From Intern To Cyber Professional – Building A Career At Parsons
The Beginning– My Internship
In 2013, during my freshman year at George Mason University, I started my summer internship with Parsons Corporation as a Software Developer/Engineer. Little did I know that this internship would later turn into a full-time job that I love.
My boss, who later turned into my mentor, was great from day one. He introduced himself, the company, the client-facing project I would be working on, as well as everyone else in our office. On the first day of my internship, he took me to lunch and asked me to give him a “deep dive” into my interests, career goals, and prospects after this internship. One important question I did ask was “when does this internship end?” His answer shocked me. “The internship ends when you want it to end, as long as you do a good job and we want to continue with you, and you with us.” From that day forward, I knew that in order for me to be successful in the internship program and to gain invaluable experience was to work, learn, and execute as if I was already a full-time employee – my mindset needed to be in it to win it.
Throughout the internship, I got to interface with our Air Force client; walk onto military bases and into the Pentagon; work with some of the smartest Software, Systems, and Test Engineers; work on some very interesting projects; as well as meet executives and others who would play an important role in my future.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was being able to apply my coursework knowledge to the processes and technologies I was responsible for in the internship. For the first time, I could feel myself learning and growing.
Working While Studying
After the summer internship was over, I was extended to work while still in school. I was able to continue working on the same projects (Air Force International Affairs) as well as on new projects such as Big Data Research on the Semantic Technologies Team and a naval cyber proposal in a business development setting in which, I was the Cyber Security Technical Lead (and we won).
As I was growing in my career, my interest in my studies grew as well. While in the classroom, I would try to see how a concept could be used in my area of work, and how my current work experience could verify the coursework being taught. I appreciated higher education more due to my parallel work responsibilities. Moreover, my bosses allocated some funding for my professional development. This included training for certification, which excelled in my career after graduation.
I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2016. A year later, due to the experience I had gained and the funded training provided by Parsons, I received my PMP, CISSP, and CISM certifications.
Continuing With Parsons – My Career Post-Internship
There are many reasons why I chose to stay at Parsons after my internship. The first is the people I work with. They are extremely smart, great teachers, they care, and they’re just fun to be around. Leadership is also another reason I chose to pursue a career with Parsons. They have a vision for the outlook of the company which has allowed them to grow from a 10,000 person company when I started, to now a 17,000+ company within six years. Leadership understands the need for their employees to continuously grow. They have tuition reimbursement programs and funding allocated form professional development activities such as certification training and achievement. Furthermore, Parsons paid for most of my Master’s degree.
The career opportunity I was given was great in terms of growing my role and experiencing other roles as well. I spent three weeks as an employee in the Corporate PMO and later realized I prefer working in research and development. Anywhere else, you may have to switch companies to learn that, but not here at Parsons. There are programs within the organization to help you grow and develop your career as well, such as speed mentoring with the executives and the Early Management Acceleration Program.
The different projects that I’ve been on have been very exciting. Besides my main project with the Air Force International Affairs Directorate, I’ve worked on a nationwide network integration project after an acquisition; two mentor protégé projects where Parsons helped small businesses grow in the defense space; and most recently an international cyber project in the UAE.
The truth is, I love it here. The people are great, the leadership is great, the projects are exciting, the travel is an experience, and the work I’m doing is both fun and technologically advancing forward every day.”
The New Benefits – How Parsons is Caring for Their Employees
Technology changes, market changes, and employee needs change. Parsons has updated its cyber employee benefits and they are really good! These are the summary of some of the 2020 changes:
- Flex Time (work 50 hours this week, 30 hours the next – If you want to)
- Floating Holidays (use holiday pay when you want to!)
- New Cyber Employees get 4 weeks of Vacation; Stay at least 5 years and get 5 weeks!
- Paid Parental Leave
- Paid Military Leave
- Great Medical, Dental, and Vision Plans
As an employee, this makes me happy to see the company cares about its employees’ voice, health, and well-being.
Be Part Of Our Growing, Caring, And Innovative Team!
Parsons is growing fast. If you want to grow your career, be part of an amazing team, work on the latest and greatest technologies and problems, and or want to execute your innovative ideas – Parsons wants to hear from you. Check out our open positions here: https://www-dev.parsons.com/careers/