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Cybersecurity Internships and Resources

Written by: University of Tulsa   •  Apr 12, 2024
A Cybersecurity Professional Working With an Intern on a Computer in an Office.

Cybersecurity Internships and Resources                                   

Now is an exceptional time to consider getting into the cybersecurity field, with 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings projected for 2025 worldwide. This job growth is mainly due to the significant cost of cybercrimes in recent years. In the U.S. alone, cybercrime losses totaled $27.6 billion in 2022.

Securing a cybersecurity internship can be a great way for individuals to prepare to enter this important field. Internships can allow individuals who have gained cybersecurity skills to apply those skills in a real-world environment. But before taking the plunge, aspiring cybersecurity professionals should closely examine the fundamentals of cybersecurity internships so they can pursue opportunities that best suit their career goals. 

What Are Cybersecurity Internships?

Cybersecurity internships are temporary professional roles that allow individuals to apply the knowledge and skills they’ve learned through a cybersecurity program to real-life situations. Internships typically last 10 to 12 weeks, although some may last a few months. They often are located at a specific job site. While some internships are paid, many are not.

Cybersecurity internships are usually geared toward individuals who are starting out in the field, and they generally do not have extensive field experience prerequisites. Applying for an internship doesn’t necessarily guarantee acceptance into that internship.

While cybersecurity interns’ duties may differ depending on their specific role, certain aspects of their internships are generally the same. For example, interns typically work with an organization’s security team. They also tend to do entry-level or basic network security functions. 

The main difference between an internship and a regular cybersecurity role is that interns are more closely supervised than other employees. This extra supervision can help an intern expand and hone their skills, recognize and correct their mistakes, and get comfortable in a professional environment.

Benefits for Interns

Cybersecurity internships can provide individuals with a wide range of benefits that can help them as their career grows. These benefits include the following:

  • Expanded job opportunities: A completed internship looks great on a resume and can help individuals stand out to employers. Job opportunities can also potentially come from the professional connections a person makes during the internship.
  • Enhanced skill development: An internship provides individuals with hands-on opportunities to learn new cybersecurity skills and hone the skills they have.
  • Network building: An internship allows people to work under seasoned cybersecurity professionals. By building a working relationship with these specialists, they can lay the foundation for the type of professional network that can help them throughout their careers.
  • Mentoring opportunities: Working with cybersecurity professionals as an intern also means learning about the inner workings of the industry from people who have experience dealing with a host of issues. Their insights can better prepare individuals to overcome some of the challenges they may encounter professionally.
  • Career exploration: An internship can allow people to explore various cybersecurity jobs to see which positions align with their interests. This can make it easier for them to seek out a job they are truly passionate about.

Benefits for Employers 

The benefits of cybersecurity internships aren’t limited to those filling them. Employers can also gain several unique advantages through an internship program, such as the following:

  • Acquiring new talent: A successful internship experience can give employers the first crack at hiring a talented cybersecurity professional. It can also give them the chance to bring on an employee who is already familiar with how their company functions.
  • Cost-effectiveness: An internship can double as an employee assessment. As such, it can allow employers to evaluate an individual’s talent and skill at a fraction of the cost of hiring a new employee.
  • Understanding new ideas: New interns can offer new perspectives on how to prevent cyber attacks before they begin. This can make the workplace more adaptable, which can be crucial given the fluctuating nature of cybercrime trends.
  • Improved social responsibility: Getting involved in an internship program conveys a positive message that can signify that an employer cares about developing the next generation of cybersecurity talent.

Cybersecurity internships can lead to robust cybersecurity strategies that are integral to an organization’s success. As technological innovations continue to shape the way organizations function and provide new ways for cybercriminals to attack them, the need for well-trained cybersecurity professionals will continue to grow.

Cybersecurity Internship Types

Different types of cybersecurity internships focus on different aspects of overall cybersecurity strategies. They allow individuals to find a niche within the cybersecurity profession that best suits their interests and career goals.

Because the different types of cybersecurity internship opportunities focus on different elements of cybersecurity, the emphasis on certain daily duties for one role may be slightly different from that of another. However, all cybersecurity interns can expect to carry out some of the following supervised tasks:

  • Incidence response participation
  • Penetration testing
  • Forensic analysis
  • Data collection
  • Vulnerability assessment
  • Network security configuration
  • Research and development

Each internship type serves the crucial purpose of turning the knowledge and skills developed in the classroom into actionable opportunities in real-world environments. These valuable opportunities can equip individuals with a solid understanding of how to keep an organization safe from cybercrime. This way, individuals come into the field prepared to take on whatever threats may be lurking around a system or network. 

Following are some of the types of cybersecurity internships:

Penetration Testing    

An internship in penetration testing can help individuals learn how to conduct simulated cyber attacks. This can train them to spot system vulnerabilities from an attacker’s perspective, which can allow them to develop cybersecurity strategies that close these potential exploits.

Network Security

An individual who works as a network security intern concentrates on protecting a network’s infrastructure from unauthorized access and other cyber threats. This may lead to them helping to develop and configure stronger infrastructures that further restrict access opportunities.

Cyber Threat Intelligence

Also known as threat intelligence, cyber threat intelligence is an internship field that focuses on cyber threat research. This involves collecting data from various sources, which can teach interns how to take into account and identify current and emerging cyber threat trends that may disrupt a system or network.

