As an aspiring computer hacker, you’ve got some serious skills. You’re talented in ways that most people aren’t with computers, and your know-how in navigating the functionality of a computer’s or the internet’s backend is next to incredible.
Your professional stars are aligned in every way except for one: computer hackers get an incredibly bad rap.
Hackers infiltrate computer systems and make things go awry. They’re also the dudes that steal innocent people’s credit card numbers and make hundreds or thousands of dollars disappear out of peoples’ bank accounts in a matter of hours.
Fortunately, not all is lost.
There are lots of super cool, investigative, ethical jobs for computer hackers, provided they’ve got the experience and training to do things the right way.
Ethical Jobs for Computer Hackers
Large and enterprise-level companies almost always hire their own in-house hackers to take care of their internal security for them.
They desperately need ethical people with the same mindset and know-how of the hackers they’re trying to fight against to do penetration testing, come up with ways to reduce cyber vulnerabilities, update company security procedures to match new threats, and give training to non-tech-savvy employees so they don’t accidentally do something that will put the company’s data at risk.
In fact, with the rise of cyber attacks, companies are so hungry to get their hands on the best talent out there that they’ve even opened up their “hacking” to the public.
For example, Microsoft offers up to $150,000 for people to look for and point out loopholes in their security systems as a “thanks” for helping them make their security stronger and keep their information safer.
Be on the lookout for job titles like these:
- Security Penetration Tester
- Network Engineer
- Cyber Security Software Engineer
- Security Engineer
- Cyber Special Agent
If you really want to dream big, the FBI loves to hire ethical hackers at the top of their game to work in the latest wave of international intelligence, crime fighting, and securing the digital versions of our national borders.
Why Ethical Computer Hacking is Such a Worthwhile Career Path
The fact is, you really don’t need proof from Microsoft and the FBI to realize that ethical computer hacking is a worthwhile career path to get into.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Information Security Analyst job demand will grow by 37% until 2022, which is far above the national job growth for all types of careers, which is just 11%.
Further, the career path had a 2012 national average salary of $86,170—more than double the national average.
Ethical computer hacking is the perfect storm of job security, high salary, and work you can take pride in.
The IT Training & Certifications You Need to Be a Cyber Security Professional
When you’re getting started as a cyber security professional, you usually can’t just jump in immediately, though getting started and securing the proper qualifications (especially if you’ve already got a couple years of hacking experience) isn’t nearly as hard as it is for most other career paths.
The CEH certification (or Certified Ethical Hacker) is by far the most common IT certification for people who want to get started in their career as an ethical hacker and eventually keep moving up the cyber security ladder. Plenty of flexible training is available online and offline. You can even take the exam without taking a training course, provided you can prove you’ve got two years’ worth of experience in IT security.
There are many other certifications depending on your experience and specialization such as Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
The CISSP program is flexible for people that don’t have enough experience and can’t afford the time or money to become full-time students – it can be completed over the span of 10 evenings or 5 eight-hour days. It offers a fully practical job-related approach and is internationally recognized as career-worth IT training because it meets the ISO/IEC Standard 17024.