CrowdStrike Intern-turned-Engineer Thy Ton on the Never-ending Learning Cycle
When making the transition from intern to employee, one of the most common challenges people have is gaining access to higher-level, meaningful work — but not at CrowdStrike. Our interns are part of the team from Day One. They don’t do “busy work,” they work on real projects alongside senior engineers.
But don’t take our word for it. Hear directly from Thy Ton, one of our interns-turned-full-time-engineer on what the CrowdStrike experience is really like.
Q. How did you get into computer engineering, and into cybersecurity more specifically?
I started as a math major in university — I love math! But I was mainly interested in applying math theory to real-world problems. There aren’t many jobs out there where you can do that. When I came to study in the United States from Vietnam, one of my friends was taking a class in computer science. I saw how she could apply small rules of algebra into the program. And I thought, “I want to try that.” I fell in love with the first class that I took in computer science and decided to switch majors.
I was introduced to the internship program at CrowdStrike through a career fair at my university. What drew me to the job was that it involves multi-cloud environments, which I assumed meant that I would be working with microservices. That sounded really interesting to me — how you optimize all of the services, how you organize a pipeline, how you scale it. I like working with infrastructure and organizing the communications between services. I didn’t have much experience in that, but that’s what I really wanted to learn.
Q. How would you describe the transition from intern to full-time employee? What is different about being an engineer versus an intern?
I became a full-time employee in July 2020. So the transition is still ongoing. But it doesn’t feel that different, really. Interns have the opportunity to do real work. For example, in my internship I was writing a redistributor that reproduces events from lagging Kafka topic partitions to healthier ones. It’s useful for when a Kafka consumer has slowed down and its message handling takes a long time. I think the only real difference that I see as an engineer is that I now have access to the product environments. That’s not something that interns are asked to work on, which is great because there’s less pressure.
One thing that’s definitely not different is the level of interaction I have with my team. We still meet regularly and have a lot of meetings and touchpoints so we can maintain a sense of team building and constant learning.
Q. What is the learning process like at CrowdStrike?
CrowdStrike has a really positive learning environment. One of the ways interns learn is by shadowing a senior engineer and observing how they react to the cloud incidents. That was really helpful for me because I learned how they think, how they analyze the problem and what steps they take. Of course, as senior engineers, they also have a better understanding of the architecture and how the microservices communicate. So it’s a great opportunity to learn in a real-world environment.
Since shadowing some people here, I’ve learned a lot about how to organize the code in terms of what it would mean to mediums. There are idiomatic ways to write the code so that other engineers can maintain that code or update it more easily later. I really appreciate the knowledge the team has shared with me.
Q. What advice would you offer to people who are just starting out in cybersecurity?
The projects that I worked on didn’t involve security, technically speaking. But the biggest thing I learned was how to be more careful about dealing with errors and handling errors because a lot of the work involves microservices. Since the data comes from external services, that can make another service behave in a weird or unexpected way. So I would say, if you want to work in this industry, my biggest piece of advice is: Always check for errors.
Q. What do you like most about working at CrowdStrike?
The thing I love most about my job is the challenge. It can be scary sometimes, doing work that feels so important, but I take that as a good sign because it pushes me to apply myself. I know myself. If I don’t put in a lot of effort, if I didn’t have that push, I would fail.
So it goes without saying that working here is really rewarding. I can see the impact of my work. I have a chance to see how my project and the work I do can help solve a customer’s problem. That’s a good feeling.
Are you interested in joining our team of interns? Browse our job listings to review open positions at CrowdStrike today.