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One of the key experiences recommended to me during my time as a student is doing an internship. As an MSc student at Leiden University, I had the possibility to enroll in an elective course called Data-driven Policy Making, which has dealt with the impact of data- and technology-driven innovations on the life of citizens. This course has awakened my interest in technology, and I have decided to look for an internship that is related to this field. This is how I have found the hardwear.io team who are focusing on creating high-quality trainings and conferences for hardware security enthusiasts. After a few rounds of interviews, I became part of the team in January 2020. Even though I don’t have a background in a technological field, the hardwear.io team believed that during this internship I will be able to catch up and have the necessary knowledge for carrying out my tasks. Additionally, they have always supported me in completing my studies, since they have always been very flexible with my working schedule so that I could attend all my courses and exams.

A highlight of the internship so far is that I was given various tasks which have all helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses and which are the types of work that I would like to do more after completing the internship (such as focusing more on administrative tasks or meeting people and promoting our trainings and conferences). Among the tasks that I have had to do are analyzing previous hardwear.io trainings and conferences, creating pitches on promoting the conference for potential audience, and I could even start contacting people both online (through LinkedIn) and in real-life (for instance, I have attended the UK-NL Cyber & FinTech Summit in The Hague). Due to the current situation, we have moved our hardwear.io USA conference into the online realm and have been working hard on creating our first hardwear.io Virtual Conference. It has been really nice to see how the team with people from multiple countries can work together so smoothly even when facing such a difficult situation.

The first three months of my internship have been both a professional and personal journey for me through which I could learn a lot about sales and business in the technology field, but where I could also learn more about myself and about which tasks suit me best, preparing me for the upcoming work tasks after completing the internship. I am now curious to see what the second half of the internship will bring and to learn as many new things as possible.