Insider Pro | Career Path

Become a Penetration Tester

Penetration testers improve an organizations’ security by locating and exploiting security vulnerabilities before an attack occurs. Learn how to footprint and ethically break into a company to expose critical issues in computer systems or software.

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About this Career Path

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.

Recommended Prerequisites

  • Two years experience in Information Security, System Administration, or Network Engineering
  • A certification in Network+(Net+) or Security+(Sec+)

For more entry level career paths, we recommend Network Engineer or System Administrator

Once Completed You Are Ready To:

Demonstrate Skills

  • Ethical Hacking
  • Kali Linux
  • Mobile Hacking
  • Social Engineering
  • OWASP and NMAP
  • SQL Injection
  • Wireshark
  • Vulnerability Scanning
  • Malware and IoT
  • Cryptography
  • Exploit Vulnerabilities
  • Metasploit
  • Web Application Attacks
  • Password Cracking

Apply for Jobs

  • Penetration Tester
  • Information Security Analyst
  • Security Analyst
  • Ethical Hacker

Pass Certifications

  • CEH
  • OSCP


2+ years of industry experience


Study 7 hrs/week and complete in 6 months


Average salary via


Gain access to materials immediately

Learn about Cybrary's Career Paths

"The interviewer said the certifications and training I had completed on my own time showed that I was a quick learner, and they gave me a job offer"
- Justin B.
IT Specialist
"All of the knowledge, skills, and abilities gained through the program were essential to me impressing the employer during the interview"
- Gabby H.
Senior Security Analyst
"I got a job as a cybersecurity analyst at Radware with a salary I've never even dreamed about AND with no prior experience"
- Alexei Z.
Cybersecurity Analyst
Ignite Your Career with Cybrary

Learn Through Courses

A Career Path contains a series of courses taught by Cybrary's community of instructors. Our instructors are subject matter experts, thought leaders, and inddustry veterans that deliver relevant, high-quality content.

Practice Your Skills

Every Career Path includes guided virtual labs chosen to give you real world experience in key topics you are learning. With unlimited access to the labs, you can practice until you're confident in your abilities, all in a safe environment that is accessible from anywhere, at anytime.

Ignite Your Career Today!

Assess Your Knowledge

Practice Tests give you confidence that you really know the material through standard questions and advanced virtual labs to test your skills.

Earn a Certificate

When you finish every course and complete the hands-on project, you'll earn a Certificate that you can share with prospective employers and your professional network.

Why take this Penetration Tester career path?

Brick-and-mortar cybersecurity and IT training helps you gain theoretical knowledge but they don’t provide you with enough practical experience to prepare you for a job. You need guidance; so, you spend $3,000+ on classroom-based cybersecurity and IT training to get access to instructors and mentors. After 5, 8-hour days, and $3,000 later, you still walk away unprepared and unsure where to go from there.

Welcome to the Cybrary Career Path. Confidently, be guided down the path towards your next job and a new career. This three month program helps you take the right training, get the right hands-on experience and prove your ability through online assessment tools. No experience? No problem. Work with industry-leading mentors as they help you get started and guide you through the program.

Feel confident you are learning with the best

After having helped grow the careers of 2.5 million cybersecurity professionals around the world and individuals from thousands of companies, be rest assured you are choosing the right program from a provider with the track-record to show for it.

The Golden Bridge Award 2016Cybersecurity Award 2016Cybersecurity Award 2017Cybersecurity Award 2018WINNER gold 2019Cybersecurity Award 2020cybersecurity award 2021 Winner Gold
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Work through a structured career path curated by experts and tied directly to popular industry job roles

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Use virtualized, hands-on experiences to learn by doing gaining practical, real-world skills

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Track your progress as you move closer to your goal with each learning session

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Be confident you’re ready for the next step of your career journey upon completion

What you will learn on the Penetration Tester career path

During this Penetration Tester career path you will develop your skills, learning to break into a network using various hacking tools and operating systems; assess the state of the network, computer systems, and servers; analyze an organization’s security policies and procedures; report your findings; and make recommendations for securing the network.

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