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20 Jun, 2023
How to Land Your Dream Job in Cybersecurity: A Career in 2023 as a Network Penetration Tester


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hack into computer networks for a living? As a network penetration tester, you get to do just that. Network penetration testers, also known as ethical hackers, get paid to hack into organizations' computer networks to find and fix cybersecurity vulnerabilities before malicious hackers can exploit them.

What Is Network Penetration Testing?

What Is Network Penetration Testing? The practice of testing a computer system, network, or online application for vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit is known as network penetration testing, commonly referred to as pen testing. Pen testers, or ethical hackers, use the same methods as criminal hackers to find weaknesses before the bad guys do.

Pen testing has become crucial for organizations of all sizes. As more data and services move online, the potential attack surface is growing exponentially. Regular pen testing helps find and fix vulnerabilities, strengthening security and compliance.

For students interested in cybersecurity, pen testing is an exciting career path with high demand and job security.

Pen testers simulate real-world hacking techniques to find vulnerabilities like software flaws, improperly configured systems, and operational weaknesses. They then provide detailed reports to help organizations remediate issues and bolster defences.

Some of the keys to being a great pen tester are:

  • Strong technical skills - Pen testers need to be experts in areas like networking, operating systems, programming, and security frameworks.
  • A hacker mindset - The ability to think like an attacker and find innovative ways to compromise systems. But with a focus on helping, not harming.
  • Communication skills - Pen testers must be able to explain technical issues clearly to people without a technical background.
  • Constant learning - Technologies and techniques are always evolving, so pen testers need to stay on the cutting edge through continuous learning and practice.

With companies facing a growing threat landscape and a severe cybersecurity skills shortage, the demand for qualified pen testers is huge. If you have the right skills and mindset, a career as a network penetration tester could be very rewarding.

Why Network Penetration Testing Is Important?

Network penetration testing, also known as pen testing, is important for any organization that values its data security. Pen testers systematically probe networks to find vulnerabilities before malicious hackers do.

As technology evolves, new weaknesses emerge that threaten privacy and data protection. Regular pen testing helps identify these vulnerabilities so companies can seal up cracks in their cyber defenses. Some key reasons organizations invest in network penetration testing:

  • It mimics REAL-WORLD attacks. Pen tests use the same tools and techniques as criminal hackers to launch simulated attacks against networks. This helps evaluate how well security controls will hold up under pressure.
  • Finds vulnerabilities proactively. Pen testing uncovers weaknesses in networks, software, and physical security before they can be exploited. Companies can then fix issues to strengthen their security posture.
  • Assesses risk. Pen testing provides an objective view of how much risk the organization faces from cyber threats. The findings help determine priorities and allocate security resources.
  • It ensures compliance. For companies in regulated industries like healthcare or finance, pen testing is required to meet compliance mandates. Regular tests demonstrate networks and data are properly secured.
  • Gives peace of mind. When done regularly, pen testing reassures companies that sensitive data and critical infrastructure are protected. Vulnerabilities have been rooted out and security controls are working as intended.

In today's digital world, network security is a must. Pen testing services provide the insights needed to build robust cyber defences and stay one step ahead of malicious actors. For organizations and their customers, the benefits of a strong security posture are invaluable.

Why You Should Consider a Career as a Network Penetration Tester?

An Exciting and Lucrative Career

A career as a network penetration tester can be an exciting and lucrative path. Penetration testers, or "pen testers," get paid to hack into networks and systems to uncover vulnerabilities before malicious hackers do. It’s an important job that allows you to apply creative thinking and problem-solving skills to help organizations strengthen their cyber decenses.

High Demand and Job Stability

High Demand and Job Stability There is a massive talent shortage in the cybersecurity field, and the demand for pen testers is particularly high. As long as there are computers and networks, the need for pen testers will exist. This results in a high level of job stability and security.

Exciting, Engaging Work

Penetration testing is challenging and engaging work. No two jobs are the same, so there is constant opportunity for learning and developing new skills. For those passionate about cybersecurity, technology, and ethical hacking, a career as a pen tester offers the chance to apply that passion to help support an important cause. Each day on the job as a pen tester brings new discoveries and opportunities to solve complex problems.

High Salary Potential

Pen testers who specialize in advanced techniques like social engineering, wireless penetration testing, and application penetration testing are in even higher demand and can command salaries well over $100,000, especially with the right certifications and experience. The highest-paid professionals in this field earn $150,000 or more annually.

A career as a network penetration tester offers excitement, impact, job security, and significant earning potential. For tech-savvy individuals interested in helping to combat cyber threats, becoming a pen tester could be a perfect choice.

