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How to become a penetration tester?

Irrespective of the amount of money or the sophistication of your cyber security details, you can never be too sure about the effectiveness unless it survives an attack.  As much as cyber security has developed over the years, attacks have never stopped. Cybercriminals keep on finding new ways to get past the security and they often succeed. Sometimes, they do so by trying out new (erstwhile undiscovered) loopholes in a systems database. At other times, they simply build on and strengthen the very basic attacks.

This reason is why penetration testing exists. It is like an oversight mechanism for systems security that checks for security inconsistencies and launches a demo attack to see how well the security setup responds to these attacks.  At other times, pen testing is done by carrying out using previously known cyber-attack methods.

How to become a penetration tester?

Is It The Same As A Vulnerability Assessment Test?

There is a huge difference between pen testing and vulnerability assessment tests. While both are cyber security oversight mechanisms, the former is just a basic scan of the condition of the cyber security systems; how updated they are, whether there are possible set up loopholes, and so on. Basically, it is an evaluation of a security system based on the pre-existing standard and erstwhile security challenges. A pen test on the other hand is an attack under simulation to test the security systems, detect new loopholes and consequently work on the possible means of resolving the loophole challenge.

Who Is A Penetration Tester

With the amount of information on penetration testing that you have seen above, you can pretty much guess who a penetration tester is. A penetration tester – also described as an ethical hacker – is a professional that carries out simulated cyber-attacks against security systems to determine possible shortcomings (loopholes) and works with other cyber security operatives to prevent the future exploitation of these loopholes by cybercriminals.  

Essentially, this individual is a paid hacker that is legally permitted to carry out cyber-attacks on security systems of website and a mobile app, network frameworks, and computer systems.

What Is The Work Of A Pentester?

A Penetration tester is not just someone that knows of system loopholes and hacking, he is someone that is able to think like a hacker, walk like a hacker and pay attention to details like cybercriminals do.  Due to the delicacy of this kind of job, a pen tester has to be proactive and smart. Let’s examine some of the things pen testers do

  1. THEY CARRY OUT RECONNAISSANCE – In the ever-developing world of cyber-crimes, information is power. A penetration tester always carries out deep research of the type of system they are supposed to hack and the most effective method of bringing out the vulnerabilities of this system. This job – for a pen tester is very important. An insufficient amount of information would produce a failed attempt or a failed testing. If the testing is not up to date enough to bring out current vulnerabilities, the system is at the mercy of the hackers.
  2. THEY SCAN – Penetration testers carry out a thorough scan of the possible routes of entry, open ports, and biometric services. This is done in order to determine the possible point of entry in the least suspected manner. This scan is important for stealth and consequent loophole discovery. They target all the possible means of legitimate entry, especially in the conditions of a database test.
  3. THEY GAIN ACCESS – After pen testers carry out the appropriate scans to their satisfaction, they launch numerous assaults in as legitimate a manner as possible with the hope of exploiting them to the advantage of their hacking process.  In other words, they begin to launch attacks that seem like normal use of the service to the server, network, or database system. Meanwhile, all this is done to extract a needed data or just gain access into the system’s backend.
  4. THEY MAINTAIN THEIR ACCESS – Of course, the primary goal of pen testing is to detect vulnerabilities and do it as undetectable as possible. This implies that there is a pre-existing security detail that is being subjected to scrutiny. Because of that, a pen tester has to be able to gain access and maintain this access without being detected and kicked out by the security system. If they are able to achieve that, they stealthily begin to launch sneak attacks on the other structures in the said system. In some other instances, the entry point has nothing to do with their primary goal. All in all, they usually have plans for access maintenance and further exploitation after gaining access.
  5. THEY COVER THEIR TRACKS – Pen testers need to be in the systems for as long as possible to give them a good analysis of all the possible loopholes. Due to this, they cannot risk exposure to the existing security system of the particular server, database, or app they are working on. They, therefore, need to be able to cover their tracks in legitimacy. They usually do this by playing off the books that is, not out rightly doing anything out of the ordinary. They study the security algorithm from the information they have gathered and play off the dataset provided for this algorithm to act upon.  This is what is called stealth.
  6. THEY IDENTIFY AND NOTE ALL VULNERABILITIES – The more a pen tester probes into a security system, the more vulnerabilities e discovers. While probing deep into a security framework, pen testers note all the channels they exploit and how they went about it. They then provide this information to the other member of the security team to act on. These sets of information provide the security teams with areas to focus on, data sets to strengthen, and what backup plans to initiate. This is the primary aim of pen-testing. Pen testers are often bound by the oaths of ethical hacking and they are not meant to sell vulnerabilities to outsiders and third parties.

