My Internship Experience In The National Security Agency

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The internship that I will be applying for is hosted within the National Security Agency (NSA), the intelligence center for the United States Department of Defense. Responsible for the cybersecurity, data collection, monitoring, and protection of networks or information systems. The company has a wide range of jobs and internships available due to the broad measures required to complete a mission, also known as a work task in the force of protection of country and allies. The agency was formed in 1952 formally by President Harry S. Truman, but the roots of the agency reach all the way back to 1917. The original reason for formation was to decipher codes during the first World War, the unit was set within Washington D.C with the primary purpose of decryption of enemy force’s messages and plans. The unit dawned another title, becoming known as the Cipher Bureau, in 1919. Thus, becoming the first peacetime organization primed for cryptanalytic study. The committee continued to be active in WW2, Vietnam, and other times of need until the present time.

Each employee within the agency must go through a thorough screening process and a polygraph. Measures are to secure the protection of information that is given to employees and to discover any undercover forces such as spies or people who may be prone to coercion. The company is highly classified for the protection of all persons residing within the country, therefore the current number of workers within the force is classified. The core values of each employed within the company are ‘commitment to service’, ‘respect for the law’, ’integrity’, ‘transparency’, ‘respect for people', and ‘accountability.

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The internship I will be applying for is the Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations, also known as the CAE-Cyber Ops, summer internship program. This internship is geared towards introducing the vital role of computer science in solving technological issues, providing hands-on experience labs and a focus on real-world problems. The goal is to gain experience and work towards the goal of real-time solutions for data analysis and exploitation.

This internship has many qualification factors within the playing field, such as the need for programming/operating systems/networking, a GPA of 3.0 or higher, eligibility for a security clearance, and must be a sophomore within the college. Therefore, I will not be applying for this internship until next year to fill in with the college year requirement. This is a fully paid internship with benefits like sick and annual leave, and due to it being a military/government job, you get federal holidays off. The pay is competitive based on experience and education levels, which means you may start at a higher step within the GS pay scale. The location of this internship is within Fort Meade, Maryland and they do offer subsidized housing with other interns that are also working within these internship fields.

For this internship, I will need to make sure I pass all my classes and hold a GPA of over 3.0 until the time of application, and preferably over the 3.0 minimum to stay competitive. I will also need to brush up with my own C++ skills and take a class or two within the realm of C programming. These classes will benefit my own degree also as they are required within my class schedules. Other things I would need to get ready for is to move to Maryland for a summer, deciding if I want to stay with friends/family or apply for housing from the government.

My experience for the career fair was okay at most, I had to miss the STEM dedicated one due to conflicts within my schedule. The general career fair did not have many things I would personally look into, but I did have conversations with the representatives of TECH USA, a state government affiliation, and a couple of car brands. The only one that piqued my interest was the state government, but I do not live within South Carolina out of the school year therefore doing anything within the state may prove difficult. I do know of some internships that are back where I live, such as ones with Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Included at the end of this essay has my resume and my class schedule for validation on why I could not go to the main STEM career fair. 

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