Double interview – two American students complete internship at ASTech

Gaimersheim – Tyler and Nicholas from Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont (US) completed a three-month internship at ASTech. The two students were supervised by Timo, head of Functional Security. Although ASTech has a very international workforce, Tyler and Nicholas are the first American students to work at the company, an exciting development that prompted us to spontaneously invite them to an interview. In the interview, the two talk about the internship, their specific tasks and responsibilities and their experiences during their time at ASTech.

Editors: Welcome to both of you! From the US to tranquil Gaimersheim is quite a way to travel. Where are the two of you from originally and what are you studying?
I’m from Topeka, Kansas and I’m double majoring in computer and digital forensics and networking cyber security with an emphasis on ethical hacking at Champlain College in Burlington Vermont.
Tyler: I’m in the same program as Nicholas studying computer and digital forensics, but I’m specializing in the area of cyber security. I was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, which is on the southern border of the state near Boston.

How did you find out about ASTech? How did the application process work?
ComCode, a company in Munich, visited our school at the end of 2018. They were looking for students who were interested in an internship at German companies. That sounded exciting to me.
Nicholas: The option to complete an overseas internship sounded like a great experience, so just like Tyler, I applied to ComCode. They sent our applications to suitable companies in Germany. And they ended up at ASTech, so ComCode invited both of us to a telephone interview. The interview went really well. It wasn’t long before we received the offers, which we both accepted. The whole thing took less than six months, from the initial contact to our first day at ASTech on May 20. It was very fast, professional and well-organized.

How was your start at ASTech? Did you become quickly acclimated?
Absolutely. Everything functioned just great at the beginning. The atmosphere at ASTech is very pleasant and the infrastructure, including the new building, is first-rate. I was given my own height-adjustable desk and all the materials I need to do my job. The staff is just great here. Everyone is friendly, outgoing and always willing to give you tips and advice, even for outside of work.
Nicholas: I totally agree with Tyler. Getting started at ASTech is fast, uncomplicated and the people are open-minded and very kind. That makes it really easy for you.

What were you specific responsibilities during your internship?
Nicholas and I were assigned to the Quality and Functional Safety team. We initially carried out research on the issue of cyber security standards in Germany. Once we had collected all of the necessary theoretical information, we then conducted multilevel interviews with people in various departments. This involved finding out whether ASTech employees are familiar with cyber security processes in their day-to-day jobs and take them into account. We merged their responses together and compared them with the industry requirements that we researched at the beginning. This allowed us to then create an in-depth analysis of the current status of cyber security at ASTech in order to identify the vulnerabilities and pinpoint potential threats.
Nicholas: This week we presented our research and the recommendations, which ASTech can use to come up with a roadmap and a concrete timeline for implementing the cyber security requirements, to the entire ASTech management team. It’s now up to them to implement them in succession.

Editors: How do you like ASTech? How did you find working at ASTech (keyword corporate culture)?
Besides the exciting topics that we were allowed to work on, what I especially enjoyed was the numerous events that ASTech organizes for its employees every year. There were three events in June alone: the Corporate Run, the Team Event and the Summer Party. That’s really something special.
Tyler: Working at ASTech is terrific. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is helpful and really tries to make you feel integrated and at home at the company – not only at work, but outside of work as well. Since everyone seems to speak English here, it wasn’t difficult for us to integrate ourselves in the ASTech world and be able to work, even without being able to speak German. You simply realize that although ASTech is a small-to-medium enterprise, it’s still an international company that is open-minded toward its employees.

Did you feel at home here?
Tyler und Nicholas (simultaneously): Yes! Definitely!

How does ASTech differ from working at American companies?
Nicholas: To be honest, I really don’t see a big difference here. As I said before, I find it really easy to get to know the people here and exchange views with them. It’s a lot like at home. What’s different is the number of vacation days and public holidays in Germany. It’s a lot more than what we have.
Tyler: I agree with Nicholas. Just like in the US, here at ASTech you can talk to your colleagues about just anything. Since ASTech is a small-to-medium enterprise, you are involved right from the start, you receive your specific tasks and can work independently. That’s a good thing, because if you’re only here for three months, you want to get started right away and not lose any time.

Would you sign-up for another internship at ASTech?
Tyler: Sure! On the one hand, thematically speaking, I believe ASTech has a lot of potential and I would definitely consider taking a position with them in the future. And on the other, thanks to ASTech, I received a great opportunity to work in an industry that I had never been exposed to before. My three months here were a totally positive experience.
Nicholas: Of course! I think the automobile industry is absolutely exciting and I see that it holds a lot of potential when it comes to cyber security. That makes it very interesting for me. If I had the chance to work here again as a student or a fulltime employee, I would not hesitate. The experience exceeded all of my expectations.

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Our US American students Nicholas (left) and Tyler being interviewed about their internship at ASTech.