Penetration Tester Certification Prep, Courses & Training

Last year, penetration testers ranked as one of the three most in-demand jobs in the growing cybersecurity job market. To become a penetration tester, a college degree is not necessary since it’s a skills-based profession. Employers want professionals who can demonstrate the required skills, regardless of education. Cybrary offers realistic, virtual lab environments where you will gain real-world, hands-on skills you will use as a penetration tester.
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Overview

What Are Some Penetration Tester Roles and Responsibilities?

Penetration testers seek to identify security vulnerabilities in an organization’s networks and then resolve them, sometimes creating new or improved security protocols. Your job would involve many responsibilities and tasks.

As a penetration tester, you will likely be required to:

  • Perform penetration tests on computer systems, networks, and applications
  • Create new testing methods to identify vulnerabilities
  • Perform physical security assessments of systems, servers, and other network devices to identify areas that require physical protection
  • Pinpoint methods and entry points that attackers may use to exploit vulnerabilities or weaknesses
  • Search for weaknesses in common software, web applications, and proprietary systems
  • Research, evaluate, document, and discuss findings with IT teams and management
  • Review and provide feedback for information security fixes
  • Establish improvements for existing security services, including hardware, software, policies, and procedures
  • Identify areas where improvement is needed in security education and awareness for users
  • Be sensitive to corporate considerations when performing testing (minimize downtime and loss of employee productivity)
  • Stay updated on the latest malware and security threats
  • While the above are typical responsibilities for a penetration tester, you may have additional duties depending on the organization you work for. Sometimes there is overlap in IT positions, so it is essential to be flexible and to work as part of a cohesive team.

    What Are Some Penetration Tester Job Requirements?

    While it may be possible to find a job as a penetration tester based solely on having the right set of skills, most employers prefer to hire penetration testers who have previous relevant work experience. Some employers want employees who have at least a bachelor’s degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that employers prefer to fill entry-level positions in the field of information security analysis with applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information security, or another comparable field of study. Some employers may want penetration testers to have programming skills in specific programming languages and operating systems. Additionally, employers may require that penetration testers have certification in ethical hacking and other IT security areas.

    Most employers will want penetration testers to have excellent computer skills so they can attempt hacking systems. Penetration testers require solid analytical skills to evaluate and analyze the processes involved in resolving existing and potential security threats. It’s also important for penetration testers to have proficient communication skills as they will be writing reports and working closely with other IT professionals and departments. Most importantly, penetration testers must have exceptional problem-solving skills to determine the best course of action when resolving issues and protecting networks from potential threats or breaches.

    What is a Typical Penetration Tester Job Description?

    As a penetration tester, you will be responsible for protecting computer information systems from adversaries. Your role will include running tests on applications, networks, and software. You will attempt to hack in, allowing you to access data that should not be accessible to unauthorized individuals. You will be responsible for identifying any potential weaknesses in existing systems and collaborating with other departments and professionals to determine the most effective and efficient way to resolve them. This may require adding new or additional security measures and rewriting program code.

    Additional duties for a penetration tester includes reviewing any security system incidents, documenting threats, and completing reports concerning your findings. You may also be asked to design improved security protocols and policies.

    Ultimately, you will utilize your knowledge to find vulnerabilities in networks, internal systems, and applications. This may include automated testing but may also require manually attempting to breach security. It may also include creating new tests to identify system weaknesses and pinpointing entry points for adversaries. When vulnerabilities are identified, you will be responsible for advising managers or executives on how to make systems more secure.

    A Day in the Life of a Penetration Tester

    What a typical day as a penetration tester looks like will depend on your employer. Some may travel between different sites or be required to work evenings and weekends to not disrupt the company’s workflow, or they may be able to perform some duties remotely or by telecommuting. The heart of the penetration tester position is identifying security system vulnerabilities by attempting to exploit them and then coming up with solutions to resolve the weaknesses to keep their organization’s information safe.

    A typical day for a penetration tester may include the following tasks:

  • Plan a specific penetration test
  • Create or select the appropriate testing tools
  • Perform the penetration test on networks, applications, or systems
  • Document methodologies
  • Identify vulnerabilities using the data gathered
  • Review and evaluate findings
  • Establish possible solutions for the weaknesses
  • Provide feedback and recommendations to management or clients

    Frequently Asked Questions
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    How Long Will It Take To Be Job Ready?

    If you can dedicate
    hours per week, you can be certified in just...
    2 months
    What Will I Learn?
    Foundations
    Focused on the core IT competencies that cybersecurity professionals need to succeed in any career path.
    Defensive Security
    Focused on trying to find the bad guys. Topics such as threat intelligence, threat hunting, network monitoring, incident response. Defensive security is a reactive measure taken once a vulnerability is found through prevention, detection, and response.
    Engineering and Operations
    Focused on building and operating information systems.
    Governance, Risk, and Compliance
    Focused on the core IT competencies that cybersecurity professionals need to succeed in any career path.
    Leadership and Management
    Focused on program design and oversight. Covers project and program management.
    Offensive Security
    Focused on validating security controls by trying to break them (i.e. penetration testing or ethical hacking). Topics such as Kali Linux, metasploit, scanning, and privilege escalation. Offensive security seeks out the problem or vulnerability through ethical hacking and finds a solution to disable the operation.
    Offensive Security
    Focused on the core IT competencies that cybersecurity professionals need to succeed in any career path.

    Course Outline

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