Penetration testers are often referred to as conscientious hackers as they try to crack into a computer system for the purpose of checking its relative security rather than stealing information or causing havoc. If you want to know how to become a penetration tester, you will not only need to know how to write code but also hoe to write reports that display your test results.
Companies employ penetration testers to improve the security of information by identifying and fixing network vulnerabilities before those weaknesses can be exploited by criminal hackers. This preventive measure lowers the risk of actual cyberattacks on businesses, which can harm the finances of companies and the confidence of customers.
Within teams, penetration testers also work to create new tests that simulate cyber crimes. These professionals can recognize vulnerabilities in applications or assess the physical security of systems, servers, and devices on the network. Penetration testers recommend specific security approaches and solutions consistent with company budgets and can provide ongoing support as organizations adopt these new security measures.
Education and Training to Become a Penetration Security Tester
To become a penetration tester, professionals with specific hacking skills and work experience don’t always need advanced degrees. However, many penetration testing jobs require cryptography, computer science, or IT degrees at the bachelors or masters level.
Computer science or IT degree programs provide basic technical knowledge in operating systems, programming languages, network equipment, and hardware and software computers. Cybersecurity-focused programs also provide advanced cryptography, forensics, vulnerability analysis, and frameworks and resources for security.
Lower-level penetration tester roles usually require one to four years of prior work experience performing IT functions such as system administration, security management, network management, or network engineering. Most penetration positions also need prior professional experience in penetration testing, vulnerability evaluation, or information security, due to the expertise required to break into information systems.
Average Salary of a Penetration Security Tester
According to the new Occupational Handbook of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for penetration testers, or information security analysts, is $92,600 per year.
With the wide range of knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this role, a penetration tester may be able to get an MBA and then advance to a top position as an Information Security Officer or Information Systems Director. The job position of Information Systems Manager is known to pay well over $100,000 annually, with a median annual salary of about $135,800.
Skills Needed to Become a Penetration Security Tester
This imaginative, detail-oriented profession requires innovative design and problem-solving skills, as penetration testers find ways of breaching and improving safety systems. Such professionals also need outstanding oral and written communication skills to record and explain their work to peers and employers. Penetration testers generally benefit from project and people management expertise for similar reasons.
Job Outlook for This Position
The penetration tester job title requires a broad array of skills and experiences. A great penetration tester will have the coding ability to hack into any program in order to be successful and succeed.
They will familiarize themselves with all facets of computer security, from forensics to device analysis. Full working knowledge of how computer security breaches can affect business and full understanding of the financial and operational consequences of these breaches will also be of vital importance for them.
As businesses across the world are harboring more and more of their sensitive information online, penetration security testers will be increasing in demand.
Corporations and government agencies rely on trained professionals to test their safety and assess their efficacy against malicious, unethical hackers. For example, if a penetration tester decides that a device is safe and unable to be manipulated by criminals or terrorists, then the rest of the security team may believe their job is done.
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