Penetration Tester Salary

Men account for the majority of Penetration Testers in the United States. The overall average income for this group is approximately $78K annually. Total cash compensation to Penetration Testers varies from $44K to $124K; higher pay grades include potential for bonuses and profit sharing as high as $14K each. Experience level is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Work is enjoyable for Penetration Testers, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a large number earn dental coverage. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.

$46,134 - $121,017
(Median)
$46K
$78K
$120K
MEDIAN: $77,774
10%
50%
90%

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$12.00 - $49.08
(Median)
$12
$29
$49
MEDIAN: $29.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$46,134 - $121,017  
   
Bonus
$-0.48 - $14,485  
Profit Sharing
$-0.50 - $14,795  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$43,840 - $123,837  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 360
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$12.00 - $49.08  
   
Overtime
$19.73 - $56.22  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$-0.48 - $14,485  
   
Profit Sharing
$-0.50 - $14,795  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$43,840 - $123,837  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 29
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Job Description for Penetration Tester

The integrity of internal systems connected with the wider Internet is crucial to the operations of many organizations, from financial institutions to health care companies to government agencies. Organizations often employ cybersecurity experts to help protect their vital systems from malicious attacks. One of the basic tasks that must be accomplished to secure a system is to find where vulnerabilities exist. The penetration tester uses a wide variety of tools (some of which may be self-constructed) to probe the organization's network, attempting to find any areas which are vulnerable to attack and identifying methods by which attackers could exploit security flaws. Penetration testers also seek out and ameliorate passive threats to network integrity, such as poor password policies and user security practices.

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Penetration Tester Tasks

  • Follow industry best practice methodologies for penetration testing, and be able to use tools for a basis level assessment.
  • Search for security vulnerabilities in web applications, fat/thin client applications, and standard applications, and assess the secure configuration of operating systems and network devices.
  • Document findings for management and technical staff and recommend mitigating actions.
  • Conduct IT/Cyber Security assessments / penetration tests (hands-on work), as an individual, self-managed tester, or in small project teams.
  • Work with customers to determine their need for security assessments, present and explain the employed methodology, and support them with feedback and verification during mitigation.

Penetration Tester Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Penetration Tester


Penetration Testers seem to require a number of specific skills. Most notably, skills in Web Security & Encryption, Network Security Management, Security Testing and Auditing, and Computer Security are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 9 percent and 19 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include Black Box Testing. It is often found that people who know Security Testing and Auditing are also skilled in Network Security Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Penetration Tester

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $70K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $99K. Six-figure salaries surface after one to two decades on the job — experienced professionals in this group reap a six-figure median of $116K. Folks who claim more than 20 years of relevant experience actually report a comparatively lower median income of $100K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $78,228

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Penetration Testers, Dallas provides a pay rate that is 41 percent greater than the national average. Penetration Testers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Phoenix (+38 percent), Charlotte (+28 percent), Chicago (+15 percent), and Boston (+6 percent). Seattle is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 8 percent.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Penetration Tester Salaries


Late-Career
up arrow 28%


National Average
$78,000


Skills That Affect Penetration Tester Salaries




Computer Security
up arrow 4%

National Average
$78,000

Black Box Testing
up arrow 19%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 32 votes.

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
92 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
47%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
3%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 89%
dental benefits
Dental: 82%
medical benefits
Vision: 71%
dental benefits
None: 6%
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