To catch a criminal, you need to think like one by understanding the criminal’s tactics and patterns.
Ethical hackers are the opposite of cybercriminals. As an ethical hacker, you will work around the clock to undo the efforts of bad buyers trying to break into computer networks.
So what skills do you need to become an ethical hacker? Where can you learn ethical hacking? And what are the entry-level jobs for ethical hacking? You are about to find out.
What skills do you need for ethical hacking?
There are two main types of hackers: malicious hackers (black hat) and ethical hackers (white hat). The difference between black and white hackers lies in intent. Malicious hacking is the unauthorized process of illegally gaining access to data and systems. On the other hand, ethical hacking is the authorized process of detecting vulnerabilities in an application or system using hacking techniques to identify potential flaws.
To succeed in ethical hacking, you need the following skills:
1. Hardware Knowledge
Hardware knowledge refers to the physical characteristics and functions of a computer system.
As an ethical hacker, you must know about features like Visual Display Unit (VDU), Central Processing Unit (CPU), Keyboard, Hard Drive, Speakers, Sound Card , mouse, graphics card and motherboard.
2. Basic and advanced computer skills
Computer skills lay the foundation for ethical hacking. Possessing basic computer skills like data processing, managing computer files, and creating presentations helps you use computers easily.
But since an ethical hacker is a cybersecurity expert, basic computer skills are not enough. You need to have advanced computer skills to be grounded in the job. These advanced computer skills include programming, coding, database management, and more.
3. Extensive computer networking skills
An essential prerequisite for being an effective ethical hacker is to have a very solid and comprehensive knowledge of computer networks.
Hacking involves the penetration and exploitation of computer systems and networks. Thus, a budding ethical hacker must understand the use of network commands such as OSI models, IP addresses, MAC addresses, subnets, and routing.
4. Thorough knowledge of operating systems
To build a successful career in ethical hacking, you need a solid knowledge of operating systems like Ubuntu, Linux, Red Hat, etc.
Linux is a very popular operating system among web servers. As an aspiring ethical hacker, you can start by mastering the Linux programming system and then expand your skills in others over time.
5. Programming language skills
As an ethical hacker, you must learn these programming languages and have excellent programming skills.
6. Use of Penetration Testing Methodologies and Tools
A successful ethical hacker must be an expert in penetration testing. And that’s because they need to penetrate networks to detect vulnerabilities and create more robust security frameworks.
You need to be familiar with the different penetration testing methodologies to identify which ones are best for a given situation.
7. Cybersecurity skills
Cybersecurity is at the heart of ethical hacking. To keep cybercriminals at bay, you need to understand the necessary cybersecurity techniques and know how to implement them.
Cybersecurity techniques you need to learn include phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks, application protection, hardware device protectors, database management systems, spyware, password systems pass, etc.
How to start learning ethical hacking
The globally accepted ethical hacking certification is Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). However, various platforms teach aspiring ethical hackers the skills they need to thrive in the profession. Let’s look at some of them.
Cybrary is a leading IT and cybersecurity professional development platform with extensive cybersecurity training and verifiable ethical hacking certifications.
StationX is a global leader in cybersecurity. It prepares you for in-demand industry certifications with courses directly related to the learning objective.
3. EH Academy
EH Academy offers ethical hacking courses, covering penetration tools like Nmap, Metasploit, and advanced commands like Linux.
If you already have a basic knowledge of IT and cybersecurity, EH Academy offers a wide range of advanced specialized ethical hacking courses like Metasploit training for penetration testing, python for offensive penetration testing, advanced mobile applications and VoIP hacking.
Offensive Security offers specialized training on Metasploit. The institution claims to offer the most comprehensive and in-depth Metasploit guide. It’s a good starting point for information security professionals who want to learn about penetration testing.
What are entry-level jobs in ethical hacking?
The field of ethical hacking offers various job opportunities for beginners. If you’ve decided to become a certified ethical hacker, here are some entry-level roles to start your career in ethical hacking.
1. Cyber Mission Specialist
The role of a cyber mission specialist is to design, plan, execute, report and remediate in a cyber range environment.
The cyber mission specialist identifies and directs market development opportunities in cyberspace. Staff leverage domain knowledge to create cybersecurity solutions that align with a client’s mission, applying state-of-the-art principles, theories, concepts, and tools.
2. Associate Technical Programmer
An Associate Technical Programmer works with staff and customers to develop and improve applications, programs, and scripts that effectively maintain all programming logic, code, and commands aligned with company standards.
3. Junior System Engineer
As a junior systems engineer, your job is to help develop and maintain all computer systems and make them ready and secure for business. You are responsible for supporting the IT department in maintaining the stability and efficiency of servers and network systems.
The Junior System Engineer is involved in installing, monitoring, and troubleshooting operating systems. They execute the development of powerful hardware and software infrastructures.
4. Information Security Analyst
An information security analyst monitors an organization’s networks and looks for incoming security vulnerabilities. They are the first responders to investigate these violations when they occur.
The Information Security Analyst implements applications such as digital firewalls and data encryption programs to secure and protect confidential information.
5. Mobile Vulnerability Analyst
Mobile Vulnerability Analysts are responsible for performing mobile application vulnerability assessments using high-end cybersecurity tools and techniques.
The Mobile Vulnerability Analyst identifies opportunities for future research projects involving mobile applications and communications. They use hacking and penetration testing techniques to target mobile apps and web services that run on mobile devices. They are responsible for API security on endpoints in the mobile application architecture.
6. Information Security Engineer
The Information Security Engineer shares similarities with the Junior Systems Engineer. The difference is that while the role of the Junior Systems Engineer primarily targets computer systems and networks, the Information Security Engineer is primarily concerned with securing data.
The information security engineer plans, designs, builds and integrates tools that protect electronic information. They develop and implement systems to collect information about security incidents and their results.
7. Cloud Security Engineer
The role of a cloud security engineer is to identify potential threats and attacks against cloud systems and develop new features to meet cloud security needs by creating and maintaining upgrades and continually improving their cloud-based platforms/systems.
The Cloud Security Engineer analyzes and studies existing cloud system structures and creates proactive measures through improved cybersecurity methods.
What is the career progression in ethical hacking?
Growing your career as a Certified Ethical Hacker is highly dependent on the right mentorship, cybersecurity skills, years of experience, and a track record of verifiable cybersecurity results.
The profession of ethical hacking is more about results than effort. Being part of an elite cybersecurity team is another step towards sustained progression in your ethical hacking career.
Securing Cyber Assets as an Ethical Hacker
Increased trust and reliance on digital applications has made us vulnerable to cyberattacks. Therefore, ethical hacking is a proactive cybersecurity measure to protect networks and systems from cyber threats.
As a certified ethical hacker expert, you need the right skills and exposure to be several steps ahead of the malicious hacker. Understanding the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses is a great way to defeat them. Your greatest achievement is to be their greatest enemy as you secure cyber assets.
The World’s Most Famous and Best Hackers (and Their Fascinating Stories)