As part of Portcullis’s ongoing commitment to filling the ever expanding lack of computing skills within the workplace, we have in the last year and a half been working together with Universities from across the country to provide a bridge between younger generations who may not be aware of even the existence of Penetration Testing or would like to see what happens in the average week of a pentester.
Each lecture is generally an hour long and consists of topics that introduce Portcullis and the world of ethical hacking/pentesting, this is then typically followed by a presentation on various fields and rolls that a penetration tester is expected to carry out such as Web Application Assessments, Network Assessments and specialist fields such as Social Engineering. During the lecture students and teachers alike are invited to interject with questions. At the end of the lecture there is generally another half hour or more of Q/A with both students and teachers, in almost all cases the enthusiasm of the crowd to learn and participate mean the Q/A session generally continues well after the lecture hall has been vacated.
If the university is keen the tester will often allow small numbers of students either through self volunteering or teacher suggestion to attend a small hour or so live demonstration on how keen students can set up their own testing lab at home and where to begin their journey to becoming a fully fledged Penetration Tester. Exceptional students are normally easy to pick out of even a crowd of 200, the students that show promise are given an invite to prove themselves within their field and potentially join Portcullis under one of the very limited and much sort after Graduate Programme positions offered by Portcullis each year.
We have found that this approach not only educates the students (and sometimes teachers) on the possibilities of their skills, most students on computer science courses know only that they could go into development or system administration, almost 90% of students are not aware this wonderful world of hacking can not only be legal but a productive and excited job. We have also found that when Portcullis and the University work in partnership it is possible to integrate security based modules more easily into the course syllabus as students become more acutely aware as to the relevance of these units from both defence and attack even if they have no goal to become a Penetration Tester.
One particular university lecturer even produced a blog post about a recent visit to the University of Central Lancashire.
If your university is keen to have Portcullis send one of our senior Penetration Testers to give a lecture and demo, please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to accommodate you.