SSS Internship Programme – providing opportunities to students to gain real-world experience

  • admin
  • Apr 9, 2021

One of the big challenges within the Cyber Security industry is the ongoing shortage of skilled talent.

With COVID-19 and the subsequent closure of our borders, things have become more challenging for many organisations in New Zealand to secure the resources they need.

One of the successful strategies we have used to bring new talent and perspectives into our business is our internship initiative. Over the past 4 years we have had around a dozen interns coming from a variety of tertiary institutes. Most of our interns have been offered permanent roles and have now firmly established themselves within our team.

Our involvement in the tertiary (and secondary) space is important to us for two reasons. Firstly – we can address our own need to bring skilled people into our workplace and secondly, because we can reach a diverse set of individuals who are unsure of where they are headed and educate them on the benefits and opportunities within our industry.

Last year we had over 200 applications and we ended up offering two internships to Jaimee Mullins and Theo Cozens-Price. At the end of their internship in February, Jaimee and Theo accepted full time roles within our Security Operations team as Level 1 Security Analysts. Both Theo and Jaimee have started making an impact and they are both valuable additions to the SSS team.

“Working in cybersecurity, it’s imperative that you stay up to date with new trends in IT, because where users go, attackers go too. This constant push to improve oneself is key to why I enjoy working in this field – you’re never bored, and you’re encouraged to learn new things. Right from the beginning of our time at SSS, we were encouraged to extend our knowledge and understanding. We were introduced to all the different parts of the company – everyone from SSS’s Identity team to the internal IT support team. Our work dovetailed nicely with these introductions – while our day-to-day was security operations, we were given lots of opportunities to try out different things, from software testing to risk assessments. This variety is what I’ve enjoyed most about my time at SSS – no day has been exactly the same as the last.” – Theo Cozens-Price

Introducing Jaimee Mullins

One of the important messages we have been sharing with both secondary and tertiary students is that it doesn’t matter what you have done in the past, anybody can enter the field of IT security and there is space for all personality types. During our cyber event in 2021, Paul Platen shared the important message that organisations need to hire differently and that having staff with different experiences and skills are critical for success in our industry.

Jaimee has a diverse background that started with a data analyst position and later moving to project coordination. After attending a few IT information days, Jaimee became interested in IT security and as a result enrolled in a Bachelor of Science specialising in cybersecurity at the Victoria University.

Jaimee shows that regardless of your background, if you have the interest and desire, you are able to establish yourself within the IT security industry.

“Learning the theory behind cryptography cemented my goal to study and work in IT security. I came in as an intern, through Summer of Tech, with a degree but with so much to learn practically. SSS management and my teammates have been supportive of my journey and helping me gain the practical experience I need. Every day brings something new to investigate and learn. The internship programme provided an opportunity to learn what SSS did on a daily basis and be part of a team. The culture of an organisation is very important to happiness at work. Doing this internship provided hands-on insight to what it would be like to work at SSS. It was a great experience and now I have a job here! SSS has created a great environment where everyone is recognised for the small things they do daily and the extra things they do to help their team members. The people at SSS are always willing to discuss any questions I have often leading to interesting discussions about concepts I never knew existed.” – Jaimee Mullins

What happens when interns join our team?

Our focus is to provide our interns with a comprehensive overview and visibility into a range of different areas of cybersecurity including network security, endpoint security, identity management, security operations, governance, risk and compliance, and more. This year our interns were largely focused as a part of our Security Operations team.

During the internship they have an opportunity to gain real-world experience in the security operations field. They have been able to shadow and work alongside other SSS staff, and receive mentoring from a range of IT Security specialists. We treat our interns as part of our team and for that reason the cultural fit is incredibly important, not just for us, but also making sure our interns feel our culture is a good fit for them.

Our internship programme is something we are proud of. If you are looking for an internship opportunity and want to know more about our internship programme, you can read more here