If you would describe yourself as someone whole likes challenges and can see trouble around the corner, you should think about becoming a penetration tester. According to the recent salary statistics posted on Indeed.co (shown below), the average salary for a penetration tester is almost a whopping £58,000 per year in the United Kingdom. Therefore, there should be no doubt in saying that this job is both interesting to keep you on edge and lucrative enough to satisfy your financial needs.
So what does a penetration tester do exactly, and how can you become one?
What Is Penetration Testing?
A penetration test or a pen test is a planned cyber-attack against your own computer system to check for vulnerabilities that can be exploited by someone with ill motives. Therefore, penetration testing above all is a discipline that is of extreme importance to the general security strategy of a company. It is mainly undertaken to identify issues, spot IT system vulnerabilities and used to augment a web application firewall (WAF).
How To Become A Penetration Tester?
Cybersecurity intelligence is, after all, a human-centric issue. So it still requires human resources and human intelligence input in many of its aspects to understand the negative perspective. Therefore, in such a realm, a penetration tester is equated to the level of an ethical hacker. The aspects of the job revolve around replicating what you think a malicious hacker would do.
It doesn’t matter if you are a complete newcomer or a seasoned IT professional who has developed an interest in becoming a penetration tester, you have to start by reading about the subject field. Start with articles, textbooks, guides and journals. You can even find videos online that talk about pen-testing and other general cybersecurity issues.
You can even talk about this with people who you happen to know to have experience in this field. All in all, starting has to be done with learning and gathering insurmountable knowledge so that you may have gained the right qualities in your arsenal. If you need to create a proposal to get approval for further education, you can use a proposal writing service to help you out.
Getting More Practical
Now that you have gained all the knowledge and learned all there is to know. You must understand that pen-testing is, after all, a practical subject. All the books, videos, and blogs may tell you what it is but can’t prepare you for what’s to come. It would help if you got yourself to do the hands-on practice.
There are software toolkits available where you can start practising your pen-testing. It will also allow you to better understand PTES or Penetration Testing Execution Standard, which is a framework for pen-testing. It is a general guide advisory for following six standards of operation.
When you feel that you are ready with your arsenal of knowledge and all hands-on experiences, you can go for a course to earn an ethical hacking certificate. A certification course that will act as a proof of validation for your future employer that you have the right knowledge in the area and practical experiences to backup and apply that knowledge.
Roles & Responsibilities
Penetration testers are usually internally employed by the organization to not risk leaking data to an outsider and someone who already sits well in the security team. Because the job itself is not just about catching exploitable system vulnerabilities, you need to have the right communication skill to put your understanding across. Thus, there may be variations in the role of a pen-tester, but the fundamental duties you’ll have to perform are:
- Network and application testing
- Conducting physical security tests
- Security audits
- Writing security reports and policies
- An essential part of the security team and input
- Mentoring new pen-test entrants
Climbing The Corporate Ladder
All in all, if you look for a job vacancy in a larger job portal, you will surely find one for a penetration tester. The career path is definitely not for the faint of heart as it requires consistent throughput and dedication to excel. But if you have what it takes then the challenge of cyber hunting can be an exceptional one for you.
If you feel that you have a passion for this role, then you can be the perfect choice for a corporation’s penetration testing requirements. Start looking for a job that fulfils your career requirements, doesn’t underutilize and nor underpays you. Good Luck!
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