Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing

Introduction to Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing

The demand for ethical hackers has grown in the last few years. As we have moved towards remote work and embraced new office cultures, the threat of a network breach and cyberattacks have also increased. Today, no private or public systems are safe from an attack. More and more employers have sensed this need and opened their doors for ethical hacking and.

Global ransomware attacks against universities doubled in the year 2020 after COVID-19 triggered a shift to online learning, prompting attackers to exploit this expanded threat surface. If you think you are part of an industry that won’t need ethical hacking and penetration testing professionals, think again.

Introduction to Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing

Ethical hacking is an umbrella term for all the procedures involved in recognizing vulnerabilities, exploiting known vulnerabilities, and preventing further attacks. Ethical hacking is a legal version of malicious hacking, making ethical hackers the good guys.

Hackers in this field are certified to hack systems following the client’s specifications. It is the most suitable career path for persons fascinated with IT security, problem-solving, and communications.

You need to have a basic network background, either through experience working in a networking environment or through a vendor, to become a good ethical hacker. You also need in-depth knowledge of databases, operating systems (Linux and Windows), and command over major programming languages.

On the other hand, penetration testing is a niche aspect of ethical hacking that focuses solely on testing. It is a legitimate, simulated cyberattack carried out to analyze the security infrastructure of a business. While an ethical hacker needs wide-ranging knowledge of software and hardware, a penetration tester merely needs to intricately understand areas specific to pen-testing.

Every business needs ethical hacking and penetration testing professionals because setting up security controls isn’t enough to keep the bad guys out. You can only see the big picture when you recognize all the different players and positions in hacking and penetration testing.

Businesses That Need Penetration Testers

Penetration testers are widely needed by organizations that run their businesses online or use the internet for their business operations. Companies that store valuable information for the healthcare and banking industries need penetration testers to ensure their networks’ security.

Moreover, penetration testers are also needed for compliance across companies that offer services and organizations that store sensitive information for industries like airlines, media, finance, technology, etc. Penetration testers ensure compliance and maintain the technical assessments of security controls such as PCI DSS, ISO, GDRP, and HIPAA.

How to Learn Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing

Before we delve into how you can learn ethical hacking and pen testing, you must understand that you cannot learn pen testing without adequate ethical hacking knowledge. Here is what you need to know about learning both skills and starting a professional career in this field.


Ethical hacking is a highly technical field, which explains why most recruiters demand that applicants have no less than a bachelor’s degree in computer programming, cybersecurity, and other related fields. Although having a master’s degree is not a basic requirement for ethical hacking jobs, it can boost your employability in certain fields. Most penetration testing courses involve ethical hacking training, so prior understanding will take you a long way in your career.


You need extensive knowledge of security techniques & technologies and computer systems. Basic knowledge of networking, Linux, scripting languages, detection/prevention systems, and some penetration testing frameworks such as Metasploit or Wireshark is required. Other skills to learn ethical hacking or penetration testing include:

  • Virtualization
  • Networking skills
  • Database skills
  • Digital Forensics
  • Web Application
  • Cryptography
  • Wireless technologies

As an ethical hacker, you’ll also require soft skills such as problem-solving, persistence, communication, creative thinking, and analytical skills. These skills help you go in-depth into the problem and help your subordinates understand the nature of the issues they are facing.

Required Work Experience

The biggest advantage of starting your career as an ethical hacker is that you can start learning at any point in your life. Unlike software engineers, you don’t have to wait for a few years for a promotion. Ethical hacking is a niche job profile, and you are free to start with a certification program when you’re a student. Penetration testing, however, requires knowledge of ethical hacking and operating systems. Employers prefer hiring pen testers who have substantial work experience to understand the nature of the problem.

Basic Ethical and Penetration Testing Training Certification

Training and certification programs are necessary to verify your skills and knowledge to employers. When you take a penetration testing course or ethical hacking training, you’ll learn about vulnerabilities and the latest technologies, developing practical skills that will prove useful and relevant for your position.

Learn Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing with Certification Programs by EC-Council

EC-Council is an innovator in the field of ethical hacking. Its Certified Ethical Hacker program was the first ethical hacking certification to create cybersecurity officers who were ready to counter threats from malicious actors. Certified Ethical Hacker v11 and Certified Penetration Testing Professional cover the relevant challenges that businesses worldwide face that only an experienced cybersecurity professional can solve. The courses cover IoT, Blockchain, Cloud Security, AI, and more so that you are updated with all the relevant knowledge you need to fight emerging cyber threats.

CEH v11 and CPENT certified professionals are accredited by ANSI and recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense. Employers from Fortune 500 companies prefer these professionals over other candidates during the hiring process.

Learn more about Certified Ethical Hacker and Certified Penetration Testing Professional


Is pentesting useful?
The answer is a resounding yes! Penetration testing is useful if you want to identify vulnerabilities before they are exploited by an attacker. It can be conducted against the numerous types of systems and code applied in your application, like servers and APIs.
Do I need to understand ethical hacking to become a penetration tester?
You need prior experience in ethical hacking if you’re to become a good penetration tester. Until you understand the basics and methodologies involved in ethical hacking, you cannot perform a proper penetration test.
How often should I conduct penetration tests?
Penetration testing should be conducted on a regular basis. It isn’t a once and for all exercise. You should conduct a penetration testing at least once a year. This will guarantee that you have reliable IT and network security management. You’ll also be able to unravel threats and emerging vulnerabilities before they are exploited by malicious attackers.
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