If you’re interested in ethical hacking, you might also be interested in a career in penetration testing. Penetration testers find security flaws in networks and systems and help make those networks and systems more secure after exposing vulnerabilities. The salary of a penetration tester in the U.S. is around $120,000/year. So, penetration testing can most definitely be a lucrative career. As a penetration tester, you can work for the government, a big business, a large research university, or any other entity with a large network and a considerable amount of confidential information.
Penetration testers are required to think like black hat hackers and penetrate networks, but what they do is ethical. For many hackers, penetration testing offers the best of both worlds: the thrill of trying to attack a network and the satisfaction of helping their employer secure important information. If you’re interested in becoming a penetration tester, here’s what you should do to become qualified for relevant jobs in the field:
1. Get a Degree in Computer Science
Most ethical hackers, including penetration testers, have an educational background in computer science or computer engineering. Penetration testing is a very technical field, and if you don’t have adequate background knowledge on how computer software and hardware works, you’ll probably find it difficult to succeed as a penetration tester.
2. Learn How to Use the Right Tools
As a penetration tester, you’ll need to know how to work with security scanners, vulnerability assessment programs, and network sniffers, including Nmap, dSniff, and Nessus. Exposing yourself to these tools before you search for jobs as a penetration tester is essential. You’ll likely use them every day as a part of your job, and employers will expect you to be able to hit the ground running with the right programs when you start any new position.
3. Get Certified
There are a number of certifications available for people who want to become penetration testers. The Information Assurance Certification Review Board offers an exam to become a Certified Penetration Tester, for instance. Most employers will think highly of a certification from an organization like the Information Assurance Certification Review Board. So, you should definitely look into taking their certification exam. If you want a career in government, you may be expected to take a government-sponsored exam before you’re hired. Additionally, there are quite a few other organizations that offer training and certification options for penetration testers. Keep in mind that that having a handful of relevant certifications under your belt will make landing a job easier.
If you follow the steps above, finding a job as a penetration tester won’t be difficult. There are numerous openings for penetration testers around the world. So, put your hacking skills to good use, and enjoy your new career!