White hats chasing black hats: Careers in IT and the skills required to get there

Eric Fulton, Cameron Lawrence, Shawn Clouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The aim of this paper is to illuminate the exciting world in which "white hat crackers" operate and to suggest topics that can help prepare students to enter this high-demand field. While currently there is extraordinary demand for graduates to fill these positions that have relatively high starting salaries, employers find it difficult to hire students right out of universities who possess the right technical and social skill sets. The education needed to execute the requisite tasks is dynamic, broad and difficult, and there is a severe lack of qualified entrants into the industry. Accordingly, we suggest twelve subject areas to which students interested in the field should be exposed. The suggested framework is the by-product of the authors' industry experience, which includes presentations at Defcon and Blackhat. It is our hope that by describing the activities of "white hat crackers" and highlighting the basic social and technical skill sets required to be successful in this area, faculty members can become valuable partners in filling the pipeline with well-prepared graduates. We conclude the paper by suggesting that students in all business disciplines should have exposure to these topics that we consider to be an integral part of general information systems literacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Information Systems Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Certifications
  • Computer literacy
  • Computer majors
  • Computer security
  • Course development models
  • Ethics
  • General education
  • Information assurance and security
  • Security


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