Hughes Internship Brings the Computer Science Classroom to Life
I came into my software engineering summer internship at Hughes with a few goals in mind. First and foremost was to learn more about corporate defensive cyber security – the practice of detecting unauthorized access into corporate networks and storing protected secrets in the corporate environment. I also wanted to work on my soft skills: presenting, networking and communicating in a professional setting. As my internship comes to a close, I’m happy to report I accomplished all of my original goals – and learned so much about myself, the world of connectivity and what work is like in the ‘real world.’
As a rising Junior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Information Science, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect coming into the internship program – what kind of projects would I be working on? Would I be working with other interns? What technology would I be using? I knew it would be a unique opportunity to learn and explore, without the pressure or expectations of an undergraduate class during the semester. All my questions were answered on the first day – the security engineering team had prepared a document that would become my guide for the rest of the summer as I navigated through my intern projects.
I was assigned two projects to work on throughout the summer but was given discretion on how and when to accomplish them. I had weekly meetings with my team at large to talk about both my project and other security topics, which allowed me to gain a wider view of how security works at a large company. Prior to interning at Hughes, all my defensive cyber experience came from the classroom, but seeing how it works in real life was an eye opener for me. It is wild to think about the sheer amount of data that Hughes processes every single day!
In addition to the weekly meetings, the team was always available for me through Microsoft Teams and any time I was stuck they were happy to connect in person or virtually to make sure I completed the project on time and to their standards. Everyone I met was awesome to work with and I hope to stay in contact after my internship ends.
Technology Powered by People
The people here at Hughes are one of the best parts of working here. I have a running joke that everyone here has either been here for 30 years or 2 years. All jokes aside – people truly love working here and it speaks volumes that they stay for decades! Everyone has been super friendly and willing to share their career experiences with me. After talking with the sales engineering team and expressing interest in that side of the business, I had the opportunity to shadow their team as well. This shadowing experience came from me just asking to learn more about something that was interesting to me and proved to be an incredibly valuable experience for deciding what I want to do with my career. I really enjoyed my time with both the cyber development and sales engineering teams and it’s given me a new outlook on what I might pursue for a career.
One of my favorite parts of the internship was my office. On the first day of our internships, eight of us were brought to an office that would become our home for the summer. We started as strangers, but this group of interns quickly became great friends. We would get lunch together, bounce ideas and get to know each other during our breaks. They all come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, from an exchange student from Thailand to an ex-nurse who changed career paths. Hearing their stories and how they’ve taken on challenges in their fields has been eye-opening, too.
At the end of the internship, we were each asked to do a final presentation for each other and all of our mentors to showcase what we had worked on all summer. It was a great opportunity to polish and practice my writing and presentation skills in front of an audience, in a professional setting.
Overall, from the first day to the last, I met some amazing people and learned many interesting things during my internship that I will be sure to take forward in my career. Thank you, Hughes!