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Reflecting on the Obsidian Internship Experience

Obsidian loves interns! We offer year-round, paid internships for students and fresh graduates who want to improve their coding chops while helping to solve the biggest challenges in cybersecurity today.

With the year drawing to a close, we spoke with two of our interns, Raghu Chavali and Sarvesh Rajkumar, to get their take on the Obsidian internship experience. Raghu graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and Sarvesh graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

How much did you know about cybersecurity before Obsidian?

Raghu: This is my first cybersecurity internship so I approached the experience with an open mind. I knew it would be challenging but I was ready to embrace the intensity of the job. I hadn’t already known a lot about cyber threats so I was alarmed to learn about how rampant account compromise is today. The monthly security and privacy training modules we take are helpful; there are best practices I now apply in my own life, like using password managers and MFA.

Sarvesh: I had the gist of the problem space from when I spoke with Obsidian and thought it would be an immersive opportunity for me. Having worked here for a few months, I now realize that cloud security has more challenges to tackle than I could have predicted. The problem we’re trying to solve is so novel that nothing I learned in school could have prepared me for what the industry is up against. Data science in cybersecurity is not like the traditional models taught in school, so I’m thankful for the level of mentorship available to me here.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in your internship?

Raghu: It has to be the transition from applying machine learning concepts in the field of natural language processing and robotics to working in cybersecurity. Though there has been a steep learning curve, I am pleased with how much I’ve accomplished in the last five months: I’ve produced industry level code, identified and solved the source of bugs, and learned a lot about cloud security along the way. In the remaining weeks I’ll be pushing myself to achieve the best results and improving my presentation skills.

Sarvesh: Understanding the various APIs across services and consolidating them into a unified model has been a challenging and gratifying process. Since starting at Obsidian, I’ve improved my production level software engineering skills substantially. Beyond learning to write efficient code, I have exercised my skills in data modelling and cleaning. Because we’re building a new solution, there is sometimes healthy conflict around how to best organize the data. Working with some degree of ambiguity has helped me become an agile learner.  

Please share advice for young grads hoping to break into the cybersecurity industry.

Raghu: For people who are similarly making the jump from different fields into software engineering, seek mentorship and embrace the attitude of a doer. Keeping yourself updated on the current literature and taking up extra modules are steps in the right direction. Perseverance and diligence has gotten me to where I am today.

Sarvesh: If you know cybersecurity is where you want to go, take specialized courses like data engineering and data science for cybersecurity, or become proficient in skills like threat detection and incident response.

Thank you Raghu and Sarvesh for your investment in Obsidian. We wish you the best of luck in your careers!