Professional Hackers

A Professional Hacker Test a Company's Network Security

Professional hackers break into an organization’s computer systems and networks, with permission, to determine if they are vulnerable to cyber criminals and spies. They are also known as ethical hackers, penetration testers, and white hat hackers (after the good guys in old Westerns who typically wore white hats versus the bad guys in black hats). Approximately 82,900 information security analysts are employed in the United States; professional hackers comprise a small percentage of this total.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Ethical Hackers, Penetration Testers, White Hat Hackers
Duties Break, or hack, into an organization’s computer systems and networks, with permission, to test and assess its security measures, and offer suggestions for improvements
Salary Range $50,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
Experience Previous experience with related work required
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Problem-Solving
  • Technical
Skills
  • Computer
  • Information Management
  • Math
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements May need to pass a background check, drug test, and hold U.S. citizenship
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Internet Security Consultant or Chief Information Security Officer
  • Internet Security Manager
  • Professional Hacker
  • Intern

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