At ReliaQuest, everything we do supports our mission to Make Security Possible. That includes our technology, the way we show up in the community, and the way we invest in building future generations of cybersecurity talent.

The ReliaQuest Labs program at the University of South Florida (USF), a first-of-its-kind program established in 2018, gives students real-world experience with cybersecurity technologies and fundamentals of network infrastructure to complement the curriculum they are learning in the classroom.

ReliaQuest is uniquely positioned to deliver this experience, given the company’s 15+ years of experience working with enterprise security teams and the myriad of security tools and technologies that integrate with its GreyMatter security operations platform.

More than 300 USF students have graduated from the ReliaQuest Labs program since its inception, with 44 graduating in the latest cohort in spring of 2024. Roughly 90% of students who complete the program are offered jobs after graduation, many with ReliaQuest and others with cybersecurity teams of other large organizations.

ReliaQuest Labs program featured in Fortune Magazine

In such a dynamic and fast-paced field as cybersecurity, it’s essential that students entering the job market have a mix of both theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience.

One such student is Tyler Carrichner, who completed the ReliaQuest Labs program this spring and has already been offered a full-time role at ReliaQuest after he graduates.

“Often, you can have an internship where you’re doing lower-level work,” Carrichner said. “But this felt like I was already a security analyst at ReliaQuest – like I was already doing the job.”

A cybersecurity workforce report from the International Information System Security Certification Consortium reported 3.4 million unfilled positions in the cybersecurity field. The U.S. Department of Labor projects the demand for information security analysts is expected to grow by 32 percent over the next decade – much faster than the average for all jobs.

However, according to ReliaQuest founder and CEO Brian Murphy, “While we often hear about the shortage of trained and skilled cybersecurity professionals, there is no shortage of people who would like to join the cybersecurity industry if given the chance. Connecting the immense amount of talent with opportunities to build their knowledge and skills is the real issue, and it’s what programs like this are all about.”

The yearly four-week program builds on what students have learned in USF classrooms. Interns are given online module-based assignments and then meet at the ReliaQuest headquarters each week. During that time, students are assessed on the week’s topics and take a deeper dive through lecture and simulation activities to put what they’ve learned into practice.

Cybersecurity major Eduarda Koop graduated from the program in spring of 2024 and says that, as the only sophomore among a room full of juniors and seniors who had more classes and experience under their belts, she felt extremely challenged at times, but her mentor reminded her that it was all about mindset and effort.

“I had an amazing mentor who made sure I knew I could count on her,” Koop said. “I could reach out to her any time, and she even offered me extra help because she knew I was a sophomore. All the mentors were always checking on us and making sure we understood everything, so I really felt that support.”

ReliaQuest Incident Response Manager Paul Rispoli, a 2019 USF and ReliaQuest Labs grad who now mentors other ReliaQuest Labs students, says the program launched his career at ReliaQuest, where he entered the field as a cybersecurity analyst. Rispoli now oversees a large portion of ReliaQuest’s customer base and manages teams in Tampa; Las Vegas; Dublin, Ireland; and Pune, India.

“I’m passionate about ReliaQuest Labs because the program gave me my chance to prove myself,” Rispoli said. “I was not a perfect student, but it’s not a gatekeeping program – it’s more about finding the right people to have the right mindset who want to put in the work.”

Learn more about the ReliaQuest Labs program and how to apply here.