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Penetration Tester Salary

Male Penetration Testers number significantly more than their female counterparts, and average earnings in this role come out to $76K per year in the United States. Career length and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and most collect dental insurance. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$44,980 - $117,600
(Median)
$45K
$76K
$120K
MEDIAN: $75,967
10%
50%
90%

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$12.16 - $47.42
(Median)
$12
$30
$47
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
$44,980 - $117,600  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $11,635  
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).
)
$43,952 - $120,209  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 265
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
$12.16 - $47.42  
   
Overtime
$21.00 - $48.00  
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 - $11,635  
   
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).
)
$43,952 - $120,209  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 21
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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 report a focused set of job skills. 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 22 percent, 17 percent, and 9 percent, respectively. 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.


Penetration Testers generally obtain higher compensation for more plentiful past experience. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $70K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $99K. After one to two decades on the job, professionals can reap plentiful salaries that average out to the six-figure sum of $113K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $117K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location


Dallas is home to an above-average pay rate for Penetration Testers, 56 percent higher than the national average. Penetration Testers will also find cushy salaries in Washington (+21 percent), Chicago (+17 percent), New York (+15 percent), and Boston (+8 percent). Falling short of the national average by 6 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Seattle.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Penetration Tester Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 52%



National Average
$77,000


Skills That Affect Penetration Tester Salaries




Computer Security
up arrow 8%

National Average
$77,000

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 30 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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