Incident Response

An internship in incident response can prepare individuals to deal with successful cybersecurity incidents and the fallout after the attack. These internships also provide interns with opportunities to analyze the anatomy of such an attack and to collaborate with teams on system restoration and future exploit mitigation.


A cybersecurity forensics internship is an investigative internship in which individuals use data analysis to detect evidence that can link an attack to responsible parties. They can use data recovery and network traffic analysis to help re-create the steps that led to and executed the cyber attack. This information can ultimately lead to the creation of better, more impenetrable systems.

Security Research

Internships relating to security research focus on digging into novel and burgeoning security exploits to develop protective solutions. This can teach interns how to work with cybersecurity professionals to develop cutting-edge defense tools and innovative strategies.

The Importance of Cybersecurity Internships

Cybersecurity internships allow individuals to demonstrate their knowledge and skills beyond the classroom setting. While the work involved with an internship occurs in a somewhat controlled environment, it does provide people with work experience that they can add to their resume.

This experience can help aspiring cybersecurity professionals expand their potential job opportunities within the cybersecurity field. Although it may be possible to enter the field without experience, some jobs require a certain level of practical experience to qualify. As more companies invest in developing cybersecurity strategies to thwart increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks, the potential for opportunities demanding experience could increase.

The practical experience gained through a cybersecurity internship also can help an individual hone some of the skills considered essential for success in the cybersecurity field. These core competencies include the following:

  • Programming
  • Risk identification
  • Data analysis
  • Data management
  • Troubleshooting
  • Adaptability
  • Access management

The heart of this skill set is a solid understanding of essential aspects of technological systems, such as network configuration, system administration, and security implementation. This skill set can provide a foundation on which individuals can build their cybersecurity careers.

Cybersecurity Internships and Career Advancement    

Completing a cybersecurity internship can help individuals break into the cybersecurity field and prepare them for career advancement once they break in. One reason for this is that internships offer many opportunities for networking within the field. 

The connections individuals make through a cybersecurity internship can come into play as a person’s career grows. For example, if an individual impresses their employer during their internship, the company can bring the person on board once they complete their degree if an appropriate job opening is available. In another scenario, an internship supervisor may connect an intern to a professional in another organization who is looking to fill a position in the future.

Cybersecurity Career Sectors

Cybersecurity is important in a wide range of industries, and each industry has its own unique set of vulnerabilities. Following are some of the most prominent industries that face significant cyber attack threats:

  • Public administration: The vast amounts of data held by government agencies can make their systems susceptible to attacks driven by espionage. However, financial motivation largely spurs most attacks in this sector.
  • Health care: The health care industry is appealing to cybercriminals due to its wealth of valuable patient data. This information can be used to perpetrate identity theft as well as to gain unauthorized access to prescription medications.
  • Finance: Cybercriminals find financial organizations attractive because a successful attack can lay the groundwork for other serious crimes such as fraud, extortion, and theft. In some cases, cybercriminals may attempt to disrupt financial institutions to make a political or ideological statement.
  • Education: Data in the education sector not only contains student information but also key information about their parents. Issues within the sector such as cybersecurity budget constraints can make this sector uniquely alluring to cybercriminals.
  • Retail: The prolific use of credit and debit cards in retail companies makes them prime targets of cybercriminals. Because retail transactions can happen both in brick-and-mortar locations and online, the sector has a broad scope of vulnerabilities related to retail customers and the retail companies themselves.

How to Secure a Cybersecurity Internship 

Securing a cybersecurity internship can require numerous steps. Individuals need to understand what these steps are before pursuing an internship to make the process as efficient as possible.

Step 1: Choose an Internship Type

Cybersecurity internships are available in the private and public sectors and focus on different aspects of cybersecurity. Individuals should choose the type of internship that aligns with their interests, background, skills, and any certifications they may have. They should also determine whether to pursue a paid or an unpaid internship, as each offers unique benefits.

Step 2: Build a Resume

While cybersecurity internships are temporary positions, they can still require a resume for consideration. A resume for an internship can list the individual’s career goals, which demonstrate their interest in the position as training for a career. It also can list any relevant job information, from working with computers or software to volunteer experience, as well as relevant coursework the individual has completed.

Step 3: Apply for an Internship Program

Organizations that offer internships typically have a set program in place with a specific set of guidelines for applying. These guidelines may require additional information, such as a letter of recommendation from an industry professional, professor, or faculty adviser. Applicants should ensure that the resume and other materials they send to each internship program they apply to match that program’s requirements.

Cybersecurity Internship Resources

Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency: This government agency provides regionally based links to resources pertaining to training, best practices, funding opportunities, and more.

Cybrary: This website features links to public and private sector internship opportunities, plus information on how to prepare for a cybersecurity internship.

National Institute of Standards and Technology: This government website contains links to interactive tools that focus on different areas of cybersecurity and potential internship opportunities.

Take a Big Step Toward a Giant Career

The cybersecurity field is poised to remain strong. As cyber attacks grow in complexity and more organizations realize the ramifications of a data breach, cybersecurity professionals are becoming an increasingly important part of every organization’s ability to achieve their growth and stability goals.

Cybersecurity internships help provide aspiring professionals with the foundation they’ll need for a flourishing career in the field. By applying their knowledge and skills in an internship’s hands-on environment, individuals can become fully prepared to enter this important field with the confidence needed to make a substantial impact.

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