The prospect of being a penetration tester (also called ‘Ethical Hacker’) can be fascinating to IT professionals and graduates – and it’s easy to see why. IT security can seem like a fascinating industry to be-in.
But what does it take to become a penetration tester?
Here are the basic things we need to know.
Where Do You Start?
One of the main requirements to qualify for a penetration testing job (at any level) is knowledge of Hacking, IT security, and computer science. Ethical Hacking is a highly specialized job, after all. Some of the typical starting points to penetration testing careers include the following:
- Existing IT professionals (system administrators, network engineers, developers)
- Graduates of courses like computer science, Ethical Hacking, and cybersecurity
If you have a similar background, tryyour luck applying as a penetration tester online. The best place to find postings in this industry is a specialized job site that posts only IT security jobs.
What Characteristics and Skills Make a Good Penetration Tester?
Beyond raw technical knowledge, a good tester also has the following:
- Passion for IT security. The best penetration testers are genuinely deeply interested in IT security and technology in general and always updated with the latest news and developments in the field.
- Ability to self-learn. IT industry is the topmost dynamic, so constant upskilling and personal development is required. A good tester has to be autodidactic because knowledge in this field becomes outdated very quickly.
- Good fundamental knowledge. Though it’s possible for an excellent hacker without formal training to become a penetration tester, having an IT-related degree can certainly provide grounding. Many companies look for experienced systems administrators, developers, and network architects when they post penetration tester jobs. The best candidates are those with a comprehensive understanding of enterprise infrastructures.
- Technical abilities. Penetration testing requires technical knowhow of the latest versions of software as well as hardware as they are released. Coding or scripting skills are an advantage; that said, some testers can’t write code but can break very well.
- Writing skills. Clients expect penetration testers to document their findings, so the ability to write coherent sentences is undoubtedly necessary. Penetration testing companies are always looking for testers with the ability to write and read English well.