As cybercrime thrives and threatens our digital world, organisations demand strict and efficient cyber security in the form of penetration testers. If you are planning a career in penetration testing, here is what you need to know about the field and your journey as a professional pentester.

What does the work of a penetration tester entail?

A penetration tester provides offensive security to an organisation or a client by trying to assess the security status of a system and finding how much damage a vulnerability can cause so that it can be addressed as soon as possible. If you have completed your CEH training, then you will know the difference between an ethical hacker and a pentester. Penetration testers are high-level offensive cyber security experts who penetrate the system using the discovered vulnerabilities (during ethical hacking) to work out the nature and scope of the vulnerability.

How can you become a penetration tester?

To start a career in this field, you should first know ethical hacking inside out. The typical way to a pentesting career is that you first learn ethical hacking online or off-line and then you study further for penetration testing. The EC Council has been providing cyber security certifications to hundreds of thousands of students for decades all over the world. Its courses are world-famous and are typically at the top of the list of the desired certifications in employers and HR managers books. You can undertake the Certified Penetration Testing Professional course or the CPENT course by EC Council from an accredited training centre near you. The course duration is 40 hours in total and after you complete your hours, you can appear for the CPENT exam.

This certificate course offers a unique dual certification option which means that if you score 90% or more on your exam, then you will be eligible for an extra and elite Licensed Penetration Tester (Master) certification by the EC Council. Anyone can learn penetration testing and become a pentester if they follow the right procedure and continue learning every day. The course is quite technical because a penetration tester has to think like a hacker and breach into a system through a vulnerability. However, it requires as much creative problem solving, cleverness, and tenacity as it requires technical expertise.

How much money does a penetration tester make?

A penetration tester salary is $95,510 a year on average. However, the penetration testers at the top easily make around $153,090 a year. Since penetration testing is an expert level skill and the growth in the demand for penetration testers is creating new records, you can be assured that you’re going to be very well taken care of financially if you decide to pursue this as a career seriously.

What skills will you need to succeed as a penetration tester?

Penetration testers must have a strong and deep knowledge of their area of specialization and should have a solid understanding of all operating systems and attack surfaces. Penetration testers also need to have programming knowledge. They also need a sharp eye and should have a keen attention to detail so that no security flaw misses their eye and they can accurately assess the damage in the system caused by a vulnerability. Apart from that, unwavering integrity and a strong work ethic are required in penetration testers because they will be trusted with the innermost structures of an organization and will get to exploit the vulnerabilities to map the potential damage.

It is very important that a pentester is a person who is confident, trustworthy, highly professional and has a clean track record. The other soft skills required in these professionals are leadership, project management, focus and dedication, communication and analytical skills.