Cybersecurity threats have long since been a day-to-day issue for many businesses. And with the increasing number of cyberattacks and security breaches showing no sign of letting up, companies are investing more and more into their cybersecurity protocols.
One facet of cybersecurity that’s seeing an increasing demand is the role of a penetration tester or ethical hacker. Whether you’re already working in IT security or looking to break into the field, obtaining a certified ethical hacker certification is one way to truly stand out amongst the competition.
But while attending a Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) program can undoubtedly help you become a penetration testing professional, there are numerous entry points into the field. Below, we look at the different ways you can get started as an ethical hacker.
Before delving into the different pathways of ethical hacking, we need to first define it. Ethical hacking is an emerging area of information security where certified cybersecurity professionals, also known as ethical hackers, legally exploit the vulnerabilities of a network system or applications in a controlled setting.
As the world of information systems evolves at a rapid pace, the infiltration of a company’s security system through penetration testing is done to circumvent any system vulnerabilities that a malicious actor may try to take advantage of.
What sets an ethical hacker or penetration tester apart from other cybersecurity professionals is the knowledge base, technical knowhow, and tools used by ethical hackers to discover any potential vulnerabilities in network systems.
As ethical hackers exploit threats and vulnerabilities from the attacker’s point of view during testing, companies can safeguard their networks and applications with up-to-date hack-prevention tactics and tools.
Using this strategic approach helps to limit the level of exposure that a business has against security breaches.
A career in ethical hacking or penetration testing can be an exciting and rewarding one. Not only are you authorized and permitted to test system security and identify its vulnerabilities, but the work you do also helps protect businesses and their clients from malicious actors.
Ready to explore your options and establish yourself as a certified ethical hacker? Follow the listed steps below to acquire the expertise you need in the field.
One of the most effective ways to become an ethical hacker is by gaining an entry-level IT role. Training in general IT will help you develop the fundamentals you need, such as administering and configuring systems, coding, and database management.
This role will also help you network and possibly volunteer across several organizations or associations. Getting involved within these communities can help you explore different focus areas that may pique your interest.
After you’ve taken some time to explore some interest areas in cybersecurity, focus your attention on building up some experience. Even before you sign up for online courses, this can be done by doing some self-directed learning.
Teaching yourself to code, participating in cybersecurity war games, and creating open source projects can help you learn and practice practical security concepts. You can even build and secure your own computer network and experiment by hacking it to gain some hands-on experience.
Lastly, consider tapping into online resources like InfoSec, Google’s online security blog, Krebs on Security, and other new sites and blogs to stay up to date with pressing security and risk management news.
Now that you’ve grounded yourself in various aspects of the security domain, it’s time to cultivate your cybersecurity skills. To do this, you’ll need to earn some certificates.
One of the essential certifications you’ll require to actually land job opportunities as an ethical hacker is the Certified Ethical Hacker Certification. This comprehensive ethical hacking course is considered a baseline certification and used by many organizations, enterprises, and government agencies as a hiring standard.
The C|EH training program teaches you the fundamentals of ethical hacking, covering the five phases of ethical hacking as well as the tools and techniques necessary to perform security vulnerability analysis in the same fashion as a malicious hacker.
To further add credibility and value to your skills and qualifications, consider sitting for other relevant IT credentials such as Cisco career certifications.
An excellent certification that enhances your foundational networking knowledge is the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) training course. To develop your skills in developing a security infrastructure and mitigating security threats to networks, consider the CCNA Security certification.
Both courses do require you to initially pass the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) course to qualify for the training programs.
Lastly, connecting with the relevant professionals will help you in building knowledge and establishing your name, quickly advancing your career. As mentioned earlier, attending the right events and engaging in conferences can show that you are committed to professional development, which can catch the attention of potential employers.
Despite being an emerging specialization in cybersecurity, ethical hackers, skilled in information security and network systems, are in incredible demand. The looming threat of cyberattacks means every business and government body requires subject matter experts who can further shore up their security systems against cyber intrusions.
There is no better time than now to enter the exciting domain of ethical hacking. By following the roadmap above, you can build out a portfolio of credentials that allows you to compete for any high-demand cybersecurity job out there.
If you want to start investing in your future as an ethical hacker now, please get in touch with us at REI.