Jan 3, 2022

How to Become a Penetration Tester: 2022 Career Guide

    Penetration testers, also known as pen testers, play a vital role in cybersecurity by simulating cyberattacks on a company's computer systems and networks. These authorized tests are instrumental in identifying security vulnerabilities and weaknesses before malicious hackers can exploit them. The career path of a penetration tester typically begins with an entry-level position in cybersecurity. In this article, we delve into the details of what penetration testers do, why this high-demand cybersecurity career might be a suitable choice, and how to embark on this career journey.
Understanding the Role of a Penetration Tester:

Penetration testers proactively engage in cybersecurity by conducting simulated attacks on a company's digital systems. Using various hacking tools and techniques, they identify potential gaps that hackers could exploit. Throughout the process, testers meticulously document their actions and create comprehensive reports detailing their methods and success in breaching security protocols.

A career as a pen tester often starts with an entry-level cybersecurity position. In this article, we’ll go into more detail about what penetration testers do, why this in-demand cybersecurity career could be a good fit for you, and how to get started.

  • What does a penetration tester do?
  • Penetration tester tasks and responsibilities
  • Where do penetration testers work?

Tasks and Responsibilities:

The day-to-day tasks of a penetration tester vary, including testing applications, network devices, and cloud infrastructures. Testers may design and execute simulated social engineering attacks, research different attack types, and develop methodologies for penetration testing. They review code for vulnerabilities, reverse engineer malware, and document security and compliance issues. Automation of testing techniques and effective communication of findings to both technical staff and executive leadership are essential aspects of the role.

How to become a penetration tester:
  1. Develop penetration testing skills.
  2. Enroll in a course or training program.
  3. Get certified.
  4. Practice in real and simulated environments.
  5. Start in an entry-level IT position.
  6. Begin your job search.

Work Environments:

Penetration testers can work in-house, directly for a company, gaining in-depth knowledge of the company's security protocols. Alternatively, they can work for security firms, offering diverse testing opportunities, or choose the freelance route, providing flexibility in their schedules while requiring active client search efforts.

Skills and Certifications:

Penetration testers require expertise in network and application security, programming languages (such as Python, BASH, Java, Ruby, and Perl), threat modeling, and familiarity with Linux, Windows, and MacOS environments. Specialized courses and certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), CompTIA PenTest+, and GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN) are valuable in demonstrating proficiency to potential employers.
Gaining Experience:

Experience in penetration testing can be acquired through hands-on training programs and bug bounty initiatives, where testers find and report security flaws for cash rewards. Many testers start in entry-level IT and cybersecurity roles to build foundational skills.
Career Advancement and Earnings:

Penetration testers in the US can earn a substantial income, with an average annual salary of $97,638, including base salary and additional pay. Job opportunities in this field are projected to grow significantly, with a 35 percent increase in information security analyst positions expected between 2021 and 2031. Experienced testers might advance to lead testing teams or transition into roles as information security managers or executives.

No comments:

Post a Comment