chances of securing a job. During an interview you will be able to answer “yes” to a question about having experience with a certain cyber topic and be able to give examples if you keep your portfolio up to date. You may even be able to earn some industry certifications!
Getting experience is a great way to build your confidence. Internships in the Cyber community, or whatever field that you happen to be in, are not only a great way to gain that elusive "work experience" but are also a great way to meet people in your field, even before entering your field. During an internship you may have the opportunity to meet people who might help you land a job when you complete your internship or when you graduate. Fortunately for me this has been the case. In my experience, I have already been offered a job at the completion of my 240-hour residency. But, if I choose not to accept that position, I already have the contacts in my prospective industry. Additionally, they may be able to offer me another position, one that will allow me to continue to grow professionally and strengthen my skillset.
Finally, internships can also help provide another key element, references. References from people in the industry, such as your internship supervisor, will really add weight to your interview with a prospective employer as well. No experience can be too small in an internship. Just make sure to make the best of it, add to your experience and continue to build your network!
About the Author
Taryn Kuczynski is a senior (full time online student) at the School of Business and Justice Studies. She is a 33-year-old mother of two that had some speed bumps in her studies plan, but never gave up and is so close to the finish line. She is happily married to her best friend who is a Master's in Cybersecurity student at Utica. She loves to hang out with her family, work on cyber studies projects with her husband and his employers, plays tennis, loves to cook and enjoys photo editing. She has two labradoodles and a Bengal/ tabby mix that are her little babies too! After completing her Bachelor's Degree, she plans on working full time while continuing her education through the Master's program at Utica College.