Below you will find testimonials from past competitors.
What would be the most valuable lesson you learned from the competition that will serve you well in your future endeavors?
"It is important to see the judges as your customers, and remember that you are a company providing a service. Of course the actual work is important, but also pay attention to the tone you use when you talk to them, and during the work always try and keep the perspective of a customer in mind.
Communication is also a huge part of success. Talk with your teammates constantly, go over different ways of doing things or looking at things. Communication is a key skill to have no matter what you do." -Erik Andres
"The most valuable lesson I learned from the competition was the importance of critical thinking and teamwork. The case study required me to think critically and conduct research in order to develop the best possible solution to the problem at hand, which are valuable and disposable skills that I can apply anywhere." -Elaine Oh
How was your ITC experience and how has it allowed you to gain real world experience?
"My ITC experience was not a “walk in the park.” A partially vague problem,
minimalistic guidance, and a team full of complete noobs(me being the most
inexperienced) felt significantly overwhelming at first. Through grit,
determination, and a large amount of support from industry professionals, my
team and I persevered. We placed 3rd, a complete unexpected victory from a
team that had no intention of even placing at all.
In terms of real world experience, ITC was an eye opener in terms of how
real world problems are solved. There’s a team, a company has a problem, and
the solution? Never so clear cut. It took utilizing and exhausting all forms of
resources, outreach, and organizational skills to even come up with a something
even remotely resembling a report draft. For us challenge was everything, and
we all came out the other side standing a little taller, and a little more hardened
" -Luis Velasquez
"The biggest lesson I learned from my IT experience was that it is important to take ownership and communicate early. Although my team eventually got together and created a solid presentation, I think we would have enjoyed the process more and had a much easier time if we had gotten organized and understood the requirements sooner.
" -Chris Lee
"Given that this was my first time competing in ITC, I felt nervous and but the overall experience was awesome because it allowed me to challenge myself and strengthen my critical thinking and research skills to put it towards coming up with solutions to real world problems. I also could not have asked for a better team. Although we all came from different majors and backgrounds, we each had something valuable to contribute to the case.
" -Elaine Oh
What was the most rewarding part of the competition and why?
"New friends and new connections for me, were the most rewarding part of the
competition. With Dr. Manson as our coach, he instilled two very valuable
lessons 1) Always have fun and 2) If you do not know the answer, its time to ask
questions. Connecting with cyber security professionals with decades of
experience in the field was the most fun I had with my little time in ITc.
There is power in communication and there is so much one can learn from
simply reaching out. Something I will forever cherish was connecting with a
completely random CPP alumni on linkedin out of my own accord, and being
graciously given an entire walkthrough of the methodology behind a penetration
test from a-b, which for me, was something completely foreign at the time.
" -Luis Velasquez
"Producing the written deliverable was the most rewarding part of the competition because it challenged me to write about our project in a way that was easy to understand for a non-technical audience while being persuasive. In industry, many people you interact with do not have the technical knowledge to understand what it is you're talking about so it's important to know how to communicate technical concepts in a way that is understandable so that you can guide them to a desired outcome.
An indirect outcome that I found to be even more rewarding was becoming more involved with MISSA. Joining this competition gave me the confidence to mingle with other MISSA members and step out of my comfort zone. From this, I applied for E-board positions in which I became exposed to more faculty, fellow students, and company representatives that assisted me in finding a job after graduation and getting into grad school.
" -Chris Lee
"For me, the networking I did with the judges ended up being super rewarding for me. One judge happened to give me a referral for his company because of how well we networked at the event.
" -Jacqueline Terrazas
How did you approach the case study and what would you have done the same and differently?
"We gave each team member a specific role that satisfied a requirement, and then let them do their thing. This worked well because that person became an expert in that area, allowing the other team members to trust their judgement.
One thing I would do differently is make sure to constantly think about the customers perspective while we were doing the work. Our final recommendation would have fixed all of their problems, but was a massive undertaking that probably wouldn't be feasible in the real world. So having the big fix, but then having a list of medium to small fixes that were more attainable for the customer would have been a better strategy.
" -Erik Endress
"It was important to stay organized. I discussed with my team tasks that needed to be completed and what tasks were being prioritized. This way, there were no surprises and there was a great deal of expectation and transparency.
What I would have done differently is to take the time to create a diagram and visualize the whole application. We somewhat created visuals of what technologies we would be using but did not deep dive into it. Before development, really communicate with the team and make visuals. Diagrams, designs, pathways, etc. I would take a full day of doing this. Then on the second day, do research on those technologies. Then start coding little by little.
" -Christian Falucho
Why you would recommend ITC to someone else?
"If for anything, it would be that building a team and getting face to face experience with professionals is priceless. You learn a lot, you build friendships, and you get experiences you don't get in a classroom. It really is the hands-on experience Cal Poly strives for.
" -Erik Endress
"I would recommend ITC to someone because it's a great experience to have and talk about it. You learn a lot about team work, communication and having to be a self-starter learning about new and emerging technologies. Using your problem solving skills you make a process better or build a product.
The real world does not give us the answer. What the ITC experience does for us. It helps us utilize what we learned in our classrooms and textbooks and use it.
Overall, it is a great experience and a useful to talk about for interviews. I often use it during my interviews and get asked a lot about my experience in it.
" -Christian Falucho
"I would recommend ITC to anyone who wants to challenge themselves and come out of their shell. Initially, I was not very involved in my campus community. After competing in ITC, I met a ton of people I would not have met and got to practice my leadership skills and public speaking skills. I also was more exposed to other students in my major and had a better gauge of what I should learn and things I should do in my academic career to prepare myself for industry.
" -Chris Lee