As businesses around the world become more aware of their responsibility to keep their clients’ information safe, the need for cyber security professionals is growing fast. In order to stop cybercriminals and hackers, you need to think like one.
Ethical hackers are cyber security experts whose job it is to try and break into the company network and access their personal data to ensure it is locked carefully away behind as many levels of security as necessary.
But why become an ethical hacker? If you’re already interested in hacking, why not keep your black hat on and exploit the weaknesses in security systems yourself? Ethical hacking, although a fairly new career possibility, is widely recognised as a vital element of cyber security and, in an increasingly digital world, can give great career progression for the right person.
Here are the top 10 reasons those with an interest in hacking should don a white hat and become an ethical hacker.
1. Ever-growing opportunities
As mentioned, the world is becoming increasingly digital. As consumers expect businesses to look after their data, business owners are becoming increasingly aware of their cyber responsibilities. With the introduction of the GDPR across Europe, more and more businesses of every size and industry will need to ensure their defences can keep malicious criminals out. This means that job opportunities are only going to increase, giving you a better shot at landing the perfect job.
2. High salaries
Additionally, since ethical hacking with no doubt soon be in high demand, recruiters will need to think of ways to make their positions the most attractive. With starting salaries averaging £25,000 already, higher demand for a smaller workforce could push these up in the next few years.
Since the skillset is so extensive and a great deal of training goes into being great at hacking, senior roles in penetration testing and white hat hacking can be upwards of £60,000, making for great career progression for dedicated candidates.
3. Constantly changing industry
Our cyber landscape is diversifying at break-neck speed and with new technology comes new threats. With more and more businesses adopting cutting-edge tech like cloud computing and the Internet of Things, these specialist technologies will have their own unique security issues in which to specialise.
With more sophisticated defence technology, cyber criminals will need to constantly think of new strategies to try and break through a business’s protections, meaning you’ll always be kept on your toes in the face of a new kind of attack.
4. Threats are never going to go away
Similarly, cyber criminals are never going to stop. Whether it’s updating old strategies to keep classic threats at bay or developing new methods of blocking criminals, businesses will always need protection to stay ahead of the game and keep the trust of their customers.
5. Developing soft skills
One of the most in-demand qualities tech recruiters are looking for, soft skills include social confidence and problem-solving. With a role like ethical hacking, problem-solving forms the basis of your day-to-day activities. Many businesses operate a red team/blue team system where security employees form teams and attempt to break into or defend the system. This is a great way to develop your ability to work as a team and build confidence in order to move up the progression ladder.
6. The physical side of the job
Penetration testing is mostly focused on the digital security of a business, but it doesn’t stop there. The Certified Ethical Hacker qualification, the most widely-recognised ethical hacking qualifications in the world, also focuses on social engineering.
Social engineering includes the ability to manipulate employees into giving away personal data or opening the door to breaches. This can include writing convincing phishing emails but can also see you attempting to penetrate physical doors, as many pen testers attempt to gain entry to the building by convincing staff to hold the door, or tailgating into access secured areas.
This kind of task shows the varied, exciting and intense nature of ethical hacking.
7. Job satisfaction
Besides all the important career-based reasons to get into ethical hacking, the job also comes with a great deal of satisfaction. Knowing your work is the reason that countless people’s data is secured can be very rewarding.
For those with a passion for cyber security, learning how to think like a hacker and then being able to outsmart them is the best part of the job.
8. Opportunity to switch from black hat to white
Criminal hackers are known as black hat hackers while the ethical hackers are known as white hats. This career has a unique opportunity in that many of the best in the field started their foray into hacking on the black hat side. Some industry professionals believe they’re the best for the job since they have the experience of being on the other side of the defences.
Not many industries welcome the exact people they’ve been trying to keep out, so for those who have already tried their hand at hacking, switching your black hat for white is a great way to stay within the law, get paid good money and still do what you love.
9. Fun of hacking without breaking the law
For both ex-black hats and permanent white hats, hacking has the feeling of getting paid to be the bad guy. One of the main draws of going into professional ethical hacking is getting to act just like a hacker but with the guarantee of getting paid well and with less of the risk.
You get all the fun of hacking but you also get the added bonus of your work helping outsmart other hackers on the dark side.
10. Cool job title
Finally, there aren’t many people who when asked ‘what do you do?’ actually have something cool to say. With a title like ‘ethical hacker’, you’re bound to get a lot of interesting responses. You’re also likely to see the Matrix flash before people’s eyes, but we see that as a bit of a bonus.
Overall, for those with a special talent for technology, those who are looking for a way to capitalise on their passion, the realm of ethical hacking offers great opportunities for an advanced career, high salaries and a rewarding job experience.