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Internships: Pathway to your dream career

By Ella Halstead
September 4 2019

Posted in Blog

Written by Shofe Miraz

If you are at university, just started and exploring your options or someone in the final year, looking for a way to the industry. Not wanting to sit home, want to explore, and take on your dream career, Internship is a great way to explore your options.

Last year, with support from the fantastic Summer of Tech team, I took on the journey to explore the area of my passion. And I am so glad that I did.

With the SoT team, it was pretty much two or more events each week. Amazing peoples from the industry were showing up to guide the newcomers. It was so refreshing to having those fantastic people around us. And it only started from there. Mock Interviews, Resume Reviews, Tips, and Life Hacks to stand out, Networking Sessions, and the list goes on.

There are benefits of working during the summer, lots of students wander around during this time, not knowing where to start or what to do. Spending this long holiday to expose yourself to the industry can be rewarding.

A lot of these companies offer a chance for interns to explore their options. Maybe you excel at programming, and you want to see how the industry works. A summer with a supportive group of people can convince you to take that as a career path. Imagine, doing something you love and care about, that you are passionate about, having the ability to make mistakes and learn, and getting paid for it! How real does it sound? You’ve got your foot into the industry already.

There is ongoing confusion when deciding to go for big or small companies. Big companies have a good reputation, looks good on your resume and maybe are one of your dream companies to work. While these are all true, small companies have a more connected working culture; you make an impression faster and learn a lot more since there is only a limited amount of people who are doing everything.

It is a tough choice to make, I would say depending on what you are looking for if this is your first step into a career you want to be, small companies can be a great choice. Asking for help is a desk away, and a lot of the times we learn more than we expected.

Have I told you how much your grades can improve after you go back to study? I remember my colleagues saying after the internship you’ll explore your uni life better; they weren’t wrong. Aside from some theory, work is practical stuff. Having experience from both worlds only improves learning afterward. You get to visualize what was mere speculation before. 

Nowadays, recruiters and employers like the buzzword “soft skills!”. One fundamental of these skills is good communication skill. Being proactive and maintaining a network. Ability to share ideas and to get your message across the hall is necessary for building a better company.
They also expect you to know how to deal with people coming from diverse cultures. New Zealand is, in fact, so diverse. Something you think is the right thing to do, might not be for the other person. The earlier you get to know your strength and weakness and how others will benefit from those, better it is for your career.

By giving you a taste of life in your chosen field, an internship not only gives you the connections and experience you need to help secure a graduate role (helping you avoid the endless job hunt), it also gives you a better idea of what to expect and helps lessen the jolt of entering full-time employment.

I spent my last summer with a group of remarkable people from ZX Security in Wellington. My first question after being there was, “What do you expect from me?”. The answer I got is that “You have the summer to explore my passion and to decide whether you want to pursue this career. And to involve yourself in the team. Contribute while you can.” What better way to figure out if you’re really into your chosen career path?

I got to see client meetings, real workloads, how a real pen testing happens, and a look at the industry from inside. With a team that is very active and supportive. Whether it is having a meal together each week or playing soccer together or to help each other when workload hits hard. For someone to make a transition from study life to a full-time job, it was never easy. I am glad that I got to enjoy my time being there doing what I am passionate about.

There was a surprise waiting for me at the end of my internship, a trip overseas to attend a conference. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity at that point in my career. By then, I realized I did not make a mistake choosing to be a cyber-security professional.

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