HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT GÉANT OFFERING INTERNSHIPS?
I am currently studying Cyber Security at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), and started my third and final year in September 2023. Third-year university students at ARU carry out a ‘poster’ event which is an opportunity for them to display their dissertation plans. I attended this event to learn more about what's expected of me during my final academic year, which is where I met Tony Barber, Head of the GÉANT Operations Centre, who also works with the head of my course.
After introducing myself, we discussed my university course and plans for the future, which led to a conversation about completing a summer internship at GÉANT.
“There are various internships offered throughout the year at GÉANT so if you are interested then definitely take the leap and enquire!”
WHAT DID YOUR INDUCTION PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
Initially I had a few informal interviews with Tony in the office, before becoming officially employed as an intern. My induction process was the same as any new employee at GÉANT, with my first week dedicated to meeting different people within the organisation - to gain an understanding about the foundations of GÉANT: who we are; what we do; why we do it.
On my first day I was assigned a welcome buddy who was previously a Network Engineer intern (studying at ARU) who, after finishing his degree, was employed by GÉANT. It was great to have someone to talk to who had a similar journey to me.
WHAT DID A TYPICAL WEEK LOOK LIKE WORKING AS AN INTERN?
I was in the office Monday to Wednesday working either an 08:00-16:00 or 09:00-17:00 shift. On Thursdays I worked remotely and I was lucky enough to have Fridays off!
WHAT WERE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS AN INTERN?
While at GÉANT I conducted a physical security assessment for both offices (GÉANT has offices in Cambridge and Amsterdam); supported GÉANT with working towards an ISO 27001 certification; and gathered NREN CERT contact information to be used by the Security Operations Centre during a security incident response.
In addition to this, I completed a comprehensive security-related starter pack which included information for new employees on topics such as phishing and tailgating. It was exciting to be involved in something that will be used in the long term at GÉANT.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AT GÉANT?
I felt supported in all aspects of my internship, and was trusted with the responsibility of making proactive decisions. I was exposed to practical projects that have been implemented in the organisation itself, and I had the opportunity to take the lead on some projects, while shadowing industry professionals on others.
The office didn't feel like a stereotypical corporate environment which helped me settle in. There was a good balance of professionalism, but also time to get to know colleagues over a coffee and after office hours. My colleagues shared fascinating stories from various work trips, which were a good insight into the different experiences GÉANT can provide. Even as an intern, I was given the opportunity to travel to the Amsterdam office to meet the rest of the team.
HOW WILL YOUR INTERNSHIP AT GÉANT SUPPORT YOUR LONG-TERM CAREER GOALS?
My time at GÉANT has enabled me to understand which career paths I could follow in the future. There is such a broad scope within cybersecurity that I found it difficult to pinpoint one specific role to pursue before gaining some experience. However, my internship has surprised me as I’ve developed a new interest in Network Security. Overall, this opportunity has opened up my options tremendously, especially as it seems employers value experience alongside a degree from university graduates.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE WONDERING IF GÉANT LIFE IS FOR THEM?
The experience I have gained has become the foundation of my professional career. To have worked at such a prestigious and industry-leading organisation that provides networking capabilities on a global scale, has given me the experience to stand out. In today's climate, a degree is a necessary tick-in-the-box, but the experience I have drawn from GÉANT has taught me how to take my studies and apply them to an industry, while being competent and proactive within a work environment.
After discussing my time at GÉANT with friends who have also completed internships, it has really highlighted the amount of support and unique experiences that GÉANT has given me. GÉANT’s offering is filled with learning and development opportunities, extensive and friendly support from colleagues, travel, and high levels of involvement as an intern. It has enabled me to understand the technical aspects, but also learn about different departments through talking with various teams about their work. There are various internships offered throughout the year at GÉANT so if you are interested then definitely take the leap and enquire!
Alex grew up in Suffolk and studied Computer Science and Business Management at college. At the end of his second year at university, Alex completed a summer internship with GÉANT from June - September 2023 as a Security Engineer.