Job Prospects and Opportunities for Network Penetration Testers

Ample Job Opportunities

Ample Job Opportunities Network penetration testers are in high demand, with the job market continuing to grow rapidly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of information security analysts, including penetration testers, is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

As more organizations utilize cloud computing and e-commerce, the need for network security and vulnerability assessments is greater than ever. Penetration testers play a crucial role in evaluating networks and systems to uncover weaknesses before malicious hackers can exploit them.

Companies across all industries, including finance, healthcare, education, and government, seek qualified penetration testing professionals to help safeguard sensitive data and critical infrastructure.

  • Work as an independent contractor or at a consulting firm
  • Find employment at large tech companies like IBM, Cisco or Dell
  • Look for openings at cybersecurity vendors that provide penetration testing services

The job pays well, with the median pay for information security analysts in the U.S. around $95,000 per year. Experienced penetration testers, especially those with specialized certifications, can earn significantly higher salaries.

Aspiring network penetration testers have an exciting career path ahead of them, with many opportunities for career growth and advancement. After gaining a few years of HANDS-ON experience, penetration testers can become lead penetration testers, penetration testing managers, or start their own consulting firm. Some may transition into cybersecurity architect roles, helping organizations design infrastructure and systems that are secure by design.

The demand for ethical hackers is real. If you have a passion for cybersecurity and want to help protect people and businesses, a career as a network penetration tester could be very rewarding.

With the right skills and certifications, you'll have opportunities at leading companies and the potential for a high-paying, fast-growing career.

Essential Skills to Become a Network Penetration Tester

To become a successful network penetration tester, several essential skills are required.

Technical expertise

Penetration testers need a strong technical background and expertise in networking, operating systems, and programming. They should be highly proficient with tools like Wireshark, Nmap, Metasploit, and Kali Linux. Knowledge of networking protocols like TCP/IP, DNS, SSH, and FTP is a must. Proficiency in languages like Python, Ruby, and C++ will also be useful for developing custom scripts and tools.

Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills Penetration testers often have to think outside the box to find vulnerabilities and simulate real-world attacks. Strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills are essential to look at systems and networks in new ways, find creative solutions to bypass security controls and determine how to leverage vulnerabilities.

Ethical mindset

The job requires following strict ethical guidelines to avoid illegal or harmful activity. Penetration testers must have a clear understanding of laws like HIPAA and GDPR to ensure privacy and compliance. They need to keep sensitive data confidential and only use their skills for authorized testing purposes.


Technology and security systems are constantly evolving, so penetration testers must keep their knowledge and skills up to date. They have to adapt to changes in operating systems, applications, networking equipment, and security controls. Penetration testers must keep learning and developing experiences with new tools, techniques, and vulnerabilities as they emerge.

Communication ability

Strong communication skills are important for explaining findings and recommendations to clients and stakeholders. Penetration testers have to communicate technical issues in a clear, concise way to audiences with varying levels of technical expertise.

They also work closely with clients to define the scope and goals of an engagement before conducting any tests. Communication, interpersonal skills, and the ability to build professional relationships are key.

With the right combination of technical and soft skills, a career as a network penetration tester can be very rewarding. For those interested in cybersecurity, ethical hacking, and solving complex technological problems, this career path is worth considering.

A Promising Career Path

Network penetration testing, also known as ethical hacking, is an exciting and rewarding career path for tech-savvy individuals. As companies become more reliant on technology and cyber threats increase, the demand for network penetration testers is growing.

Rewarding Work That Makes a Difference

As a network penetration tester, you get to solve complex problems and help organizations strengthen their cyber defences. By exposing vulnerabilities before malicious hackers can exploit them, you're making a meaningful contribution to security and privacy. The work is challenging yet fulfilling, and no two days are the same. For those intrigued by hacking and security, it's an ideal role that allows you to apply your skills legally and ethically.

Strong Job Prospects and Compensation

With the shortage of cybersecurity talent, network penetration testers are in high demand. Salaries are well above average, often exceeding $100,000 in the U.S. The specific compensation will depend on factors like years of experience, industry, location, and certifications. Many penetration testers go on to become security consultants, managers or executives, opening up additional career and salary growth opportunities over the long run.


So, there you have it, the inside scoop on what it takes to become a network penetration tester. While the role definitely isn't for everyone, for those with the right mindset and skillset, it can be an exciting and lucrative career path. With cyber threats only increasing, the demand for ethical hackers is skyrocketing. If you're tech-savvy, love solving complex problems, and want to help protect people and organizations, network penetration testing may just be your dream job. The key is getting the necessary experience and certifications to land that first role. With hard work and persistence, you'll be well on your way to becoming a penetration tester and joining the front lines of cyber defence. The future is yours for the hacking!

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