How to Become a Penetration Tester

Prepare for real-world penetration testing with training content tailored to all skill levels!

Ellie Gillard
Ellie Gillard
Jan 19, 2023 4 min read

As an area where skills gaps are most prominent and demand is at its highest, penetration testing is promised to be a secure, rewarding career with a wealth of learning capabilities and a highly competitive salary.

No matter how long you have been working, there's something new to be learnt in penetration testing every day, making it full of consistently evolving challenges!

Are you interested in becoming a penetration tester? Learn the ins and outs of the job role, discover the best way to learn penetration testing, and understand how to gain the expertise and skills to achieve your dream career in penetration testing!

What is a Penetration Tester?

Penetration testers are ethical hackers that scale simulated cyber attacks to proactively search for vulnerabilities in the network infrastructure and web applications. Most importantly, these operations allow for security vulnerabilities to be patched up.

Penetration Tester job responsibilities include:

  • Perform penetration tests on networks, applications and computer systems
  • Perform physical security assessments to identify vulnerabilities
  • Identify attacker entry points used to exploit vulnerabilities and weaknesses
  • Identify areas needed for improved awareness and education
  • Identify improvements for existing security solutions (policies, hardware, software, etc.)
  • Research, document and discuss findings
  • Review and provide feedback for security fixes
  • Create new testing methods to identify vulnerabilities
  • Keep updated on the latest malware and security threats

Penetration Testing Salary

Depending on experience, you can earn between £31,595 for entry-level Penetration Tester positions, to over £110,000 as you progress. The average Penetration Tester salary is around £70,000 (approximately $80,000).

As a critical skill in high demand, 20% of employers report penetration testing roles as ‘hard to fill’. The most common shortage in a specialist role has been found in penetration testing, which has led to sharp salary increases over the last 12 months.

Penetration Testing Job Requirements

Some pentesting positions seek candidates with relevant degrees, while others require only a demonstration of relevant skills and an appropriate level of cyber security experience and knowledge.

Initial training will always serve as a foundation for any pentesting career. However, keeping up with the latest exploits, alongside recent threats and techniques, is a must!

Employers search for exceptional problem-solving skills, dedication to detail, and a desire to remain continually educated on the latest trends in the field.

Learn Penetration Testing

Become equipped for a career in penetration testing through our learning pathways, designed to train you with the advanced skills needed to pursue new career opportunities in penetration testing. Prepare for real-world penetration testing with training content tailored to all skill levels, meaning that you won't even need prior knowledge to kickstart your pentester learning with TryHackMe!

You’ll learn the basics of ethical hacking and penetration testing in the four pathways listed below:

CompTIA Pentest+ Pathway (Easy)

Gain hands-on exercises and practical exam preparation to prepare you for the CompTIA PenTest+ exam. Once you complete this pathway, we’ll give you an exclusive 10% discount on the exam!

Jr Penetration Tester Pathway (Intermediate)

Explore the fundamental pentesting methodologies to become a Junior Penetration Tester. We'll introduce you to web application hacking and privilege escalation, equipping you with the practical skills to perform security assessments against web applications and enterprise infrastructure.

Offensive Pentesting Pathway (Intermediate)

Prepare for real-world penetration testing as you master the industry-standard tools to find vulnerabilities in machines in realistic attack scenarios. From then onwards, you can continue to gain pentesting certifications from well-known certifiers in the security industry.

Red Teaming (Intermediate)

Level up with more advanced topics and understand how to execute adversary attack emulations as a Red Team Operator.

Want to progress and gain a penetration tester certification? Check out our cyber security certifications guide to read more.

Get Started!

TryHackMe courses are suited to all - from the complete beginner to the seasoned hacker - making learning engaging, entertaining, accessible, and affordable.

Our training labs grow with you, so you can launch into the industry and continually upskill based on new threats and trends. Our real-world training allows you to prepare for work responsibilities in penetration testing, achieving sought-after skills.

For inspiration on breaking into a pentester career, check out Olufela’s success story!


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