Cybersecurity Internships in 2023

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If you’re considering a career in cybersecurity, you’ve come to the right place. The job market is booming with thousands of open positions across the country and around the world. From analysts and penetration testers to cybersecurity consultants and engineers, the need for skilled professionals is great, but where do you start if you don’t have the required experience?

You’ve likely heard that an internship is an excellent career steppingstone, and for good reason — it provides valuable, hands-on experience and offers connections to other industry professionals who may be able to help in your job search.

In this guide, we discuss the typical responsibilities of a cybersecurity internship and general requirements. You’ll also find a list of helpful resources and the best places to apply to get your cybersecurity career rolling.

Internship Responsibilities

Types of Internships



Best Places to Apply


What Does a Cybersecurity Intern Do?

A successful internship provides a combination of hands-on experience, knowledge and mentorship. The exact responsibilities will differ depending on the company and the position, but here is an overview of typical cybersecurity internship responsibilities, courtesy of Coursera:

  • Security testing
  • Monitoring inbound security data
  • Responding to minor security events
  • Assessing networks for security vulnerabilities
  • Researching threats and the latest cybersecurity trends
  • Assisting with the design of security solutions
  • Working on related projects as assigned

Real-life examples pulled directly from internship postings on LinkedIn include:

  • Help respond to security alerts from various detection platforms and work to better automate the processes.
  • Monitor threat and vulnerability reports and determine the best course of action.
  • Assist with a broad range of information security disciplines including responding to client audits, third party risk assessments, business continuity planning, data loss prevention, and cybersecurity risk management.
  • May assist in the development and distribution of security awareness materials.

Types of Cybersecurity Internships

There are varying parameters and time commitments when it comes to these types of programs. Let’s examine the different types of internships:

  • Paid internships. Many companies are increasingly recognizing the value of a paid internship, especially when it comes to recruiting and hiring potential employees. The compensation may be lower than an entry-level salary, but a paid internship is an ideal choice for those interested in advancing their cybersecurity career, especially current undergraduate students or graduate students who are looking for a source of income. Plus, paid internships are 52% more likely to result in a full-time job offer.
    • Unpaid internships. Some internships will offer college credit in lieu of a paycheck (it’s best if you can find a position, however, that offers both.) Unpaid internships are more common in non-profit, social service and government areas.
      • Internships for college credit. These types of internship programs are approved by the college or university and may be paid or unpaid. They may take place over the course of a semester or during the summer break.
  • Summer internships. These types of popular internships are a good fit for undergraduate or full-time graduate students who have a break during the year. Many summer internships are full-time and paid — the equivalent of a summer job.
    • Externships. An externship is similar to an internship but is typically shorter and occurs during the school year, often as part of the curriculum. Students will usually job shadow, learn about the day-to-day activities and work on small projects.

Benefits of a Cybersecurity Internship

About 300,000 people take part year in an internship. In general, it’s an excellent way to boost your resume and make connections.

When it comes to cybersecurity, an internship can provide hands-on experience and demonstrates your commitment to furthering your career. Networking and meeting others within the cybersecurity industry allows you to find mentors and colleagues who may serve as references (or important job connections!) down the line.

Plus, internship programs often serve as a recruitment tool for new employees. In fact, 70% of interns are hired following their internship.

Cybersecurity Internship Requirements

Specific requirements will depend on the position, type of internship and company or organization. Most, if not all, internships will typically require current enrollment or recent completion of a certificate or degree program related to cybersecurity (such as computer science, information systems, cybersecurity or a related IT discipline).

Some internships may have a minimum cumulative GPA requirement and ask that you work a certain number of hours per week.

If you’re interested in a government or defense contractor internship, you may need a security clearance.

Here is a sample of requirements from cybersecurity internships recently posted on LinkedIn:

  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Strong analytical and basic research skills
  • Basic understanding of computer networking technology
  • Proven leadership and business acumen skills
  • Demonstrated passion in networking or cybersecurity

Best Places to Apply for a Cybersecurity Internship

The good news — there is no shortage of cybersecurity internships available! Start with job and internship websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Chegg Internships, WayUp, The Intern Group and Global Experiences.

You can also research top cybersecurity companies (or companies you’re interested in) to see if they offer internship programs. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Companies and organizations across all industries (not just in the tech and IT sectors) are offering internship programs and looking for skilled cybersecurity professionals. For example, companies that have recently posted cybersecurity internships include:

  • Major League Baseball
  • Disney
  • The Home Depot
  • Nationwide Insurance
  • US Foods

If you still aren’t sure where to begin, these internships are a good starting point:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average compensation for a paid internship?

The compensation for paid internships will vary. Many companies offer an hourly or weekly rate, which should be included with the internship posting. If it isn’t, and the position is advertised as a paid one, it’s best to obtain the compensation in writing before signing on.

Which company is the best for a cybersecurity internship?

There is no one right answer — it depends on your career goals, interests and the type of internship you’re looking for. Do your research and see if you can find reviews of an internship program, or talk with other students, colleagues or professors who may be able to recommend a particular company or organization.

Do I need coding experience for a cybersecurity internship?

In most cases, no, but more advanced internships may require this type of experience. Either way, the internship requirements should be clear on the position’s listing.

Can I get a remote cybersecurity internship?

Remote and hybrid positions are available. For example, Chegg Internships has a section dedicated solely to remote internships across all industries.

How should I prepare for a cybersecurity internship interview?

Think of an internship as a job interview. Research the company or organization ahead of time and practice interviewing with a friend or family member. (You can find plenty of internship interview questions online.) Whether the interview is in person or remote, dress appropriately and arrive on time. Also, remember to be polite and come prepared with your own questions.

This internship guide was brought to you by the University of San Diego, which offers two advanced degrees in cybersecurity.

The Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership, which is 100% online, is ideal for professionals who are interested in gaining leadership skills and a deeper understanding of cybersecurity topics, theories and concepts.

USD’s Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering is geared toward those with an engineering background who aspire to become security engineers. Offered both online and in person, this program has been designated as a National Center for Academic Excellence.

If you’re interested in learning more about whether an advanced degree is the right move, we invite you to check out our free eBook — Getting a Degree in Cyber Security: 8 Important Considerations.

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