Ethical Hacker Career Overview & Outlook

Hackers are often considered criminals with excellent skills in the high-tech field, allowing them to break into the systems of companies easily. Their purpose is usually to steal information and data or disrupt the system.

However, not all hackers have malicious intentions. Many hackers are trained for good purposes, and such people are called ethical hackers. This article will cover all aspects related to the ethical hacker. So keep reading to see more!

Job Description

Who is an Ethical Hacker?

Hacking involves looking for system vulnerabilities and using vulnerabilities to access these systems to do malicious activities, such as stealing sensitive information and deleting system files.

Hacking is considered an illegal act, leading to extreme consequences. However, hacking can also be considered legal if allowed.

For example, many companies hire computer experts to hack into their systems to find weak endpoints or vulnerabilities to fix them. They take this measure to fight illegal hackers who have malicious intent.

Such hackers, who hack into systems with permission and without malicious intent, are considered ethical hackers, and this process is called ethical hacking.

An ethical hacker

Duties and Responsibilities

Many organizations spend a lot of money on ethical hackers to break into their computer systems.

To complete their jobs well, those cybercrime fighters must think like black-hat hackers. That means they try to understand black-hat hackers’ motivations, modus, and strategies to prevent intruders from infiltrating systems and networks to engage in criminal activity.

Depending on the employer’s needs, ethical hackers might be engaged in activities like vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and strategies to keep their organizations safe from all kinds of cyberattacks. It can include:

  • Prevent malicious hackers from accessing the system and stealing data.
  • Find vulnerabilities in their employer’s systems and networks.
  • Help to put defenses in place to “harden” or secure any weak spot.
  • Establish secure networks to prevent security breaches.
  • Help the organization earn the trust of investors and customers by safeguarding assets and information.

When it comes to private-sector hackers, their task is usually to protect company assets. Regarding ethical hackers employed by the government, their responsibilities usually involve protecting systems and secrets from terrorists to defend national security.

Where Do Ethical Hackers Work?

As our life depends on ethical technology, the demand for hackers also grows strong. As an ethical hacker, you are responsible for checking out systems and identifying vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by bad hackers.

There are various career paths open to you. You can work as an independent consultant or be hired by government organizations or companies. Many experts pick to specialize in a particular area, such as network security or web security.

The need for ethical hacking services is expected to continue to grow in the coming years because of increasing cyber threats and the demand for firms to protect their systems from malicious intrusion.

What Is the Workplace of Ethical Hackers Like?

As an ethical hacker, you can work with businesses, organizations, the government, and the military to probe their networks to find security holes. They also consider the mindset of black hat hackers, who typically have criminal motivations.

Education Requirements

It is almost impossible to become one ethical hacker directly.

The way to start a career in ethical hacking will depend on your current field of work. If you are in an IT field, you can try shifting into one.

Although most Ethical hacker jobs require you to hold a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field, possessing knowledge of databases, networking, and operating systems can also make you an exception.

In most cases, ethical hackers begin their careers as tech support engineers.

After that, they typically earn certifications like CISSP and CCNA before reaching the ultimate CEH certification. It is time they market them as an ethical hacker!

Essential Skills

There are various skills required for a career in hacking, but here are the top twelve skills most employers look for.

Soft Skills

  • Persistence
  • Communication
  • Problem-Solving
  • Analytical Mindset
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Collaboration and Teamwork

Technical Skills

  • Encryption.
  • Network Security.
  • Programming Languages.
  • Risk Analysis and Management.
  • Knowledge of Operating Systems.
  • Security Incident Handling and Response.

Essential Tools

Following is a list of the best tools for ethical hacking to help hackers do their jobs more efficiently.

  • Invicti
  • Medusa
  • IKECrack
  • Hashcat
  • Aircrack
  • Ettercap
  • Acunetix
  • Intruder
  • NetStumbler
  • L0phtCrack
  • Burp Suite
  • QualysGuard
  • Rainbow Crack
  • Traceroute NG
  • Angry IP Scanner
  • Fortify WebInspect
  • SolarWinds Security Event Manager
Many organizations are hungry for talented ethical hackers.

Job Outlook

The wave of cybercrime is growing and becoming more sophisticated, leading to the demand for cybersecurity professionals, including ethical hackers, is so high.

In 2021, there were 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs. The talent shortage has made the cybersecurity job market experience 0% unemployment.

Becoming an expert in this field will set you up for a bright future as several thousand jobs are available in well-known organizations, such as Fidelity Investments, Booz Allen Hamilton, TikTok, Tesla, Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Federal Reserve Bank.


