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How to become an Ethical Hacker

Ethical Hacker

Career progression and salary expectations for an Ethical Hacker


Ethical Hacker

| Up to £25,000

Senior Penetration Tester

| Up to £50,000

The role of an Ethical Hacker

Looking for the ultimate life hacking? We may have found your perfect position…An Ethical Hacker is a computer expert who intentionally tries to penetrate a company’s network, in order to help them identify potential security threats.With the importance placed on our online security at an all-time high, Ethical Hackers (also known as ‘white hat’ hackers or penetration testers) could be invaluable for a business. They use the same methods as their less-reputable namesakes, but document vulnerabilities instead of exploiting them, preventing potential crises and minimising damage.Typical day-to-day duties for an Ethical Hacker may include:
  • Testing internal servers and systems, and conducting ‘pentests’
  • Searching for areas where security may be breached
  • Documenting weak points in the network
  • Providing recommendations on how to fix any issues
  • Helping mitigate risk
  • Conducting training with developers to improve security awareness
It almost goes without saying that becoming an Ethical Hacker relies heavily on your computer and networking ability. If the only keyboard you feel comfortable with is a Casio, this may not be the job for you.But it isn’t all about technical skills. Being able to convince others around the organisation to reveal confidential security details to you (sometimes referred to in the industry as ‘social engineering’) may also be an important part of the role.Other essential skills for an Ethical Hacker include:
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills
  • Self-motivation
  • Good attention to detail
  • Flexibility
  • Patience
"Being an Ethical Hacker is a little like being the bad guy, but getting paid for it. I get to try and find little vulnerabilities in a network, and basically forecast how they could be exploited. It may not sound glamourous, but those little vulnerabilities have the potential to become big problems for a business, and I know the work I do could save the company thousands of pounds, not to mention people’s jobs. When you think of it like that, it’s actually pretty great being white hat…"

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