How To Become an Ethical Hacker. White hat, or ethical, hackers use their advanced knowledge and expertise to assist firms fix vulnerabilities in their systems and strengthen their network security measures. For someone who loves challenges and is enthusiastic about cybersecurity, a job as an ethical hacker may be alluring. Understanding the duties and qualifications of ethical hackers will help you determine whether a career in information technology (IT) security is a good fit for your objectives and interests.
We go over what ethical hackers do, how to become one, and the pay scale for this IT security position in this post.
What do ethical hackers do?
Although most people link hacking to crimes, ethical hackers apply their knowledge and abilities to assist corporations in creating more secure information networks. They take advantage of their technological expertise to spot gaps in data computer security and assist in finding vulnerabilities to shield people and businesses from online fraud. These are a few of their key roles:
- Security evaluation: Organizations may employ ethical hackers to carry out regular security evaluations, which can assist them in identifying any risks to the data stored in the system. As part of the evaluation, a system vulnerability check is performed, and methods to reduce the likelihood of malevolent hackers attacking are suggested.
- Threat modeling: By offering a thorough understanding of prospective risks and their consequences on the company through modeling, ethical hackers can assist in lowering the frequency or intensity of attacks.
- Security enhancements: Ethical hackers gather information about network vulnerabilities and assemble it into written reports or presentations. They can offer improved security measures and communicate their findings with company leaders thanks to these resources.
How to become an ethical hacker
1. Obtain a computer science degree
A computer science degree is often the first step towards a career as an ethical hacker. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology is required for certain roles, while associate degree holders are accepted for others. You may learn the fundamentals of programming and networking using these applications. During your degree programs, you can also take internships that educate you network support and cybersecurity.
2. Obtain your first certificates
A number of certification programs validate an employee’s expertise in computer science, enabling them to apply for entry-level roles in the industry. The CompTIA A+ certification is the first significant credential. A prospective ethical hacker can become certified with an A+ by passing two exams that assess their understanding of computer parts and their aptitude for putting a personal computer (PC) back together.
Before continuing with their profession, individuals can next obtain a CompTIA Network+ or Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) credential. This certification attests to the ethical hacker’s proficiency with networks, including installation, maintenance, troubleshooting, and computer system management.
3. Acquire expertise in network assistance
Network support is the next step in becoming an ethical hacker. At this point, ethical hackers learn how to install, update, and keep an eye on security programs while also looking for flaws. An ethical hacker can obtain experience in entry-level or associate roles in network support, such as working as a network support technician or specialist, before landing a job as a network engineer.
4. Opt to become a network engineer.
The work of network engineers, who also provide network design and maintenance, frequently revolves around data management security issues. You can concentrate on learning more about security precautions and possible dangers after you’re a network engineer. You might also study penetration testing and put your own ethical hacking skills to use. A network engineer must hold certain certifications, such as CompTIA Security+.
5. Earn a CEH certification.
The International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants, or EC-Council, offers the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credential once you have built and secured computer networks for some time. With this qualification, you can work as a network security specialist, security consultant, security auditor, site administrator, security analyst, penetration tester, and ethical hacker, among other related professions. The government and business IT sectors offer high-ranking, well-paying work prospects to those with CEH certification.
To become certified as a CEH, you have two options. You can start by finishing an accredited training program to become a certified ethical hacker. The EC-Council or an authorized third-party training provider are the places where you can sign up for this course. If your profession already involves ethical hacking, you may be able to obtain your certification without going through formal training. You can apply for the CEH Exam, provide proof of your experience in information security, and pay a nonrefundable fee to the EC-Council in order to obtain your certification in this manner.
Essential skills for an ethical hacker
Ability to solve problems
When cybercriminals come up with creative ways to get around network security measures, ethical hackers apply their problem-solving abilities to come up with fresh ideas. To keep networks secure, they could employ a range of apps and tangible safeguards. To stay up to date on the latest developments in cybercrime, an ethical hacker can go to industry conferences or keep an eye on the news. They can then utilize this knowledge to design unique security measures to thwart emerging forms of data intrusions.
Fundamental understanding of hardware
While many businesses keep their network data in an online cloud, large businesses may also have physical servers or data centers where employees may access critical information. A cyberattack may start with a physical breach in a server room or data center. By being aware of the weaknesses in their physical assets and potential attack vectors, ethical hackers can prevent such risks.
Social engineering techniques
Social engineering assaults happen when an employee is persuaded to divulge critical information or to break established security standards. One typical form of social engineering attack is phishing. Employees are trained by ethical hackers on how to recognize and fend against these kinds of security risks.
Knowledge of programming
Writing code using popular scripts like Python and C++ that a computer device can comprehend is known as programming. Programming expertise is used by ethical hackers to construct defenses against threats and develop spoof websites. They might collaborate with the programmers or coders on a team at a corporation to use computer code to construct databases and other resources.
Database administration abilities
Databases of client information are created and maintained by ethical hackers. By being aware of database architecture, ethical hackers can make networks and systems more difficult for cybercriminals to hack into. Database management procedures are typically something that ethical hackers learn early in their careers when working as technical specialists or system engineers.
Even though they frequently handle the majority of their job autonomously, ethical hackers share their discoveries and suggestions with the IT department and programming teams. They might send the company’s senior team letters outlining possible security risks or outlining plans for security improvements. Their success may be aided by their capacity to explain intricate technical ideas to a non-technical audience.
Ethical hacker salary and job outlook
From 2021 to 2031, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 35% rise in employment for IT security experts, which includes ethical hackers. This surge, which includes an expected 19,500 job vacancies annually, is substantially quicker than the economy’s general job growth rate. Click the linked link for the most recent Indeed salary information.
Being a proficient cybersecurity practitioner is essential to being an ethical hacker. This can be accomplished by being knowledgeable about emerging technologies, locating professional associations and organizations dedicated to ethical hacking, as well as online communities and forums where you can network with other ethical hackers, exchange ideas, and form alliances with other experts in the field. It’s possible that you can discover unfilled positions and prospects for ethical hacking by joining firms and keeping up with the latest technological advancements.
FAQs on How To Become an Ethical Hacker
What are the requirements to becoming an ethical hacker?
Most ethical hacking jobs require at least a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, or a related field. Coursework can be substituted for sufficient experience in some cases.
What do you need to know to be an ethical hacker?
Gain a strong foundational understanding of IT and networking, learn programming languages like Python, C++, or Java, master operating systems (especially Linux), take specialized courses in ethical hacking or cybersecurity, earn certifications like the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and gain practical experience
What course should I study to become an ethical hacker?
Many ethical hackers begin their careers by earning a degree in computer science. While some positions accept candidates with an associate degree, others require a bachelor's degree in a computer science or IT field. These programs can help you learn basic networking and programming skills.
How many languages do you need to learn to be an ethical hacker?
PHP, C, C+, SQL, Python and Ruby are the basic programming languages that ethical hackers use.
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