May 1, 2021

Just accepted Internship – any advice (Imposter Syndrome?)

Hi everyone, I just accepted a highly competitive cybersecurity internship for a large U.S retailer that begins next month, is there any advice you can give me?? I’m quite anxious/nervous to begin as it’s my first internship, starting to get imposter syndrome a bit and I really wanna show my passion for this field, any advice? Or is this quite normal? Thanks!



It sounds like you’re excited about both the company and the field from this post, so just translate that into paying attention at work. It’s normal to feel excited and nervous before you start something new, and it sounds like this is new for you.

As far as imposter syndrome goes, most organizations don’t expect interns to know very much, so you’ll be fine. Enjoy the ride!


Don’t talk too much and talk yourself down. Everyone has to start somewhere. Goodluck and hang in there.


Take notes. For everything. Everything someone tells you, note it down.

Ask questions. That’s what you’re there for. Nobody will think that you ask so many questions because you don’t know shit (or rather, that’s pretty much expected), everyone will remember you for your willingness to learn. You want that.

Network. Get to meet people, shake hands (ok, don’t shake hands in the pandemic… figure of speech, you know what I mean). Talk to people.

This is certainly not going to help with your anxiety, but always remember that this is essentially more a long job interview rather than actual work. They want to know whether you’d maybe fit into the company. So that you got that internship is a good sign, they already think you could fit into their teams, now all you have to do is reel it in.

As stated above, nobody expects you to know much. Anything you know IS already a plus. That guy knows how to use our intercepting proxy? He knows Python? He knows how to read Wireshark output? These aren’t things that are expected, these are things that will make heads turn and get a satisfied nod. Not knowing them won’t get an exasperated “really?” sigh but is expected and will get you to learn them. Again: ANYTHING you know is an asset. NOTHING you don’t know is a failure.

I don’t hire you as a senior pentester. If I do, and if you don’t know a TCP from a UDP packet at a glance and think logging happens in the woods, I’ll question your seniority. As an intern, I expect you to learn. I expect you to ask questions. I expect you to show interest in what I tell you. What I’d hope for is that you catch on quickly.

There is absolutely NO way anyone could think you’re an imposter. You’re an intern. What could I expect from you that you only pretend to do and know?

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