From Tech Support Services to Fortune 500

September 29, 2023

By: Teagan Davidge

Fresh out of high school in 2019, Ryan Hambro jumped straight into college at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) as a man with a plan. After pushing away previous aspirations of being a pilot due to a rumored lack of job security, he found a new goal in computer engineering.

Hambro interned this summer with Northrop Grumman, a Fortune 500 company, and walked away from that out-of-state experience with a full-time Northrop job offer. He said it was an offer he could not pass up and will work for the company part-time while completing his final year at CSUN.

“I really loved what I was doing, I loved my team and what the company was doing. It was a no-brainer to take [the offer],” said Hambro.

Ryan Hambro

Courtesy of Ryan Hambro

Hambro said he has always loved designing, fixing and tinkering in extracurricular projects, but had never put that passion to practical use before. In his junior year of college, he landed a job as a computer lab technician at the University Student Union (USU) at CSUN.

The responsibilities consisted of monitoring the computers in the lab, answering student questions and disinfecting workstations. Although Hambro liked the job, he began looking for more responsibilities in the organization to learn more. Soon, the USU’s Tech Support Services (TSS) department grabbed his attention.

“I wanted to do something with my hands again to keep myself busy. I’m kind of a workaholic,” said Hambro. “I felt like TSS was a good step forward in my career path and in learning something.”

In 2022, Hambro spotted another student opening at the USU’s TSS department, where he had hoped to transfer. This role was much more in line with his career path, so he applied and soon after signed on as one of three student assistants for the department.

“At the time, I think, we had around 600 devices that we were taking care of, not including phones. With everything divvied up, we probably took care of over 1,000 devices with just three students, on a part-time schedule,” said Hambro. “It was quite rigorous, but I enjoyed the work.”

That summer, Hambro began applying for internships. He applied for more than 300 positions and kept a spreadsheet to keep track of them all. In late August, he was selected by Northrop Grumman for an interview.

“A lot of people go into interviews, and they don’t really have this mindset of ‘I want to learn something’,” Hambro said. “There is always an expert, there is always that person at the next level. You should always take that expertise of something.”

Hambro believes this willingness to learn is one thing that helped him land the Maryland-based internship in the summer of 2023.

During his time at Northrop Grumman, Hambro’s largest project was developing software related to humidity and temperature levels of a system, but specifics of his work remain classified behind a security clearance.

Hambro urged other ambitious students like him to escape their comfort zone to pursue their passions.

“Just take a leap of faith. A lot of people that I have talked to right now that are trying to get internships are exclusively looking in California, or close by. They don’t want to leave home,” said Hambro. “Applying elsewhere is completely okay. It allows you to grow as a person more than anything.”