Major: B.S. in Informatics, Music cognate, 2016
Hometown: Noblesville, Ind.
Internship Advice: Have a good profile, a good resume, and a well-thought out trajectory and mindset.
Nobody would describe Tony Granitto’s educational experience as “traditional.” He’s more about making his own path.
The Noblesville, Ind., native decided to attend Indiana University because he wanted to create his own business and use his creativity to solve problems. He enrolled in the School of Informatics and Computing, which he believed would allow him plenty of freedom. Granitto used his classes to feed his personal passion—creating electronic music—and used real-world experiences to build his career potential. As he learned programming through his work in SoIC, he fell in love with it, which opened new avenues for him.
“I see programming as a method of innovation,” Granitto says. “My passion for music has fueled my passion for solving problems and writing code and being involved in distributed systems and the whole internet of things. It really opened up a floodgate because now I can see everything as something you can program or something you can explain digitally.”
Granitto has been aggressive in looking for opportunities, which has allowed him to hold five different internships in four years. Granitto’s approach is to pursue a company without knowing whether there is an opening or not. Granitto says he spends weeks researching different companies before approaching one and presenting an idea about how he can help.
His process has worked. His previous internships earned him his most recent one with Rook Security, a provider of global IT security solutions based out of Indianapolis, which came through the Career Services office in a slightly different way.
“Their HR emailed me based on a profile I had on the Career Services website,” Granitto says. “They contacted me, and I looked into what they were doing. I told them I wanted to embed myself in a place where I can flourish with my creativity, I can get feedback on my projects and work, and have it all be constructive. I wanted to fulfill my ambition of solving a problem, be it large or small.”
He managed to help solve a large problem.
“I worked hand-in-hand with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security,” Granitto says. “The government was hacked by a group called the ‘Hacking Team’ just before I started. The government lost a bunch of files and a bunch of tools. All those tools were then spread out among malicious hackers, and I worked hand-in-hand developing a program that searched your computer to find those vulnerabilities, then it told you about it. Our software made worldwide news.”
The experience gained from his internships have allowed Granitto to kick-start his career while using his college education to feed his personal interests.
“If I’m going to go to school, I’m going to learn something I love,” Granitto says. “I’m not going to go to school to get a job. I can get a job. I live in Broad Ripple in Indianapolis and have a job, but I spend twice as many hours outside of work coding and doing contracting jobs for other IT companies.”
The key to scoring the quality internships you want, Granitto says, is to be prepared, have a clear vision of what you want to do to help a company, and have a well-organized resume. Oh, and don’t be shy.
“When you go to a company and have enthusiasm and ambition and an idea, it is clearer as to what you can do for a company and the direction you want to go,” Granitto says. “They’re more likely to be onboard with you because you know what you want to do.”