CypherCon 2024

Internships: Better than School?

Nabeel Sohail

Abstract:

Imagine standing at the threshold of your dream cybersecurity career, only to find the door locked by an invisible barrier. You think it’s perfect grades and a perfect 4.0 GPA. Every assignment must be perfectly handcrafted so that you can get 100% without any type of revision and every exam must contain the right answers. And at the end of it all, that barrier remains
intact as opposed to smashed through. What went wrong?

Breaking into Cybersecurity is tough in today’s world, even as a student at an accredited university. Classes, certifications, internships, fellowships, apprenticeships, volunteering, the list goes on and on. Choosing the proper things to do while in school can become challenging for an individual very quickly. In this talk, we’ll discuss the importance of internships and how
focusing on an internship as opposed to keeping a perfect GPA may be the best thing to do. We’ll start off with what an internship is and general guidelines on how you can land one. Next, we’ll talk about what goes on at these internships and projects that I personally worked on.

Finally, we’ll finish with a discussion about internships versus classwork and how you can balance both to benefit you the best. Spoiler alert: your GPA DOES NOT matter (to an extent).

Nabeel Sohail

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Nabeel is a 4th year student at DePaul University majoring in Cybersecurity and minoring in Computer Science, slated to graduate in June 2024. His inspiration for computers stems back to somewhere around the 4th grade, and he has the badly written “about me” page to prove it to anyone who cares to know. At 17, he landed his first internship at a small tech consulting
company known as Gate3. In his sophomore year of college, Nabeel worked at ALDI as a Data Center and Cybersecurity Intern for a year. In his junior year, he worked at Discover Financial Services as a Cybersecurity Analyst Intern on the Insider Threat Program. In his senior year, he worked at National Futures Association as an IT Security Compliance Intern. His main interests
include Offensive Security, Physical Pentesting, and Social Engineering. Nabeel strives to make the world a better place by emulating the actions of the bad guys and ensuring that no company has to go through a cyber incident alone. Aside from his career aspirations, Nabeel enjoys driving and working on cars, hikes, and taking care of his three cats: Toby, Floof, and Pablo.