In information technology era where cloud network is used to store the company’s sensitive data, cybersecurity is very important. To increase the cybersecurity, a lot of process need to be done such as penetration test. This is why a PenTester is needed as they are very important role that’s needed for the company’s cybersecurity development.
What is PenTester?
PenTester is someone who work to penetrate the company’s network system to test the flaws in their cybersecurity. This process is done under permission that is given by the owner of the network so it is not breaking any rule or law.
You will have 3 settings for this job where you will be working as:
- In house tester
As an in-house tester you will be able to familiarize yourself to the company’s cybersecurity and network. So, you will have more influence in the security patches and updates that you suggest to the team.
- For security company
Here you will work as an external consultant that is hired by the company to audit the security in their system and help identifying potential risk on their cybersecurity. In the process. you will observe the client’s system first to find vulnerabilities. Then once every preparation is done you can use those vulnerabilities that you found to infiltrate the client’s system and try to access their data. The advantage of having this setting is you can learn more ability since the test that you do are varied.
- Freelance contractor
The process here is similar to previous setting but you will act independently instead of being part of a company. The advantage of this setting is you will have more freedom in the term of schedule. However, you need to find your own client which might be difficult especially at the start of your career when you are not well known yet.
The importance of Penetration Testing
PenTest is a good career since penetration testing itself is very important for all companies. This process is needed as it can help to discover loop holes in various digital technologies. Here are some of the important function of this test:
- Identifying vulnerabilities and threats
- Providing assessment of the client’s security design, procedures and policies
- Giving feedback on how to secure the vulnerabilities so it would not be used in a real breach
- Identifying access point used by hacker to steal sensitive data
- Help to validate and test the cybersecurity and whether additional protection is needed or not
The salary of a pentester, or penetration tester, can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and industry. According to the website PayScale, the average salary for a pentester in the United States is around $83,000 per year, with entry-level salaries starting around $57,000 and experienced professionals earning up to $132,000. However, salaries can also be higher in certain industries such as finance and healthcare, as well as in cities with higher costs of living.
But in a southeast asia country like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam internal pentester salary is arround $25,000 per year
Job Responsibilities and Duties
As PenTester you will have a lot of responsibilities and duties to perform. They are slightly different depends on which settings that you work in. However, generally you will be task to do these things:
Design and plan the test
As tester you will be task to design the simulation and experiments that can help to evaluate the effectiveness of the cybersecurity measures in a system. Depends on the goal of the test you may need to target specific security measures.
Perform the test as well as other simulation
Once the designing and planning assessment is done, then you will be task to perform the test as well as other simulation planned to the target. You will do it by yourself or together with a few members depends on the size of the team. Besides investigating the client’s cybersecurity, you will also be task to document everything.
- Making new method that can be used to identify and test vulnerabilities
- Carry out security assessment on network, server, system and devices physically to find vulnerabilities and identify which parts that need physical protection.
- Find entry points, loopholes and method that might be used by hackers in exploiting the system weakness and vulnerabilities.
- Find weakness in various proprietary system, web application, and software.
- Making report and suitable recommendation
You will need to put everything that you find in a report that you will present to your supervisors as well as the client. You might need to use technical language or a more commonly use language on the report depends on your audience. You will also make suitable recommendation in your report based on what you found during the test.
Giving advice on how to improve the security
If you are already in senior level, then you might be task to give advice to improve the security. You will work as consultant to communicate with the client’s management to help them understand the risk of the vulnerabilities that the team found and give them advice to address and improve them.
Staying up-to-date on emerging threats
Staying up-to-date on emerging threats is a critical component of a penetration tester’s job. It is important to stay current with the latest threats, as cybercriminals are constantly developing new attack techniques and tools. Here are some methods for staying informed about emerging threats:
- Attend cybersecurity conferences and events: These provide an opportunity to learn from other professionals and stay informed about emerging threats and industry trends.
- Participate in online forums and discussion groups: These can provide insights from other experts and help stay up-to-date with the latest tools and techniques.
- Follow cybersecurity news sources: This can help keep track of new vulnerabilities and potential threats.
- Use specialized tools: There are many specialized tools and resources available for penetration testers that can help identify emerging threats and vulnerabilities.
To be able to work in this field you need to have a few qualifications. Some companies might have different qualification that they look for but generally the qualification are:
To start your career, you need to have bachelor degree in related specification such as cybersecurity, network management, IT, forensic computing or computer science. Sometimes the employer might want a candidate with mater degree for senior level. However, some employer will see your experience and knowledge more than your formal education.
As tester you will need to get several certifications. There are a few types of certification that you can get depends on the specification path that you are interested on. Those types are:
- Web application PenTest certification
- Mobile PenTest certification
- Network PenTest certification
- Cloud PenTest certification
As the types differ, that means you need to choose which specification that you need. Generally, the certification that you need are:
- CEH certification
- LPT certification
- OSCP certification
- OSWE Certifications
- GPEN certification
- GXPN certification
- CPT certification
- MCP certification
- CCNA security certification
- CompTIA PenTest+ certification
- CEPT certification
- CRTOP certification
- CMWAPT certification
It is important for you to get experience in relevant field where you can build your skill and have connection within the field. For entry level you might need around 1 up to 4 years working experience. So, try to get involved in various activities that will give you similar skills needed for this job.
Remember that skills are very important for PenTester as your job involved activities that need advanced skill to be successful. There are a few skills that you need if you want to have a career in this field such as:
- Desire to continue learning
Cybersecurity is a field where changes continues to happen as cybercriminals and hackers use different tactics and strategies to keep up with the evolving technology. That is why, you need to continue learning about the newest technologies, malware and threat.
- Ability to work in team
Most of the time, you will be part of a team that will work together during the test. That way lower responsibilities can be put on junior level while senior level does more pressing matters. Thus, you need to be able to work in team when you want to build career in this field.
- Good writing skills
As part of the test, you will need to create report on what you find to senior member, management team or even clients. Thus, you will need to have good writing skills that will help you communicate your finding better.
- Knowledge on vulnerabilities and exploit
This is the most common knowledge that every tester should have. Thus, if you want to have better opportunity to get a job you might need to advance your knowledge better. Show that you have the ability needed beyond the normal approach that most tester use.
- Coding and scripting knowledge
To work on this job, you need to have good knowledge of coding and scripting that will be use a lot in this field. It will also help during individual assessment since you will work more efficient and save more time.
- Operating systems knowledge
As you will work to penetrate a system this means you need to have advanced knowledge on this field. You will use this skill during assessment so it is a basic knowledge that everyone should have.
- Network protocols and networking knowledge
This knowledge will help you to understand how cybercriminals and hackers perform their attack. You also need to understand various network protocols such as DHCP, DNS, ARP, TCP/IP as well as UDP.
Penetration Tester field has a lot of opportunity since it is very important role that needed by all companies. Furthermore, you have option to work directly for the company or working outside for security organization and even as freelancer.
This means, you will be able to work on this career while you study in the right field. Of course, experience and skill are very important part if you want to work as PenTester. So, you need to learn and find your specification that you like.
Description: PenTester is someone who work to penetrate the company’s network system to test the flaws in their cybersecurity.
Tags: PenTester, PenTester qualification, PenTester certification, PenTester job, PenTester skill