What are the benefits of OSCP?

The Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) certification validates one’s ability to conduct advanced penetration testing on corporate networks.

Summary: Passing the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) exam demonstrates the certificate holder’s competence in advanced penetration testing skills. With proactive cyber defense now top-of-mind for today’s business leaders, this widely-recognized accreditation will open the door to many well-paid job opportunities.

Penetration testing is one of the most in-demand job roles in the rapidly growing information security market. More and more employers are looking for professionals who can demonstrate the skills necessary to deliberately hack into their systems to identify vulnerabilities before malicious actors do.

Becoming a penetration tester does not require any formal higher education since it is purely a skills-based profession – not to mention a relatively new one. It is recommended that candidates have at least two years of experience in systems administration, information security, or network engineering before embarking on a penetration testing career path. Also, earning a certification like CompTIA’s Network+ or Security+ can demonstrate the candidate’s readiness to start ethical hacking and penetration testing.

As more companies across all industry sectors recognize the value of penetration testing, the demand for these skills continues to grow. Even though it is an entry-level credential, OSCP serves as an entry point into a market with an average yearly salary of $95,000. That said, the benefits of becoming an OSCP extend far beyond financial compensation alone.

Here are some other top benefits of OSCP:

#1. Earn a widely recognized industry certification

Penetration testing is a broad approach that involves leveraging the same methods that real-world attackers use. This real-world aspect also means that companies put a great deal of trust in penetration testers, who deliberately attempt to gain access to their systems. As such, no one is likely to hire a penetration tester who does not have a widely recognized certification, such as OSCP or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).

Along with the CEH accreditation, OSCP is one of the world’s most widely recognized, even if it has not yet been approved as a baseline credential for the US DoD. Moreover, the OSCP is specifically geared towards penetration testing, whereas CEH tackles the broader concept of ethical hacking. Though both certifications are broadly recognized and cater to slightly different sectors, the choice primarily comes down to the candidate’s professional goals and personal preferences.

#2. Become accustomed to real-world use cases

Penetration testing is a red-teaming role in which security professionals take an adversarial approach and simulate the actions of malicious actors. Part of the job is rigorously challenging the assumptions, systems, and policies that enterprises already have in place, and there is no better way to do that than by thinking like an attacker.

Becoming an OSCP means adopting the hacker’s mindset and becoming accustomed to the real-world threats that target businesses every day. Additionally, penetration testers must be adept at crafting comprehensive reports that thoroughly document any vulnerabilities they find, how they managed to exploit them, and what their clients should do to remediate them. This process allows penetration testers to understand better the alignment between the needs of businesses and real-world threats. After all, being an ethical hacker is far from the unrealistic stereotype commonly portrayed in movies.

#3. Stay on the cutting edge of information security

Ethical hackers and penetration testers have the enviable distinction of being on the cutting edge of information security. Their job is to help organizations stay one step ahead of the most sophisticated cyber threats in the world, such as those perpetrated by organized crime groups and state-sponsored adversaries.

Penetration testing, just like any other area of information security, is a rapidly evolving field where the only constant is change. Completing the OSCP course and passing the exam is just the first step towards a career on the frontlines of cybersecurity, in which new threats and use cases appear regularly. Because of this, penetration testers must continuously adapt, hone their skills, and use the latest technical solutions to carry out their simulated attacks. In other words, every day is different for penetration testing consultants and other specialists.

#4. Reveal new cyber threats and vulnerabilities

It might sound like a cliché, but penetration testing comes with a strong and a noble sense of purpose. Given how much the modern world relies on digital technologies, the ability to counter threats that can cause serious harm is commendable and vital for the stability of today’s communities. By helping enterprises improve their security postures, penetration testers also help protect their customers, society, and the economy.

Accomplished penetration testers are often responsible for discovering entirely new and unknown cyber threats. They may even find vulnerabilities that could potentially affect a huge number of businesses and their customers, or even entire supply chains and industries. More than ever, the world relies on penetration testers to maintain the status quo with real-world threat actors.

#5. Lay the foundations for a lucrative career

Aside from the desirable financial compensation that accredited penetration testers expect, becoming an OSCP is also a gateway to a very lucrative and future-proof career. Offensive Security, the organization that maintains the OSCP certification, also offers additional certifications for those who want to grow their career. For example, the OSEP certification is a very high-level credential that validates the most advanced penetration testing skills with the potential of salaries upwards of $150,000.

It would also be a mistake to assume that penetration testing is a niche job area. There are many opportunities for penetration testers to specialize. Offensive Security offers courses and certifications in web application testing, security operations, and exploit development.

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