Impressive Women From the IT Industry – Part 3

Impressive Women From the IT Industry - Part 3

IT activist Lilith Wittmann and Professor Dr. Haya Shulman from the Fraunhofer Institute SIT.

In 2021, the proportion of female IT specialists in Germany was a meagre 18 percent. In an international comparison, this puts Germany in 20th place out of 41 OECD and EU countries surveyed. Strong role models can help to get more girls and young women interested in the tech world. Whether as a manager, cyber activist or AI specialist – role models show how women can confidently make their way in the male-dominated IT sector.

Lilith Wittmann: The Riot Influencer

Lilith Wittmann

Lilith Wittmann (Image: Martin Moerke)

She is courageous, uncovers and draws attention to wrongdoing: Lilith Wittmann is a German programmer, hacker and IT security expert. The “riot influencer” gained greater fame in 2021 when she discovered glaring security vulnerabilities in the coronavirus tracking app “Luca” and in the election campaign app “CDU connect”. The CDU then falsely filed criminal charges against Wittmann, which she withdrew. In addition, after intensive data research, Wittmann blew the whistle on a cover organization of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. As a result, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution had to obtain new offices and identities for its secret service agents. Her exemplary commitment to greater transparency in democracy and data security cemented Wittmann’s position as an IT activist without equal.

The Berliner began her career as an IT expert at the tender age of 16, when she dropped out of school and trained as an IT specialist and application developer. In the years that followed, she successfully published many of her projects on the GitHub programming platform and established herself in the tech community. In her articles, Wittmann doesn’t hold back and takes a critical look at the digitalisation backlog in Germany’s public authorities: “Administrative digitalisation is a bunch of people who constantly validate themselves. You have to say, hey guys, that’s not possible, it all sucks. It’s rarely unfounded in my case, and I can explain it. I’m primarily an activist, so I think it’s legitimate to use harsh language.”

Professor Dr. Haya Shulman: The Top Professor


Professor Dr. Haya Shulman

Professor Dr. Haya Shulman (Image: SIT/Farideh Diehl)

She is a renowned expert in the field of cyber security and has had a remarkable research career: Haya Shulman is an Israeli IT specialist in network and computer security. Since February 2022, she has been Professor of Computer Science at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and holds a five-year top professorship as part of the LOEWE research funding program of the State of Hesse. Among other things, her research focuses on vulnerabilities in data traffic and developing sophisticated methods for better protection against cyber attacks.

Her enthusiasm for IT security was sparked at school, which led her to study computer science in her native Israel. In 2014, she became one of the few female researchers there to complete a doctorate in applied cyber security. As a postdoctoral researcher, she moved to TU Darmstadt, where she conducted research on network and system security in the Department of Computer Science. For several years now, the scientist has headed the Cybersecurity, Analytics and Defense department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT in Darmstadt and has appeared internationally as a visiting professor at various universities.

Shulman has also established herself as an entrepreneur in the private sector: With her company CyberBurg, she advises companies and organizations on IT security based on research findings. Her work on the “Cache Test” security solution was awarded the Horst Görtz Foundation’s most prestigious German IT security prize in 2021. Haya Shulman is a living example of how women can be just as good as men in IT. But she is also convinced that more female role models are needed “Women see that there are hardly any women in certain areas and then think that it can’t be for them either. Role models are important.”