Much of the focus in tech is on building better websites, apps, software and system, but with such great opportunity also comes great risk.
Enter the ethical hackers, the professionals who help keep businesses safe from cyber attacks and ensure that the digital world can keep on turning.
What Is Ethical Hacking?
Ethical hacking is the practice of searching for weaknesses in a website, app, system or piece of software by hacking it. Informally referred to as “white hat” hacking and also called penetration testing, ethical hacking allows companies to ensure that their systems are invulnerable to attacks.
The term “black hat” hacker is sometimes used in conjunction with white hat hacker, but the two are very different.
A white hat hacker is a legitimate professional who works within the industry to bolster security. A black hat hacker is someone who illegally breaks into websites and systems to cause disrupt or commit crime.
Why Are Ethical Hackers Controversial?
Ethical hacking can be seen a somewhat controversial profession, as some in this line of work gained their experience as black hat hackers. A very select few even continue to hack websites while working as a white hat hacker.
This makes people feel uneasy about using ethical hackers, as it is viewed as no different from paying a burglar to fit a burglar alarm.
However, ethical hacking has evolved from its early days, and the vast majority of those who work in the industry do so to help rather than harm.
How Much Do Ethical Hackers Earn?
Demand for ethical hackers in the UK is high, and as a result, even junior positions offer a very attractive salary. Junior Penetration Testers earn an average of £27,000 a year, and given the need for more workers, proficiently skilled workers can quickly increase their pay.
Roughly 11% of all ethical hackers are self-employed, and this route can be very lucrative. Day rates for ethical hackers average £22 per hour, meaning those who go down this path could earn up to £770 a week by working 35 hours each week if they play their cards right.
How Do I Become An Ethical Hacker?
To become an ethical hacker, you’ll need a qualification in cyber security, and any experience working as an apprentice or in a junior role in the industry will also help your cause. Code Nation’s Master: Cyber course gives anyone looking for a career in ethical hacking the perfect platform to get their first job in this exciting sector.
No ethical hacker will ever be expected to have every skill in their armoury, as the array of skills required to adequately test vulnerabilities extend into too many specialist areas.
Companies with large ethical hacking projects will tend to assemble teams, often known as tiger teams, who have complementing hacking skills which will provide a more comprehensive service.
Ethical hackers perform a vital job in keeping businesses safe from cyber crime, and together with coders, they form a perfect yin and yang of the tech world as one builds and the other safeguards.
Despite their previously murky reputation, ethical hackers are now rightly recognised as a critical component in any tech team, and with a massive shortage of workers in the industry, there’s never been a better time to jump into this fascinating line of work.
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