Penetration Tester Salary

Men make up the majority of Penetration Testers in the United States, and the nationwide average salary in this area lies in the neighborhood of $78K per year. Geographic location and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Medical benefits are awarded to a large number, and most earn dental coverage. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Penetration Testers. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.

$45,601 - $118,137
(Median)
$46K
$78K
$120K
MEDIAN: $77,502
10%
50%
90%

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$12.60 - $47.10
(Median)
$13
$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
$45,601 - $118,137  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,594  
Profit Sharing
$1,965 - $10,174  
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).
)
$44,538 - $120,889  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 285
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
$12.60 - $47.10  
   
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 - $14,594  
   
Profit Sharing
$1,965 - $10,174  
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).
)
$44,538 - $120,889  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 22
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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


Just a handful of professional skills are reported by Penetration Testers who took the survey. 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 8 percent and 18 percent. 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.


The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $69K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much 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 $112K. Penetration Testers who claim more than two decades of experience actually make somewhat smaller average paychecks of $110K.

Pay Difference by Location


Dallas is home to an above-average pay rate for Penetration Testers, 53 percent higher than the national average. Penetration Testers will also find cushy salaries in Chicago (+14 percent), Washington (+6 percent), New York (+6 percent), and Boston (+6 percent). Seattle is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 10 percent.

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Experience Affects Penetration Tester Salaries


Late-Career
up arrow 40%


National Average
$79,000


Skills That Affect Penetration Tester Salaries




Computer Security
up arrow 6%

National Average
$79,000

Job Satisfaction

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

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
92 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
47%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
4%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 90% dental benefits Dental: 83%
vision benefits Vision: 69% employee benefits None: 7%
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