Businesses and government organizations need certified ethical hackers (CEHs) to ensure their networks, systems, and applications are secure from
illegal hackers. When a company’s data is breached or a denial of service attack takes down the company’s systems, money is lost and the company’s reputation could be tarnished. Organizations are willing to pay high salaries for ethical hackers that have the right education, hold the right certification, and have the right experience.
Credentials to Get a Job as a Certified Ethical Hacker
Before you can obtain an ethical hacking job, you need to have the right credentials. You’ll need at least a couple of years of experience in the IT field for most large companies and government organizations to consider you for a position. Furthermore, you’ll probably need at least a bachelor’s degree to land a job at a Fortune 500 company. However, there are many different kinds of companies looking for ethical hackers, so these credentials aren’t always requirements.
A credential that is a requirement is certification. When you become a certified ethical hacker, employers know you have the technical knowledge to do the job as well as the necessary soft skills such as social engineering, communications, and problem solving. Importantly, employers see the certified ethical hacker credential and know that you understand the laws and ethics of legal hacking and that you adhere to the certified ethical hacker’s professional code of conduct.
Job Titles for Certified Ethical Hackers
Certified ethical hackers have a specialized and highly sought after set of skills that can be applied to a variety of job titles. When you’re looking for a position, search for jobs with titles like information security analyst, security engineer, penetration tester, security analyst, security consultant, site administrator, network security specialist, information technology auditor, computer forensics analyst, and homeland security specialist.
In the government sector, search for defense contractors like Lockheed Martin or Booz Allen Hamilton, which provide information technology contractors to government organizations. You can also search for jobs directly with the military or government agencies such as the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, National Security Agency, or the Department of Defense.
Of course, you could always start your own independent security consulting company. Many companies prefer to bring in an external expert to handle penetration testing and other ethical hacking projects rather than hire a full-time employee for the job.
Salaries for Certified Ethical Hackers
Entry level salaries for professionals who are certified ethical hackers typically start in the $50,000 range. Depending on how many years of experience you have, your salary could start in the $80,000, $90,000, or even $100,000 range.
According to Payscale.com, salaries for individuals with certified ethical hacker credentials in the United States range from $48,952 to $109,573. Payscale.com also reports that most people with certified ethical hacker credentials have between one and 19 years of experience (2% have less than 1 year, 29% have between 1-4 years, 28% have between 5-9 years, 33% have between 10-19 years, and 8% have 20 or more years).
Bottom-line, if you enjoy legal hacking and have the right education, experience, and certification, then a job as a certified ethical hacker could be perfect for you.