Summer Internship Experience — 2018

Around end of May 2018, I get a message from Mr. Wasim Halani, the head of Research & Innovations at Network Intelligence India asking me whether I would be interested to intern at NII as a python developer. This indeed was a HUGE opportunity for me to kick off my career — considering I always wished to work in cyber security based organization! Accepting the offer right away, I started interning the very next day my last exam ended.

From the very beginning I had made up my mind to not only grasp as much as I can technically in these two months but also network as much as possible and somehow try to learn about the experiences people have had over the past year(s) working in this field. I was lucky enough to be a part of what I would say the most chilled out and happening team in my office. Every person had a different story to tell and different lesson to teach. Here’s a brief of it all.

Role models who push us to exceed our limits, physical training that removes our spare tires, and risks that expand our sphere of comfortable action are all examples of eustress — stress that is healthful and the stimulus for growth. — Tim Ferris

I would start off with Mr. Chetan Nayak — he’s a senior cyber security specialist at NII and what I would call a jack of all in terms of cyber security. Being intimidated by him on the very first day because of overhearing the difficulty of the questions being asked in a telephonic interview he was taking of a person applying for a job at NII, I somehow manage to strike a conversation with him in the later half of the day and realize he isn’t all that scary after all. If I had to say one take away from Mr. Chetan in these two months, it would easily be this one line which he mentioned during our coffee break discussions —

Strive to be the smartest person in every room you enter & even if you’re not, make others feel you are

Apart from this, he also mentored me in the field of malware development and I got a chance to work closely on a malware which he’s developing! Mr. Chetan on the outside looks scary to approach at first, however if you do take your time to build your relations correct he can be the most helpful person in the field.

Mr. Wasim, our team lead & some one whom I used to report to on a daily basis, taught an easily overlooked essential in software development. It might sound trivial, but we learnt unit testing the hard way. Everyday we would go about building a new and exciting feature under the guidance of Mr. Wasim and it would take him a minute or two at the most to break it. However, never did we see him getting irritated/annoyed by the buggy code practices which we started off with. Mr. Wasim is an extremely calm headed person.

Next up we have Mr. Arranya & Madhukar. On the surface, they look like extremely naive, however just after a couple of days I realize they are the most chilled out people in the team! This doesn’t necessarily mean they lack skillset. One or two weeks in, once we actually start talking more, I could actually learn a lot from them. I worked closely with Mr. Arranya towards the last few weeks of my internship as I was building a module which would essentially to do some heavy lifting for him in terms of network monitoring and alert generation — the insights provided by him were immensely helpful and helped me save a lot of time which I would have spent reinventing the wheel. I would say both of them are extremely smart individuals however neither of them has had a chance to actually use their skills in professional life to the full extent.

Our team also had a Machine Learning sub team. Of them, Mr. Sahil Bali and Mr. Arjun were really good friends. They provided real great insights in actually employing machine learning practically. Arjun infact did help me out when I was just getting started with machine learning, giving an optimal path which was a balance between practical implementation and the math.

Keval Nagda — a friend from college was my team mate at NII. He essentially taught me crux of Django (A web framework for python) as before this internship I used to work majorly on PHP & ReactJS. It was a learning experience for both of us and if I had to summarize it all into one sentence it would easily be something like —

The worth of an interning experience can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable situations you have been put through

The two of us, being completely naive about ELK at the start of June are now capable of making scalable solutions using the stack. This says a lot about Mr Wasim, putting us under just enough pressure that we don’t slack off but also that we don’t end up facing a burn out.

Speaking about the company, I had a very good time personally. The company did host events throughout the two months I interned, including taking us to aquamagica, team lunches, etc.

Concluding, I would definitely say it was a worth it experience to work under Mr. Wasim and the team. I did get to learn a lot outside my actual work and most importantly, got actual insights as to how the field works and made some great contacts in the process. All the best to the Innovations and Research team with their upcoming projects!

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