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.

$49,243 - $124,743
$49K
$79K
$120K
MEDIAN: $79,301
10%
50%
90%

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$10.36 - $64.56
$10
$26
$65
MEDIAN: $26.44
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
$49,243 - $124,743  
   
Bonus
$1,028 - $15,033  
Profit Sharing
$5.00 - $25,000  
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).
)
$43,430 - $129,630  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 356
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
$26.30  
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
$1,028 - $15,033  
   
Profit Sharing
$5.00 - $25,000  
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).
)
$43,430 - $129,630  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 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 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

National Average: $79,799

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that 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.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Penetration Tester

Gender

Female
7 %
Male
93 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 42 votes.
Less than 1 year
10%
1-4 years
46%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
17%
20 years or more
3%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Penetration Tester Salaries

▲48%

▲26%

▲19%

National Average
$80,000

▼9%

Skills That Affect Penetration Tester Salaries

Black Box Testing
▲46%




National Average
$80,000

Computer Security
▼1%

IT Security & Infrastructure
▼5%

Security Risk Management
▼6%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 42 votes.

Gender

Female
7 %
Male
93 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
10%
1-4 years
46%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
17%
20 years or more
3%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 88%
dental benefits
Dental: 77%
vision benefits
Vision: 69%
dental benefits
None: 9%
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