How to Become a Penetration Tester?

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The world of the IT industry and cyber security is getting more complex every year. In fact, the industry is facing a rising number of cyber attacks from cyber criminals. Thus, there’s a huge demand for cyber security professionals who can counter the illegal activities of hackers and scammers online.

The rising cyberattacks also led to the high demand for penetration testers. These professionals are responsible for mitigating security risks and preventing data breaches. They help organizations in discovering and fixing security vulnerabilities in the network or system. In this blog, we are going to discuss how you can become a Penetration Tester. We will also learn why you should take a certificate course in Ethical Hacking to get job ready.

What is Meant by Penetration Testing?

The process of Penetration Testing is also known as pen tests. It is a great way of simulating cyberattacks to evaluate an organization’s security infrastructure. The penetration testers have to work with web-based systems, applications, and networks to find out existing and potential vulnerabilities. This process is a very important part of ethical hacking.

Penetration testers rely on the same methods and strategies used by malicious hackers. However, penetration testers don’t have the intention to harm the system, instead, they are given permission by the organization to find the vulnerabilities before a real hacker does. Pen testers use advanced hacking tools and techniques for breaking into applications and networks to discover security vulnerabilities. Organizations use the discoveries of penetration testers to fix the identified weaknesses and reconfigure their security policies.

The Demand for Penetration Testors in the Industry

The demand for penetration testers is getting higher and higher with the rising cyber security risks in the industry. However, there is a huge shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals, who can start working as penetration testers. These professionals are expected to stay one step ahead of unscrupulous hackers by helping organizations to detect and mitigate system vulnerabilities.

Instead of hiring a single penetration tester professional, organizations usually look for building a team of cybersecurity professionals. Moreover, they have to work together to collaborate to develop test cases that would help in simulating cybercrimes.

Since this job role requires intensive training and industry experience, employers often find it very difficult to hire skilled and talented cybersecurity professionals. In fact, there’s an alarmingly low number of penetration testers who can actually work in a real work environment. Thus, the competition is incredibly low and compensations are amazingly high.

Why Organizations are Looking for Penetration Testors?

Even if an organization has implemented some of the most cutting-edge security measures to safeguard against cyberattacks, there’s no guarantee that the IT infrastructure will be safe from the eyes of cybercriminals. Thus, it is very important for them to hire the right cybersecurity professionals to implement advanced preventive security measures. A strong cyber defence means having regularly tried and tested security plans.

Penetration testing is the most important component in the cyber security strategy of an organization. Having skilled and talented penetration testers on board can;

  • Decrease the network downtime
  • Discover security vulnerabilities before cyber criminals could find them
  • Develop highly effective and efficient security measures
  • Provide regulatory compliance
  • Protect the company’s market reputation and improve customer trust

What Skills You Will Need to Become a Penetration Tester?

Being an effective penetration tester in the IT industry is not an easy job role. In fact, this professional is responsible for organizing security tests for IT systems, networks, and web applications. Moreover, they have to work on tailored solutions that are highly suitable for a company’s needs and help it safeguard itself from the prying eyes of cybercriminals. Therefore, you need to work on your hard and soft skills to become a successful penetration tester;

Hard Skills That You Must Develop:

  • Ethical hacking skills
  • Proficiency in networking (IP/TCP, cabling techniques)
  • Experience with wireless devices and protocols
  • Web application architecture
  • Pentest tools
  • Specialized OS distributions
  • Software frameworks

Softskills That You Must Develop:

  • Curiosity and passion to learn new things
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Public speaking and communication skills
  • Report writing skills
  • Excellent problem solving

Average Payscale of a Penetration Tester

There are so many factors that could determine the pay scale of a pen tester. For example, the qualifications, experience, location, and education can have a huge impact on the package. However, the average salary of a penetration tester in the UK falls somewhere between £40,000 and £65,000. The senior-level penetration testers can earn even higher than £70,000. This figure also greatly depends on the industry you work in.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that the demand for IT security analysts will grow by 33% between 2020 to 2030. Moreover, the need for penetration testers will continue to grow as more and more industries will go digital.

Steps to Become a Successful Penetration Testor

Getting a Relevant Degree

Being a professional penetration tester with relevant hacking skills and work experience won’t need you to have a specialized degree. However, being a tech professional it becomes important to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science or a related field.

Being a student of computer science, you will be able to gain sufficient knowledge about IT fundamentals such as networking, operating systems, programming languages, computer hardware and software. Thus, it becomes to have a strong base in IT to have a prosperous career path in cybersecurity.

Acquire the Important Skills

You must have the necessary skills to become a successful penetration tester. Thus, it would be advisable to pursue a certificate course in Ethical Hacking from the London School of Emerging Technology.

This would provide with you sufficient technical and analytical proficiency to get started with cybersecurity. Plus, you will also gain practical experience and industry exposure to help you create innovative solutions for security problems. After completing the certificate course, you will gain better creativity and problem-solving skills.

The lessons from the industry experts will give you comprehensive knowledge of cyber security, system analysis, and digital forensics. Moreover, you will also get complete training to work with penetration testing tools such as Wireshark, Burp Suite, and Metasploit. You will also improve your soft skills in technical writing and documentation.

Gaining Industry Experience

Being a penetration tester often requires years of experience in vulnerability testing, penetration testing, or information security. Thus, prior experience is necessary to progress your career as a penetration tester. You have to gain 1 to 4 years of experience to perform critical functions like network administration, engineering, and system security. However, you will need more than 4 years of experience if you want to get into a senior-level position.

Taking industry training or pursuing an internship in cybersecurity could be a great option if you want to build a network, find mentors, and develop real-world information security skills.

Build Expertise with Diverse Projects

Once you have started your career in cybersecurity, it is very important to continuously improve your resume and get ahead of the competition. Thus, you should start exploring both real and simulated environments to gain practical experience outside of your workplace. There are plenty of bug bounty programs available that can give good cash bonuses and experience for finding bugs and security flaws. Moreover, creating custom attack programs or collecting cybersecurity intelligence will give you great recognition in the cybersecurity industry and community.

Getting into Core Penetration Testing

After gaining a few years of experience in cybersecurity, you will be able to have relevant technical skills to adjust to your first penetration testing job. Popular job portals like Indeed, LinkedIn, and ZipRecruiter’s some of the best portals for finding cybersecurity jobs. Furthermore, you can also explore job roles like security consultant, IT security architect, cybersecurity manager and cyber security analyst.

Summing Up

A career in cybersecurity as a penetration tester will provide you with some of the most lucrative growth opportunities. This industry is predicted to grow faster than ever before due to the rise of cybersecurity risks and illegal activities on the web. Every innovative organization is looking for the best consultancy to safeguard its IT infrastructure from the prying eyes of hackers and cybercriminals. Plus, the competition is relatively low than in other IT job roles. It could be a perfect job for you if you have the passion and relevant skills. Top organizations are providing handsome salaries to cybersecurity professionals.

Learning Ethical Hacking with LSET

If you aspire to become a certified penetration tester, then it would be best to pursue an Ethical Hacking certificate course from the London School of Emerging Technology. Our curriculum helps to learn the state-of-the-art techniques of mobile and web ethical hacking. We follow a project-based environment to let to explore real-world applications. We have started both weekdays and weekend batches to help students and working professionals enjoy the best learning experience.

After completing the Ethical Hacking certificate course, you will get job ready to apply for job profiles like network security engineer, network security administrator, penetration tester, and security consultant.

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