Cybersecurity careers

How to kick-start your career as an ethical hacker

Sai Digbijay Patnaik

SEO content writer, Simplilearn

January 31, 2019

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Hackers and hacking attempts on popular systems and networks have notoriously increased in the past few years.

With the passage of time, these attacks have become more advanced and less detectable for the countermeasures in place. These attacks lead to heavy losses for the organisations and businesses.

In fact, more than 60% of the small businesses never recover from the damage caused by the cyber-attacks and close down within six months of the attack. So, does this mean that there’s nothing that could be done to stop these attacks? Certainly not, there are many ways in which these attacks can be stopped. One of the best ways of stopping these attacks is by hiring an ethical hacker, who can identify the loopholes in your network and stop the cyber-attacks before they can happen.

Who is an ethical hacker?

An ethical hacker is a computer network security expert who is responsible for safeguarding the network and systems in an organisation. Ethical hacker’s job revolves around finding loopholes and security flaws in the organisation’s network that could lead to a cyber-attack and then fixing the flaws.

Basically, ethical hackers use the same techniques used by the black hat hackers to penetrate the network, find security flaws, and later fix them. Also known as white hat hackers, ethical hackers are generally black hat hackers who switch their focus to use their skills for betterment rather than using it for rogue purposes.

There has been a surge in the number of ethical hacking jobs

The increased risks of cyber-attacks on businesses have led to ethical hackers gaining popularity. Today, most of the businesses and organisations hire these ethical hackers to ensure that their website and networks are safe from any kind of cyber-attack.

This has led to a surge in the number of ethical hacking jobs, and you can leverage this to start your career in the field of ethical hacking.

Now that you know who an ethical hacker is and their importance for today’s businesses and organisation, you might be interested in choosing it as a career. If that’s the case, there are many ways in which you can become an ethical hacker. Here are some of the ways provided below:

Get started and learn the basics

If you are not an IT professional, the first thing you need to do is learn the basics of computer and programming languages. Learning programming languages is very important since it will enable you to build tools that can stop the potential cyber-attacks on a network or system. There are many programming languages, like C, C++, Java, Linux, and others that you can learn. Also, learning programming helps you find the programming errors or flaws which can lead to an attack.

In addition to any of the programming languages, you need to learn and understand the basic concepts of the operating system and how it works. This will help you find the loopholes that can be present in the operating system that the organisation or business is using.

Learn more about networking

You might be knowing that networks are an integral part of the internet. This is why, most of the attacks by hackers are done on the networks, which ensures that they get total control of the network and its components, which includes computers, IoT devices, and others. This is why it is recommended that you learn and understand networks and how they work. Also, you need to understand the components of a network, including IP address, ports, OSI, routers, subnet mask, and protocol.

Get certified

While self-study or self-learning can teach you everything that you need to know about ethical hacking, it will not ensure a career in the industry. This is where certifications become important.

Certifications establish that you have a basic understanding of ethical hacking and its nuances. It informs the employers that you are a credentialed individual who can meet the needs of the industry. Also, certification ensures that you will follow the best practices for network and system security.

There are many ethical hacking certification courses that you can choose to start your career as an ethical hacker. These certification courses teach you about the latest tools and techniques that are used by hackers and how you can counter them.

Also, these courses include practical projects and labs that teach you the real-life implementation of ethical hacking and also prepare you for the real world.

There are many accredited ethical hacking certification course providers, with courses, like CEH certification which is managed by the EC-Council, CISA, CISSP, GIAC, OSCP, and various others. You need to go through each one them and decide to pursue the one that fulfills your needs. This is the best and assured way to start your career in ethical hacking.

Today, with the increase in the number of hackers and the growth in the risk of a cyber-attack, the role of ethical hackers in an organisation has become significant. This is why it is not a bad idea to start your career in this field. The aforementioned tips can help you learn more about ethical hacking, network security, and cybersecurity as a whole, which will help start your career as an ethical hacker.

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