Professional hackers in the United States earned an average of $67,469 per year. It means $32.44 per hour, $1,297 per week, and $5,622 per month.

The salaries of these professionals mainly range from $31,500 to $94,500, with the highest salary of up to $130,000 annually across the United States.

Annual salaries can fluctuate significantly, indicating that it depends on many factors, such as location, years of experience, qualifications, etc.

Advantages and Disadvantages

You may be attracted by the high salaries that ethical hackers receive. However, you should understand some of the cons of being an ethical hacker.


  • Job satisfaction
  • Flexibility of work
  • Creative profession
  • Improves the security
  • Good pay & high demand
  • Learn various hacking techniques


  • Workload
  • AI can be a problem
  • Disclose information


What Are Common Careers in Ethical Hacking?

Here are some common job titles within the ethical hacking field:

  • Ethical Hacker.
  • Security Analyst.
  • Penetration Tester.
  • Security Consultant.
  • Vulnerability Assessor.
  • Information Security Analyst.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).
  • Security Engineer/Architect.
  • Information Security Manager.

What Companies Hire Ethical Hackers?

As an ethical hacker, you can find a position in any company which uses the internet or anything to do with the web.

They include college institutions, such as MIT, and private companies ranging from logistic services to data warehousing.

In addition, you also gain a chance to work for the military or even top-secret intelligence-gathering agencies, such as Mossad, CIA, and NSA.

Is Ethical Hacking a Good Career Option?

Based on the opportunities and the pay scale in this field, ethical hacking is considered a lucrative career choice for all IT professionals and lovers.

But the amount of your effort and preparation will come with achieving success in the field. If you are passionate and are ready to become an ethical hacker, this field is awaiting you with open arms.

Is Python Good for Hacking?

Experts in the ethical hacking field sometimes utilize this dynamic programming language to script their on-demand hacking programs on the go.

Is Ethical Hacking Proper for Me?

Ethical hacking will be a great career option for you if:

  • You have a passion for technology
  • You like to prevent cyber attacks
  • You prefer to challenge yourself
  • You are good at problem-solving
  • You prefer a job that has a positive impact
  • You are searching for a rewarding and ever-changing work environment

Is Becoming an Ethical Hacker Easy?

It is not easy to become an ethical hacker as it requires much knowledge, especially regarding computer system security, and much experience to get the ethical hacking job done well.

How Many Types of Hackers Are There?

Hackers can be classified into three different categories:

  • Black Hat Hackers: They are also known as Security Crackers or Unethical Hackers.
  • White Hat Hackers: They are also known as Penetration Testers or Ethical Hackers.
  • Gray Hat Hackers: They are a Hybrid between White and Black hat Hackers. They might hack any system without permission but never damage it or steal money. Gray hat hacking is sometimes legal and sometimes not.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Hacker?

How long it takes you to become a skilled hacker will depend on your previous qualifications and experience. It might take from several weeks to a few years.

What is the Difference Between Ethical Hackers and Penetration Testers?

Penetration testers are security professionals who simulate an attack on systems to look for vulnerabilities. Penetration testing refers to a subset of ethical hacking, and ethical hackers feature a general focus.

An ethical hacker does whatever he can to infiltrate a system, while a penetration tester focuses specifically on network penetration.

Do I Need a Degree to Become an Ethical Hacker?

Ethical hacking requirements might vary, but you need a degree in most cases.

Many recruiters are willing to recruit self-taught pros without a degree. Instead, they require their candidates to be highly skilled to be hired without degrees.

If you have had dramatic experience within the IT industry and can prove your essential skills, it is possible to gain a job without formal education.

What Problems Does Ethical Hacking Identify?

Some of the most common security holes and vulnerabilities discovered by ethical hackers include:

  • Injection attacks.
  • Missing encryption etc
  • Broken authentication.
  • Sensitive data exposure.
  • Server misconfigurations.
  • Broken access controls.
  • Security misconfigurations.
  • Use of components with known vulnerabilities.

How To Become an Ethical Hacker?

  • Step 1: Gain a bachelor’s degree.
  • Step 2: Get ethical hacker certifications
  • Step 3: Improve your skills.
  • Step 4: Get experience.
  • Step 5: Start searching for a job.

Career Advice

Ethical hacking is a good career choice for those interested in cybersecurity.

It opens the door for you to receive a position in many of the world’s top famous technology companies and even the government.

Yet, an Ethical hacker is not the entry position. You’ll need a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field fire. Then, start your career with entry-level positions related to technology to further hone your knowledge and skills.