Summarily, what a penetration tester does involves :

  • They search for and fix loopholes in an organization’s security system
  • They help in the discovery of erstwhile overlooked or undiscovered flaws in a security system
  • To carry out an assessment of what it would cost the organization if a cyber-attack (most especially a data breach) occurs both in terms of data and capital
  • They help to analyze the preparedness of an organization, the speed of their response to attacks, and the speed and effectiveness of their response to the attack.
  • A pen tester helps to meet the requirements of the PCI – an organization meant to regulate the flow of user data and the extent of a systems security
  • They carry out a yearly exercise to perceive how the organization stands up in the always-changing danger scene.
  • They analyze and show the dangerous stance of an objective framework in a live climate.
education and skills

What Skills Should A Penetration Tester Possess

  1. A PENETRATION TESTER MUST BE CURRENT – A vulnerability tester must be knowledgeable about the ever-evolving landscape of security systems, the cyber-crime landscape, and the general flow of information in both worlds. As a penetration tester, each new errand or venture is a learning opportunity; an opportunity to get familiar with another framework or update your abilities. On the off chance that you discover steady learning and relearning a distressing cycle, maybe you're in the wrong field. However, if you derive pleasure to partake in each moment of learning new things, this is the correct way for you.
  2. A PENETRATION TESTER MUST BE ALWAYS WILLING TO LEARN - Learning is a constant interaction. It is impossible for an analyzer to be a specialist in all areas however they ought to be dynamic students and foster constant encounters. Instead of depending on a review code from a security company, they ought to have the option to assemble a virtual machine, acquire the code, and test it themselves. Although this expertise may not be exceptionally useful in the entrance tests, yet they can review their memory to learn new ways. To turn into a capable penetration tester, you can exhibit persistent development by sharing recordings of their learning.
  3. A PENETRATION TESTER MUST BE INSIGHTFUL AND METICULOUS - No two frameworks are similar. Devices and techniques that work so brilliantly on one framework may not yield palatable outcomes on another. Each climate is unique and should be drawn nearer in an efficient way. A decent penetration tester can break new ground and will not spare a moment to move toward a task in manners never been done; similarly as a genuine attacker would in reality. Tender loving care is pivotal; having the option to recognize small contrasts between setups can mean the distinction between an effective endeavor or not.
  4. A PENETRATION TESTER MUST KNOW HOW TO COMMUNICATE – Communication is an important part of penetration testing. The flow of information has to be free from him or her to the members of the organization’s security team. This helps fosters effective delivery of perfect results. Any slight mistake or misunderstanding can spell a different result in cyber security; therefore a pen tester must be as clear and concise as possible in his or her communication.
  5. A PENETRATION TESTER MUST UNDERSTAND SECURE WEB INTERACTIONS - Testers should fathom everything from how to select a web space name to its application to a cloud IP address, they should in like manner appreciate the precepts of web improvement. Web applications are ordinary and pen tried should know how they are created, how to recognize input fields, amass information, etc. to exploit the weakness of the application. Besides a pen tester should know how to write codes, the basic languages that they need for fundamentals are Python, Java, PowerShell, Peri, and Bash.
  6. A PENETRATION CENTER MUST HAVE PASSION FOR THE WORLD OF CYBER-SECURITY – As a pen tester, the enthusiasm for hacking, digital protection, and related ideas should be what makes a big difference for you. There is a requirement for you to have a supporting drive despite overpowering pressing factors and data over-burden.

