Ethical Hacker

Find a computer system's weak spots by deliberately hacking it.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$41,000 – $114,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Ethical Hackers do?

Ethical Hackers hack computers for a good cause. They do it to help their companies protect their systems from people who are trying to infiltrate them.

As an Ethical Hacker, you’re just like any other hacker: You use your advanced computer programming skills to find and exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems so you can gain access to unauthorized data. While unethical hackers use their skills for evil, however—to steal information or money, for example, or sometimes just to cause trouble—you use yours for good.

A security expert who’s typically employed by IT consultancies, you’re a so-called “white hat” hacker who’s hired to fight “black hat” hackers. As a result, you use the same approaches and strategies as unethical hackers, thinking like criminals with the ultimate goal of defeating them. What makes you “ethical,” of course, is that you’re breaking into your employers’ and clients’ computer systems with their knowledge and blessing.

With that in mind, you spend your days as an Ethical Hacker at the computer, using agreed-upon “rules of engagement” to remotely break into computers for the purpose of “stealing” data. Based on your findings—whether you can break into the system, and how—you then recommend increased security measures that will successfully “plug” the holes you used to get inside.

Should I be an Ethical Hacker?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • How to become an Ethical Hacker

    Most Ethical Hackers have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aeid9a&chl=|no+college+%286%25%29|certificate+%2811%25%29|associate%27s+%285%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2878%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,78
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