How To Become An Ethical Hacker
The demand for ethical hackers has grown substantially in the past few years and with malicious cyber attacks on the rise, ethical hacking is one of the most sought-after skills in the cyber security industry.
What is an ethical hacker?
An ethical hacker is a computer security expert who intentionally tries to penetrate a company’s infrastructure in order to help them identify potential security threats and network vulnerabilities.
Ethical hackers are also called ‘white hat’ hackers. They use their skills to document vulnerabilities instead of exploiting them, reporting vulnerabilities back to the organisation to prevent data breaches and minimising damage. In exchange for the vulnerability report, organisations pay the ethical hacker for their work in identifying the security issues.
A typical day for an ethical hacker may include; testing internal servers and systems, penetration testing and searching for areas where security may be breached. As well as, documenting weak points in the infrastructure, providing recommendations on how to fix any issues, helping migrate risk and conducting training with developers to improve security awareness.
What qualifications do ethical hackers need?
You do not need to have a degree to become an Ethical Hacker. However, you will need to have extensive experience with computer systems. The most internationally recognised qualification an ethical hacker can obtain is the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) by EC-Council.
This CEH course will teach you the basics of hacking, penetration testing, identifying viruses, scanning networks and evading firewalls. Giving you an in-demand skillset that will see you rising through the cybersecurity ranks in no time.
In order to complete the CEH course, students will need some knowledge on computer networks either through working in IT or by gaining the Certified Network Defender (CND) qualification.
What kind of ethical hacker job roles are there?
Ethical hackers are in high demand and while there are many employers out there looking for ethical hackers, having CEH on your resumé can provide you with a range of opportunities in the cybersecurity industry. Some examples of positions you could be qualified to apply for would be; IT Security Officer, Site Administrator, Application Security Consultant and Penetration Tester. With experience this career path could lead you to positions such as; Cyber Security Manager, Hacking Forensic Investigator and Chief Information Security Officer.
How much money do ethical hackers make?
The average UK salary for a Certified Ethical Hacker is £58,000. This is a huge increase from a Network Support Technician who earns on average £23,000 but with a small investment can gain the CEH qualification.
Once you have achieved the CEH qualification and gained experience there is nothing stopping you from earning upwards of £65,000 as a Penetration Tester. Senior-level positions such as Cyber Security Manager earns on average £70,000, while a Chief Information Security Officer earns on average over £100,000.
What courses can I do after the CEH?
The Certified Ethical Hacker course will provide you with all the information you need to start your career in cybersecurity. However, if you want to enhance your resumé you can add on a six (6) hour CEH practical exam. This practical exam along with the CEH multiple choice exam will give you the accreditation of Certified Ethical Hacker Master. This proves to an employer that you have practiced hacking and have been awarded the internationally recognised Master title.
Take your core certification to the next level with the EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) course. This hands-on course will take you beyond the generic kill chain methodology and immerse you into a program with labs and exercises that cover real world scenarios.
You can also deviate into different fields of cybersecurity with qualifications such as; Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator, Certified Secure Computer User, Certified Application Security Engineer and Certified Incident Handler.
The highest qualification that you can achieve would be the Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO). This elite program has been designed to produce top-level information security executives. The program has certified some of the world’s leading information security professionals. Chief Information Security Officers with this elite certification can earn upwards of £100,000.