Penetration Tester Salary

Male Penetration Testers number significantly more than their female counterparts, and average earnings in this role come out to $80K annually in the United States. In the world of Penetration Testers, overall cash allowance can occasionally include more than $15K from bonuses and, in some exceptional cases, $21K from profit sharing, causing incomes to vary widely between $47K and $129K. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by years of experience. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a strong majority earn dental coverage. Work is enjoyable for Penetration Testers, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$50,017 - $123,821
$50K
$80K
$120K
MEDIAN: $79,913
10%
50%
90%

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$10.36 - $64.56
$10
$29
$65
MEDIAN: $29.28
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$50,017 - $123,821  
   
Bonus
$785 - $14,600  
Profit Sharing
$9.70 - $20,608  
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).
)
$46,757 - $128,987  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 4 May 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 348
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$10.36 - $64.56  
   
Overtime
$23.97  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$785 - $14,600  
   
Profit Sharing
$9.70 - $20,608  
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).
)
$46,757 - $128,987  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 4 May 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 33

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United States (change)

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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

  • 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 seem to require a number of specific skills. Most notably, skills in Black Box Testing, Web Security & Encryption, Security Testing and Auditing, and Network Security Management are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 19 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Cyber Security, Security Risk Management, and IT Security & Infrastructure. Most people experienced in Security Testing and Auditing also know Network Security Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Penetration Tester

Pay by Experience for a Penetration Tester has a positive trend. An entry-level Penetration Tester with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $73,000 based on 253 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Penetration Tester with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $99,000 based on 120 salaries. An experienced Penetration Tester which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $118,000 based on 66 salaries. A Penetration Tester with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $95,000 based on 12 salaries.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $80,784

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Penetration Testers, busy Arlington offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 39 percent above the national average. Penetration Testers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Atlanta (+20 percent), Chicago (+16 percent), Charlotte (+13 percent), and Washington (+9 percent). Location significantly influences compensation, with Salt Lake City Penetration Testers earning much less — 46 percent less — than the national average. Employers pay around 41 percent less in Austin and 35 percent less in New York, below-median salaries for those in this field.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Penetration Tester

Gender

Female
7 %
Male
93 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 48 votes.
Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
47%
5-9 years
26%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
3%
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Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Penetration Tester Salaries

▲46%

▲23%

▲18%

National Average
$81,000

▼10%

Skills That Affect Penetration Tester Salaries

Black Box Testing
▲19%




National Average
$81,000

Computer Security
▼5%

IT Security & Infrastructure
▼6%

Security Risk Management
▼7%

Cyber Security
▼11%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 48 votes.

Gender

Female
7 %
Male
93 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
47%
5-9 years
26%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
3%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 87%
dental benefits
Dental: 76%
vision benefits
Vision: 68%
no benefits
None: 10%
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