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 $79K annually. With some bonuses approaching $15K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $25K, overall incomes of Penetration Testers spread between $43K and $130K depending on individual performance. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Most enjoy medical while a strong majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to a majority. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
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.Read More...
The penetration tester frequently works as a part of an information technology (IT) or cybersecurity team. When conducting security tests, it is important for the penetration tester to take careful notes and be able to relay relevant information to other members of the team. The penetration tester should have a thorough understanding of complex security measures, as well as of the software and tools necessary to perform the job.
A bachelor's degree in information technology or a cybersecurity-related field is commonly required by employers; experience may sometimes be substituted for education. Relevant certifications may be preferred.
Penetration Tester Tasks
- 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.
- Document findings for management and technical staff and recommend mitigating actions.
- 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.
Penetration Tester Job Listings
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Popular Skills for Penetration Tester
Penetration Testers report using a pretty varied skill set on the job. Most notably, facility with Black Box Testing, Web Security & Encryption, and Security Testing and Auditing are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 46 percent, 12 percent, and 7 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Security Risk Management and IT Security & Infrastructure. Those proficient in Security Testing and Auditing are, more often than not, 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.
In this occupation, salaries for the relatively untested average out to $72K, but folks in the five-to-10 year range enjoy a much heftier median of $100K. Penetration Testers with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $118K. People who have worked for 20 years or more actually report earning less than people who are in the middle of their careers; the veterans take home a mere $95K by contrast.
Pay Difference by Location
With a pay rate for Penetration Testers that is 30 percent greater than the national average, Phoenix offers a comfortable salary for those in this profession. Penetration Testers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Atlanta (+24 percent), Dallas (+17 percent), Chicago (+17 percent), and Charlotte (+15 percent). Place of residence plays a huge part in a Penetration Tester's salary, with Salt Lake City Penetration Testers earning salaries that are 46 percent less than the national average. Austin and New York are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 40 percent lower and 12 percent lower, respectively.
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Key Stats for Penetration Tester
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