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Penetration Tester Salary

Men represent the vast majority of Penetration Testers in the United States. People in this role can earn an average of $76K per year nationwide. Experience level and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. A large number enjoy medical while most get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to the greater part. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.

$44,830 - $117,667
(Median)
$45K
$76K
$120K
MEDIAN: $75,810
10%
50%
90%

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$12.08 - $47.74
(Median)
$12
$30
$48
MEDIAN: $30
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$44,830 - $117,667  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $11,745  
Profit Sharing
$1,125 - $7,750  
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).
)
$44,065 - $120,273  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 260
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$12.08 - $47.74  
   
Overtime
$20.72 - $41.12  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $11,745  
   
Profit Sharing
$1,125 - $7,750  
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).
)
$44,065 - $120,273  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 20

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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 who responded to the survey indicated only a few skills that they use on the job. Most notably, facility with Web Security & Encryption, Network Security Management, and Security Testing and Auditing are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 21 percent, 15 percent, and 9 percent, respectively. Most people experienced in Security Testing and Auditing also know Network Security Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Penetration Tester

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


For many Penetration Testers, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $70K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $99K. Between one and two decades on the job, average salaries pass the six-figure mark at around $113K. Penetration Testers with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $117K.

Pay Difference by Location


For those looking to make money, Penetration Testers in Dallas enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 56 percent above the national average. Penetration Testers will also find cushy salaries in Chicago (+17 percent), New York (+15 percent), Washington (+8 percent), and Boston (+8 percent). Trailing the national average by 6 percent, Seattle is the market with the smallest paychecks.

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United States (change)

Experience Affects Penetration Tester Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 52%



National Average
$77,000


Skills That Affect Penetration Tester Salaries

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 29 votes.

Gender

Female
9 %
Male
91 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
49%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
2%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 90% dental benefits Dental: 84%
vision benefits Vision: 68% employee benefits None: 7%
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