Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering

Chris Lakin, Class of 2017

Can you tell me about your background and how you came to work for Rhino Security Labs?

I came to work for Rhino Security Labs because of the perfect blend of my past experience with my recent completion of the Cyber Security Engineering master’s degree. My background is in marketing and working with high growth startups. My degree from UW gave me the technical knowledge I needed to enter the cybersecurity industry and land me a job with Rhino Security Labs.

What is a typical day in the life of your position?

There is no typical day in my position, which is what I like about it. Working within a small team requires me to wear a lot of hats and have a breadth of knowledge. If I had a typical day, it would include create marketing campaigns, executing security assessments, automating processes and engaging with our customer base.

When you were in the master’s program did you have a summer internship? What was your internship search like?

Yes at Group Health, now Kaiser Permanente. My role was an Enterprise Security Intern working in Enterprise Security Operations, where I automated infrastructure configurations using Chef to scale the use of network security monitoring tools.

It was a struggle getting noticed. I submitted at least 10–15, but probably closer to 25–30 total applications in my search process.

What has been your most valuable experience at Rhino Security Labs so far, and why?

I can't express how important a good team is to your experience at an organization. I'm currently working with some of the brightest and forward-thinking individuals in the cyber security field. Every day is a learning experience. There is a difference between learning something in the classroom, and applying it to real life.

What can a first-year graduate student be doing to prepare themselves for a career in your field?

Start meeting people in the industry sooner rather than later. Networking events are intimidating and easy to skip, but they are vital to jump-starting your career. I committed to regularly attending professional development meetings every month to bump elbows with people in the industry. If I hadn't of met my now co-workers at one of these event, I don't know where or if I would currently have a job.

Get your resume together now, and start looking and applying for jobs early. The interview process can take months, so if you're looking for an internship in the summer, start researching in the fall.

What do you know now that you wished you’d known when you were in the position of an incoming first year graduate student?

I wish I had written more code and started my own side projects. I always had ideas for scripts and small applications. I just wished I put forth more energy to implement them because it would've made it easier to show and demonstrate my skillset to prospective companies.

If you were an incoming graduate student again, what would you do in your first year to maximize your chance of breaking into your industry, field, or function?

Have a plan. It is okay for that plan to change, but you need to have some direction and goals to achieve.