For the past few months Stella and Michael have been interning at Retrospect Labs through Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) Work Integrated Learning program. They are both current Cyber Security students completing their last semester of study before graduation. We asked them to write a few words about their time with us!
My internship at Retrospect Labs taught me cyber security from left to right. Throughout the internship, I was given the opportunity to see first-hand what building software from scratch looks like, testing the platform to make sure it works, and how to build and conduct exercises. I learned about secure coding and security testing while doing pair-programming, and about how incident response works. I also learned various skills such as communication in a corporate setting, managing my own tasks using tools like Jira and DevOps, and teamwork. All of this helped me develop my oral and written communication skills as well as organisational skills.
I also worked on several team projects, such as developing the Resources page on the Retrospect Labs website. Every single task helped me develop my teamwork and interpersonal skills. Lastly, I was able to build self-confidence and I’m no longer the nervous girl that I was before I started my internship - I've had tangible, real world experience working in a cyber security startup! I’m more confident than ever and I know what skills I should study more to improve my knowledge of cyber security, and how organisations work.
My work integrated learning at Retrospect Labs allowed me to grow personally, but it also helped me to gain a better understanding of cyber security and the career path I want to follow. I found my interest in application security while doing the tasks and I’m planning to study this area further! I was very fortunate to be an intern at Retrospect Labs and meet my amazing team who all helped me to learn new skills and guided me to choose my career path. The skills and knowledge I learned throughout my experience with the Retrospect Labs will be very valuable in my immediate future career.
Retrospect Labs promotes a fast-paced, dynamic, and thoroughly collaborative workplace environment, tailored towards delivering highly refined cyber security exercises for their customers. The workplace environment is naturally conducive to self-development and has granted me invaluable exposure into industry standard processes associated with both a cyber security start-up, as well as the rapidly evolving field of cyber security exercising.
The experience I gained throughout this placement has provided me not only with hands-on professional development, but with actual skills and knowledge I'll use in the workplace in the future. For instance, I've helped with the automation of virtual environments utilising Infrastructure as Code (IaC) services such as Ansible and Packer to provision EC2 instances, and I've been able to bolster my forensic analysis skills through my work on the Retrospect Labs Live Fire Ransomware Exercise training course. Without doubt however, the most valuable takeaway from this entire experience are the lessons, methodologies and thought processes derived from the expertise of Retrospect Labs personnel - my teammates who I got to work closely with. Being a small team and working in a start-up environment means we all had to jump in and do more to get jobs done, which is great fun and provided me with meaningful opportunities to push myself, learn, and get my hands a bit dirty. Countless quotes such as “constantly challenge your own assumptions” will stick with me for life, and I am immensely grateful for such tutelage and a positive, fun work environment.
I’ve vastly broadened my understanding of industry and its many opportunities, further exposing the seemingly countless branches of cyber security. With so many fascinating niches, focusing strictly on any one sector indefinitely appears overly self-limiting but I am interested in pursuing automation whenever possible. The satisfaction derived from successfully automating a process and being able to clearly view and improve that process in future is immense. Retrospect Labs has enabled me to discover this passion for automation in a meaningful way. Providing me with gripping tasks as well as invaluable insight into the methodologies and thought processes utilised within the organisation. The tasks I partook in utilising Ansible, Packer and basic integration tests have served as a catalyst for inciting deeper investigation and projects incorporating automation. Without this experience it is highly unlikely I would have achieved exposure to automation at this calibre. I continue to be deeply grateful for the insight and expertise shared with me and know the knowledge I have gained will undoubtedly continue to be useful throughout my career.
We think Michael and Stella are absolute superstars – and we’ve been very lucky to have them both at Retrospect Labs as interns. The ECU Work Integrated Learning program has made it so easy for us to take on highly skilled and eager interns, and help get them some real world cyber experience. Looking after and supporting the next generation of cyber leaders is something we are proud to support, and we can’t wait to see where these two end up in the coming years. If you’re thinking about taking on an intern, or getting involved in a program like ECU’s then we can’t recommend it enough.