Summarily, a decent pen tester should have the option to work under tension, should be careful, should be acceptable at keeping records and taking notes, and in particular, should be reliable. You can't have a pen analyzer revealing the security subtleties of an association. That might be exceptionally cataclysmic.

penetration tster skills

What Are The Job Responsibilities Of A Penetration Tester

  • They do attack on a planned – in some cases unpredictable –  premise to decide the strength and the method of reaction of the organization’s and security framework.
  • They compose a broad report of how security shows work and a record of how to sidestep them.
  • They give a point-by-point investigation of the general overview of the effect of specific frameworks attacks on the activities and finances of an association. Basically, they run a danger cum cost investigation of an attack on a cyber protection framework
  • Due to the trust bosses have for them, they make recommendations for financing potential enhancements in the security system of an association.
  • They study how security outline works, find out about hacking apparatuses and strategies, and they gadget new hacking devices of their own
  • They use open-source understanding (OSINT) to choose a system for the simulated attack and the time they would sidestep the erstwhile security of the association.
  • Redefine the means that their association takes in combatting certain security dangers.
  • They investigate security approaches, techniques, and strategies and make the important rectification to work on in general protection from assaults

Step By Step Instructions To Become A Penetration Tester

  1. DEVELOP AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE CONCEPT AND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS - To become a pen tester, you need to have an adept comprehension of the sort of occupation you need to take on, the limitations that it might present to you, the significance of the work and the ability set you need to need to perform well in this work. This information will give you the essential foundation that will dispatch you into your vocation as a pen analyzer.
  1. DEVELOP A SOLID BACKGROUND IN CODING, PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES AND HACKING – You need to understand the intricacies of a web application, a database system and hacking to qualify as a pen tester. To do this, you need to be considerably sound in languages of the web, languages of cyber-crime and general coding. All these provide the solid background for your effectiveness as a fully-fledged pen tester.
  1. DEVELOP THE NECSSARY SOFT SKILL SET – To become an effective pen tester, there are a couple of soft skill you need to acquire, these soft skills include communication, time management, team work, human interaction, analytical thinking and so on. It is important that you enroll to learn for this skill set and put them to test as an intern. Some of the other skill set you require include:
  • Cloud computing, technology and architecture
  • Technical writing and data analysis
  • Threat assessment and modeling
  • Security assessment tool usage
  • Application and Network security management e.t.c
  1. GET A DEGREE – Despite the shift in employer requirements towards results, a degree is a major catalyst that sets you apart as an effective pen tester. If you intend to become a career pen tester, you need to put in an application for the course and get a degree from a recognized institute of learning. A certificate of leaning completion is a huge boost when you get to the job market. Some examples of Ed tech platforms that can offer you degree from reputable schools include:
  • Coursera
  • EDX
  1. GET EXPERIENCED - Learning is just one phase of becoming a pen tester; you need to be able to put all that you have learnt into practice. You can achieve this by interning at different organizations that will expose you to real life work. You can also gain experience by experimenting and creating simulations for yourself. This is very important as they will expose you to situations beyond the conventional and the ideal. In detail, you can get experience by:
  • Internship
  • Freelancing
  • Home practice
  1. GET CERTIFIED – obviously, the affirmation of learning isn't sufficient to acquire the trust of associations. You should be get ensured by the bodies accountable for ethical hacking. This can be accomplished by taking proficient assessments and breezing through them. As you progress in your excursion as a pen tester, you need to proceed to advance and grow your mindset, get more authentications of greatness by taking the more expert assessments. These things are significant for your standing. A portion of the exceptionally appraised confirmations incorporate:
  • CompTIA PenTest+
  • GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN)
  • GIAC Web Application Penetration Tester (GWAPT)
  • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)
  • Certified Penetration Tester (CPT)
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
the identity of a real penetration tester

The Salary Of a Pen-Tester

A pen tester’s pay is a dependent on a series of factors that include:

  • Location
  • Company
  • Experience level
  • Education
  • Certifications
  • Country
  • Personal reputation.

It is significant that as you develop in any of the given factors above (experience, education, certification, and reputation), your compensation as a pen tester goes up. For the most part, the compensation of a pen tester averages a sum of $103,000 dollars in the United States Cyber-sec market.


Pen testing is a vital occupation in the digital protection world. It requires a great deal of discipline, commitment, and brightness – everything which can be created with time. It is additionally a steady trial of reliability and enthusiasm and genuineness; you are continually presented to mysteries and weaknesses that could cost associations. In any case, it is a task that merits the chances and it is particularly fun on the off chance that you love new difficulties and investigation.



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February 26, 2024
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