During our FP3 class slot on 23rd May 2019, instead of lessons there was a Career Networking Session that took place. During this Session, various companies – mainly those involved in the IT industry, set up their booths to talk more about their companies and offer information regarding internship opportunities at their companies to the students.
Prior to the day, our lecturers informed us beforehand to update our CVs so that we can use it during the Career Networking Session. This could be done if we were interested in the internship offer and decide to pitch to them. We were also tasked to prepare a 1-minute elevator pitch in a case where an on-spot interview was to happen.
The open areas at level 5 were used for the session, where companies related to Financial Informatics (FI) and Information Security & Forensics (ISF), had set up booths. Block 27 had booths for mainly FI students and Block 31 had booths for mainly ISF students. We were free to roam both sides as certain companies offered internship offers that both course students could apply for. Each booth had a poster or two, which had a brief description of they their company is about and what they do. There were also 2-3 staff from the company, usually one from HR and the rest technical staff. I really liked the fact that there were people from the IT department and HR as it allowed us students to have a deeper understanding of the company and not just from a technical perspective. The varieties of company present were also quite extensive so it gave us flexibility to choose from.
I managed to network with companies such as V-Key, DSTA, iSprint, CSintelligence and UOB. V-Key and DSTA would be covered in later parts.
iSprint is a company that provides other financial organizations security products. I have encountered them during the career talk held at SIM together with CSIntelligence that is a start-up based in Singapore that focuses on offering Security Operations Centre as a service as well as penetration testing and consultation services. UOB is a banking company and is the leading one in Asia.
III. Which of the company/companies interest you the most and why?
I was able to talk to a few companies and get to know about them but I was interested in two companies mainly and those were also the ones I managed to network with the most and find out about their internship opportunities. They would be V-Key and DSTA.
This is a company that I am extremely familiar with as I have not only heard about them a lot, but I also have visited their company once during my IS module and also interacted with them during tech shows such as FinTech festival.
V-Key is a start-up based in Singapore that focuses on providing financial institutions with mobile based service/product. They focus on two-factor authentication (2FA) and transaction signing. Their products revolve around authentication and authorization. A lot of banks use this technology such as DBS, UOB etc. They have also won several awards such as for their start-up, mobile application ideas, ASEAN ICT award etc.
I am interested in them as their work environment sounded like a very comfortable and nice space. Being a small company, the staff there communicate among themselves a lot and work together with no barriers. Being in such an environment would help me to grow as an individual on a personal and technical scale, especially during my internship where I would be having a lot of doubts and questions.
Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), is a statutory board under MINDEF. They provide technological and engineering support to meet the defence and national security needs of Singapore. It is a company that is an option for both students who are seeking internships, scholarships and programs and for people who are seeking for full time employment. Similar to V-Key, they have attained several awards from MINDEF, Govinsider, Community Chest etc.
They are involved in a wide range of sectors within the cyber security industry such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, sensors, space, communications and military platforms. These interest me, especially the communications and military platforms disciplinary. In the future, after graduating from NP, I might consider signing up for their scholarships or programs to be under them.
IV. Did the networking session help you to find a placement for internship? If yes, explain by providing examples. If no, briefly explain why you could not get placed.
The networking session did not help me as I still applied through the school intern portal system instead of out-sourcing. Despite this, I still found the session really useful as I managed to find out how a career session would be like and the companies that are in the cybersecurity industry.
But I did go to the career networking session with an open mind, thus still looking for an internship opportunity. I went to the various booths set up there and enquired about their company then the internship roles they offered. This allowed me to roughly gauge the kind of roles and job tasks would be required of me and the skillset I would need to possess to be eligible for the role.
I did collect brochures and the name cards whenever an interesting internship role was available. By doing so, I could research more about the internship role and upgrade myself accordingly as I know that is the industry standard required of me. This would also be a bonus for me when I apply via IMS for an internship as I know what would be expected of me roughly and I can be prepared for it.
V. What are the job roles that best matched your skillsets? Which companies offered those job roles?
I felt that one of the internship opportunities at V-Key was the one that best matched not only my skillset but also my interests. I have a passion in mobile security and forensics and at the same time, I love to research on things to find out about the latest trend and such. V-Key offered the job role known as Security Researcher.
Under this role, I would be tasked to research into advanced threats in mobile phone operating systems and applications in both Android and iOS. I would also be required to assist in developing protection mechanisms through reverse engineering, vulnerability research, exploitations etc. Last but not least, support in the effort to create and improve vulnerability signatures, perform penetration testing, script attacks and defences for V-Key’s products/applications.
Through modules such as Digital Forensics (DF), Mobile Security & Forensics (MDSF), Web-Application Penetration Testing (WAPT), Reverse Engineering Malware (REM), various programming modules such as Python, C# etc. and Ethical Hacking (EH), I feel that I am strongly equipped with all the skills and knowledge to sign up for this internship offer. The modules have given me exposure to mobile operating systems, app development, tools such as IDA-Pro, penetration testing and much more.
VI. Suggest 2 ways how we can improve the networking event seamlessly.
1. Increase in the number of booths
Even though there was a variety, there wasn’t a lot. The booths were insufficient to cater to all of us. For just ISF, the 60 students there had to look around the 4-5 booths and that wasn’t very efficient. It would have been better if there were at least 10 companies setting up booths so we could have gained more exposure. Furthermore, change of location would be nice. Level 5 is way too small to hold a networking session, especially with more than 60 students and staff present. All of these changes would allow students to be able to talk to the company staff easily, and there would not be a situation where 10-15 students would be talking to one employer at one go. Also, these changes would allow us students to pitch ourselves and give our CVs to companies as there wouldn’t be an overwhelming crowd and the employer would have time for us. Hence, having more booths and at a bigger location would be the best improvement this session could have.
2. Slot based allocation for classes
Since the overcrowding and tight space was a result of high student traffic, this can be controlled by allocating slots for students to visit the booths. It can either be same day shifts or different days. Each class can get about 1-2 hours to check out the booths and talk to the employers. 20 students roaming about would not cause as much issues and the flow of the session would be much smoother.
VII. Other relevant comments
Since there was a lot of difficulty with communicating with the people from the industry during the Networking Session, it is extremely vital that the school arranges for us industry visits like the university visit so that we can gain better exposure of the industry. Visits of these sorts are extremely beneficial for us as we can take a look at the environment of the school/companies, know much more about their culture and the ease of asking questions would be easier.