How to Become a System, Network, or Web Penetration Tester

System, network and web penetration testers range in experience from entry-level quality assurance clerks to experienced IT professionals. Penetration testers are included in virtually every aspect of the IT industry and work for many companies, from small corporations to government institutions.

What Is a System, Network or Web Penetration Tester?

$75,660
Bachelor's Degree
1 to 5 years
None
302,300
22%
65,700
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The position of penetration tester is extremely broad. Some are quality assurance clerks that do Q&A testing for web applications, computer applications, operating systems and games. These quality assurance clerks usually need to record and report faults within a system, as well as any complications that arise through using the system. A Q&A clerk will usually test specific features as directed.

Other penetration testers will operate much like security engineers. They may not test the program itself but instead may create a plan and metrics by which a program or system should be tested security engineers are highly trained and highly paid professionals who usually have many years of experience in the field. This field reports a median salary of $75,660 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Does a System, Network or Web Penetration Tester Do?

Testers will usually begin with an already established system. Only architects and engineers actually set up a system. The job of a penetration tester is very similar to a security specialist or to an analyst. They will usually use a system in such a way as to try to break the system and to identify any hidden faults within the security. Being a penetration tester demands a very thorough demeanor and the ability to be very consistent. Many penetration testers are responsible for the security of a network.

Penetration testers work as consultants or for IT firms. A penetration tester usually will work on a contract basis rather than working directly for a company, but the salary rates are extremely high and there is room to grow within the field. Most penetration testers will work alone or with small teams, and they may work with the existing IT staff at a company. Penetration testers will make suggestions about how to increase system security and it will be up to the company to implement these suggestions. A penetration tester may also test the system after the changes have been made to verify that it is now secure.

How Do You Become a System, Network or Web Penetration Tester?

Most penetration testers already have experience within the field. A Bachelor’s Degree in an IT field is usually a necessity for entry into the industry. However, Q&A clerks can usually begin with an Associate’s Degree or no training at all. Some Q&A clerks can advance significantly through the use of certifications and the building up of experience. Penetration testers usually have certifications in the area of security and can move from other areas of computer security.

How Do You Advance as a System, Network or Web Penetration Tester?

A penetration tester’s best move for advancement is usually to become an information security analyst. According to O*Net Online, information security analysts make $86,170 annually and the industry has a faster than average growth. Penetration testers perform many of the same tasks as information security analysts but don’t always have the same level of responsibility.

Penetration testers that perform well within their IT firms may find themselves given more advanced projects or may have staff members assigned under them. Penetration testers can also branch out into other related fields. Network administration, systems administration and other branches of quality assurance can all be easily moved into from the system, network and web penetration industry.

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