Originally, the term “hacker” referred to a programmer who was skilled in computer operating systems and machine code. Today, it refers to anyone who performs hacking activities. By definition, hacking is the act of changing a system’s features to attain a goal that is not within the original purpose of the creator.
The word “hacking” is usually perceived negatively especially by people who do not understand the job of an ethical hacker. In the hacking world, ethical hackers are good guys. What is their role? They use their vast knowledge of computers for good instead of for malicious reasons. They look for vulnerabilities in the computer security of organizations and businesses to prevent bad actors from taking advantage of them.
The Attraction of a Career in Ethical Hacking
For someone that loves the world of technology and computers, it would be wise to consider an ethical hacking career. You get paid (a good amount) to break into systems. Getting started will not be a walk in the park—just as with any other career. However, as long as you are determined, you can bag yourself a lucrative career.
Stages of an Ethical Hacking Career
When you decide to get started on this journey, you will have to cultivate patience.
The first step for many people is usually to get a degree in computer science. You can also get an A+ certification (CompTIA)—you have to take and clear two different exams.
To be able to take the qualification test, you need to have not less than 500 hours of experience in practical computing. You require experience and a CCNA or Network+ qualification to advance your career.
Once you get the necessary qualification, you are ready to move on to the next stage in network support. In this step, you will do things like updating and monitoring, testing for weakness and installing security programs. You will be acquiring experience in the network security field and your goal should be to become a network engineer.
With experience in network support, you can expect to start earning a very good amount. Instead of supporting networks, you will be planning and designing them. Since you want to become an ethical hacker, your focus should be on the Security part of things. Work at getting a security certification such as TICSA, CISSP or Security+.
This step is very crucial. You will now be in Information Security. Your role will be to evaluate the network and system security and deal with any security breaches. While working here, focus on penetration testing and try to obtain a CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) certification.
What to Expect as an Ethical Hacker
Your main role is to use all your security and technical knowledge to try and breach network securities. You will then give a detailed report of your findings and suggestions to improve the network. The average salary for ethical hackers is $71,000 (without bonus payments).