Penetration Tester Salary

Men represent the vast majority of Penetration Testers in the United States. People in this role can earn an average of $77K annually nationwide. Experience level is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a large number earn dental coverage. 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.

$45,041 - $118,051
(Median)
$45K
$77K
$120K
MEDIAN: $76,913
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
$45,041 - $118,051  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,594  
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).
)
$44,450 - $121,505  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 247
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 - $14,594  
   
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).
)
$44,450 - $121,505  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 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


Just a handful of professional skills are reported by Penetration Testers who took the survey. 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 20 percent, 13 percent, and 7 percent, respectively. 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 general, experience and pay appear to be strongly linked; those with more experience usually bring in higher incomes. 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. Six-figure salaries surface after one to two decades on the job — experienced professionals in this group reap a six-figure median of $113K. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn much more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts; the more senior group reports an average income of $117K.

Pay Difference by Location


Home to some of the best pay for Penetration Testers, Dallas offers exceptional salaries, 53 percent above the national average. Penetration Testers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Washington (+23 percent), New York (+17 percent), Chicago (+14 percent), and Boston (+6 percent). Seattle ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 5 percent below the national average.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Penetration Tester Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 49%



National Average
$79,000


Skills That Affect Penetration Tester Salaries

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 31 votes.

Gender

Female
10 %
Male
90 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
7%
1-4 years
48%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
2%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 89% dental benefits Dental: 83%
vision benefits Vision: 67% employee benefits None: 8%