Chief Information Security Officer
You Can Earn
IT Security Technician
Average salary after completing
You can earn an average of £24,195.10 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++
- 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.