Developing Future Leaders in Cybersecurity

In order to foster the development of future leaders who are passionate about protecting everyone under the sun, Cylance launched its first internship program this summer. Twelve college students from around the country with backgrounds ranging from finance to software engineering to sales, join us in our Irvine headquarters offices each day to help tackle the next generation of challenges facing cybersecurity professionals, and to learn more about the wider applications of artificial intelligence.

Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

The program was, in part, inspired by the lack of qualified candidates in the growing cybersecurity marketplace. The hope is that future classes of undergraduates will be inspired to consider pursuing careers in cybersecurity in order to help fill the current skills gap.

“We want this to be a meaningful experience for the interns in which they can experience a modern business environment and learn all about cybersecurity, while also helping to support some of the workload from their managers,” said Janice Gill-Hester, one of the Cylance internship program coordinators.

At Cylance, summer interns are treated like full-time employees, with complete responsibility of relevant tasks and access to real-world business operations. By sitting in on daily meetings and planning sessions with executives, and working cross-functionally to help other teams, Cylance interns develop a sense of business etiquette and helps interns gain confidence in the workplace.

“The best part about the Cylance internship program is how closely it brings all the interns together from different departments within the company, in both formal and informal settings,” said software engineering intern Ali Shahbaz. “This has helped me understand how people from diverse backgrounds approach the same problem in different ways.”

In addition to developing teamwork and collaboration skills, the interns attend weekly workshops that teach them critical software skills, resume building, and networking. They also develop mentorships with their managers or other Cylance employees who help guide them in building their careers. Some interns have even been given the opportunity to travel to other Cylance offices or attend cybersecurity conferences such as Black Hat and DEF CON.

Cylance Internships: a Study in Success

To close out their internship at the end of the summer, each intern prepares a presentation for their peers and managers that covers what they have accomplished over the duration of their tenure at Cylance, and shares their ideas for potential growth strategies within the company.

Based on the exceptional success of this first internship program, Cylance hopes to expand the program to other company locations, including Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon in the coming years. “We hope that the interns will emerge from the program passionate about technology, security, and our lofty goal of protecting the world,” says Gill-Hester.

Programs like this one will not only broaden the hiring pool in the cybersecurity industry, but will also bring in a diverse set of new ideas for the company. Both the interns and the organization benefit from the program, which lays the groundwork for future leaders in the field.