Ethical Hacker

Help organisations keep one step ahead of malicious attacks by helping them fortify their systems defences.

Become an Ethical Hacker

Ethical Hackers (white hat hackers) are computer security experts who are employed to penetrate a company’s network in order to identify potential security threats and network vulnerabilities.

With the rising amount of malicious attacks to organisations’ networks, the demand for Ethical Hackers has grown substantially and is now one of the most sought-after skills in the cyber security industry. This makes it the ideal time for you to start your career as an Ethical Hacker.

Being creative and analytical are key traits for a successful Ethical Hacker. Part of your role will be to document and report on any weaknesses you find, so communication is also an important aspect. You will need to suggest innovative ways in which an organisation can secure their infrastructure whilst staying ahead of new hacking methods. Continuing professional development (CPD) will be vital for career success as you will be expected to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.

To obtain the required skill set to become an Ethical Hacker and to continue your professional development, we have partnered with the leading cyber security training provider, EC-Council to bring you the most in-demand certifications that employers are looking for right now.

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Salary Indicator

Source: Adzuna
Average Salary
Chief Information Security Officer
Average Salary
You Can Earn
Average Salary
IT Security Technician

Salary Projection

Average salary after completing


You can earn an average of £51,801.82 a year

Career Questions Answered

What skills do I need to become an Ethical Hacker?

You will need to show a combination of the following skills:

Soft skills include:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Analytical skills
  • Creative thinking
  • Time management
  • Ethical integrity
  • Problem solving

Technical skills include:

  • Programming – Python, Ruby, C, C++
  • Scripting languages – HTML, PHP, JavaScript
  • Network skills
  • Knowledge of SQL
  • In-depth knowledge of hacking techniques – SQL Injection, Session Hijacking, Denial-of-Service, Sniffing, Cryptography

The technical skills for each Ethical Hacker position will vary depending on what the employer expects from you. The technical level of ethical hacking and the level of job role you are applying for will also vary and advanced skills may be required.

What is the difference between a White Hat and Black Hat Hacker?

White hat and black hat hackers have the same skill set, they both use their knowledge and creativity to find new ways of penetrating a systems defence. However, there is one major difference between the both.

White hat hackers are employed by organisations to attempt to penetrate the company’s infrastructure, alerting them of any weaknesses and recommending ways in which they can fix issues.

Whereas, black hat hackers target their victims for personal reasons, such as financial gain or to simply cause problems. They are criminals who earn their money through fraud, theft and extortion.

Do I need to have a degree?

You do not need a degree to become an Ethical Hacker. However, you will need at least two years’ experience in computer systems and a form of qualification in Ethical Hacking such as the EC-Council CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker).

If you have a degree in computer science, cyber security, forensic computing, network management or any other IT-related degree, this may increase your chances of securing an entry-level position. Even with a degree, it is unlikely you will go straight into Ethical Hacking after graduation as you usually need some industry experience.

Alternatively, if you have no degree and no previous IT experience, there are training programmes that can help you on your way to becoming an Ethical Hacker. Course packages such as our Become an Ethical Hacker package will teach you the necessary IT and Network skills needed. You will still need two years’ IT experience in order to progress into ethical hacking and would need to complete additional courses to gain your Certified Ethical Hacker qualification.

No matter what route you take to become an Ethical Hacker, you will be expected to have professional qualifications and undertake regular training to keep updated on the latest hacking techniques.

What is the typical work environment for this career?

Ethical Hackers tend to work 37 hours per week with the need to be flexible and occasionally work outside of standard office hours. Many people work from home or from remote locations, although you will need to travel frequently to meet clients. Some companies prefer to have the work completed in-house, so you may be required to work in an office environment.

There are short term contracts and freelance work readily available for ethical hackers. If you have several years’ experience you can move into consultancy work or become self-employed.

What are the daily responsibilities?

As an ethical hacker you can expect your daily responsibilities to include the following;

  • Testing internal servers and systems
  • Conducting penetration tests
  • Identifying security flaws
  • Searching for areas where security may be breached
  • Documenting weak points in the network
  • Reporting findings to organisations
  • Providing recommendations on how to fix any issues
  • Help mitigate risk
  • Training developers to improve security awareness

What is the career path for an Ethical Hacker?

You will begin your career in an entry level role, such as a Junior Systems Administrator or an IT Support role. Once you have gained two years’ experience and the relevant professional qualifications you can then move into the role of an Ethical Hacker. From here the next promotion would be to Penetration Tester.

Once you have progressed up the career ladder and have gained a substantial amount of experience over the years, you can advance into more senior level roles. Senior roles such as Cyber Security Manager and Chief Information Security Officer attract lucrative salaries.

To increase your chances of promotion, you can study courses such as the EC-Council Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester Master. These higher qualifications will further your knowledge of IT Security and set you apart from others.

There are currently 5328 IT Security jobs in the UK

Source: Adzuna

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