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 annually. Total cash compensation to Penetration Testers ranges from $44K on the lower end to $124K on the higher end; the final number includes potential for approximately $14K each from bonuses and profit sharing in exceptional cases. Career duration is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. Most enjoy medical while a large number get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to a strong majority. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.

$46,134 - $121,017
(Median)
$46K
$78K
$120K
MEDIAN: $77,774
10%
50%
90%

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$12.00 - $49.08
(Median)
$12
$29
$49
MEDIAN: $29.00
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
$46,134 - $121,017  
   
Bonus
$-0.48 - $14,485  
Profit Sharing
$-0.50 - $14,795  
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).
)
$43,840 - $123,837  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 360
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
$12.00 - $49.08  
   
Overtime
$19.73 - $56.22  
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
$-0.48 - $14,485  
   
Profit Sharing
$-0.50 - $14,795  
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).
)
$43,840 - $123,837  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 29
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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


Survey takers who work as Penetration Testers typically report just a few professional skills. 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 9 percent and 19 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Black Box Testing. Most people who know 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.


Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $70K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $99K. After 10 to 20 years, professionals can make it pretty big; the median salary sits in the six-figure neighborhood of $116K. Penetration Testers who claim more than two decades of experience actually make somewhat smaller average paychecks of $100K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $78,228

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

For those looking to make money, Penetration Testers in Dallas enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 41 percent above the national average. Penetration Testers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Phoenix (+38 percent), Charlotte (+28 percent), Chicago (+15 percent), and Boston (+6 percent). Seattle is the lowest-paying area, 8 percent south of the national average.

Related Job Salaries

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Comp Managers: Start Here »

Experience Affects Penetration Tester Salaries


Late-Career
up arrow 28%


National Average
$78,000


Skills That Affect Penetration Tester Salaries




Computer Security
up arrow 4%

National Average
$78,000

Black Box Testing
up arrow 19%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 32 votes.

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
92 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
47%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
3%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 89%
dental benefits
Dental: 82%
medical benefits
Vision: 71%
dental benefits
None: 6%
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