My time here at Black Hills Information Security has been short so far, but I believe it’s been the most important four months of my computer science and security career.
I started at the end of last semester, so sometime in April. At the time I thought I was way in over my head, and I guess I kind of was. I didn’t know the first thing about security. I was super stressed coming in and felt like I knew nothing. I mean, if I made any wrong step the entire company could go down! I was just a freshman! But that stress really didn’t last long. Everyone here made me feel welcome. And with an office of around ten people, I can confidently say everyone helped me out.
I knew Logan previously throughout my year with the robotics lab and UAS, so he sat down with me and showed me the ropes. Even better, he answered most of the questions that I had. He said he shared my initial experience, not knowing things and not knowing how to find out. But he assured me that it’s okay to not know, and it’s okay to ask questions. That was when I started to relax. I knew this was going to be great.
Okay, so relaxing didn’t last too long. I was thrown into a project so big it could swallow me whole, and I had to get on top of my game. Lawrence played a key role here, in not only presenting me with challenges that I saw initially impossible, but showed me ways to solve them, in a clever and effective manner. One of the biggest takeaways from working on the project was how to write code that was clean and fast enough to work with everyone else’s code. It’s hard to learn how to do that kind of programming in classes, and extremely hard to actually see it in action. In one piece, my program went from taking 36 hours to run through to about 5 hours. I nearly fainted. Lawrence also taught me how to make computers work for me more than I worked for it. If I had to learn only one thing here, it’s that sed and awk are crazy powerful.
The other interns here were also extremely welcoming. When everyone else would go home to their lives, the interns would stay behind. And after the last person left, we’d gather in the “intern cave” and share stories as the computer tower made the room a sauna. I heard about insane hacks people made, what conventions we go to, who we’ve worked with, and of course, we gossiped. But this is where I learned about how this fascinating company came to be and some of it’s history in the security world. Everyone in the room loved the company, and was very happy being here. I now feel the same way.
I’m not as in over my head as I used to be, and I probably never was. I just didn’t know how to deal with the problems being presented to me. I learned how to do good work for this company, and I learned how to be a better computer scientist. I’ll graduate someday and know that I would never be where I am without Black Hills Information Security. In light of this, I’d like to thank everyone in the Rapid City office and anywhere else in the company for their support and knowledge! This place wouldn’t be the same without you.