Penetration Testers assess the security systems within an organization. They conduct tests and purposefully attempt to exploit existing computer systems and software to detect and correct system weaknesses. This practice is a form of ethical hacking and requires creativity, imagination, and a strong understanding of technology systems. Penetration Testers use these test results to develop recommendations and implement solutions to build the strength of an organization’s information technology (IT) systems.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
- Conduct formal testing on computer systems
- Assess the security of computer software and hardware
- Conduct security audits and legal cyberattack simulations by designing and utilizing hacking tools to access designated pieces of data during a predetermined time frame
- Generate tools for breaking into security systems
- Detect and correct system weaknesses
- Provide recommendations based on an assessment of hardware and software systems
- Implement solutions to enhance data security
- Provide IT support
Education and Background
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, computer science, information technology, or a related field.
Skills and Competencies
- Robust creativity and problem-solving skills
- Ability to think analytically
- Knowledge of technical systems and terminology
- Proficiency in scripting languages
- Ability to identify and exploit vulnerabilities
- Advanced written and verbal communication skills
According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Penetration Tester with
1 Year of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $65,000
- Tampa, Florida: $78,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $68,000
- Miami, Florida: $79,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $73,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $85,000
- Houston, Texas: $75,000
- Los Angeles, California: $89,000
- New York City, New York: $85,000
- Seattle, Washington: $78,000
- Overall: $76,000
5 Years of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $78,000
- Tampa, Florida: $90,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $78,000
- Miami, Florida: $91,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $95,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $103,000
- Houston, Texas: $85,000
- Los Angeles, California: $99,000
- New York City, New York: $98,000
- Seattle, Washington: $87,000
- Overall: $86,000
- Information Security Analyst
- Ethical Hacker
- Assurance Validator
- Vulnerability Assessor
- Security Engineer
- Network Security Consultant
- Information Technology Security Analyst
- Information Security Specialist
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in cyber-security or a computer-related field. Employers may prefer candidates who have a master’s degree, as well as those with on-the-job experience. Penetration Testers can advance to positions such as Information Technology Manager, Developer, Programmer, and Consultant. The skills a person learns as a Penetration Tester can apply to various sectors, opening opportunities to pursue freelance work, begin consulting, or form a new business.
According to industry website Computer Science Online, the IT security industry is growing exponentially and driving the need for encryption, authentication, certificate management, firewall infrastructures, and anti-malware. These needs have resulted in very high demand for Penetration Testers. They will become integral in the success of organizations in nearly any industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for Penetration Testers should grow 32 percent from 2018 to 2028. This growth rate is much faster than average.
Penetration Testers typically work during regular business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Where You Can Find Jobs
- 4 Corner Resources
- Career Builder
- IT Career Finder
- The Balance Careers
Are You Interested in Becoming a Penetration Tester?
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