How to Become a Penetration Tester (Full 2023 Guide)

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Businesses are frequent victims of cyber attacks. Hackers attack their computer systems to gain unauthorized server access and steal valuable data. In response, these companies create cybersecurity teams to detect threats and implement effective security solutions. Unfortunately, hackers often upgrade their skills to find vulnerabilities in these systems and evade security measures. Businesses conduct penetration testing to find loopholes in their security and close them before they are exploited.

What Is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is the simulation of cyberattacks against your computer system, application, or network infrastructure to find and assess potential vulnerabilities. This process is sometimes called ethical hacking or pen testing and is conducted by authorized cybersecurity personnel. They analyze the results and use their findings to strengthen the security of the system that was tested.

Becoming a Penetration Tester

Cybersecurity is important to many businesses. This has created a demand for all kinds of online security personnel, including penetration testers. You need to have a technical background and be up-to-date on the latest online security trends to become a penetration tester. You also need the proper education. Some companies may require a degree in computer science or any related field; however, most look for experience.

If you do not have a computer science degree, you can enroll in a cybersecurity bootcamp from Fullstack Academy to gain the skills required for a penetration testing job. Programs like this will expose you to real-world situations so you gain the experience needed to get an internship or entry-level job to build your cybersecurity resume. Click to read the steps to becoming a penetration tester in detail.

How to Conduct a Penetration Test

Cybersecurity personnel conduct penetration testing in six stages, namely:

Planning and reconnaissance

During this stage, the cybersecurity team will define the scope and objective of the test. They will determine the systems to be tested and the methods to use. They will also gather intelligence on the target to understand how it works and outline its vulnerabilities.


The cybersecurity team will use multiple tools and techniques to monitor the target's response to various penetration attempts. This will expose all the vulnerabilities.

Gaining access

Once these weaknesses have been identified, the cybersecurity personnel will infiltrate the system. They will extract sensitive data, escalate privileges, and intercept traffic to gauge the damage a security breach can cause.

Maintaining access

During this phase, they will determine how long a real cyber attacker can sustain access to the system without getting caught.


The cybersecurity team will compile the results of the penetration testing exercise into a report. The report will provide details of the exploited vulnerabilities, the sensitive data they could access, and the time they spent undetected in the system.


The cybersecurity team will use the report to address all weaknesses and improve the security posture of the company in question.


Penetration testing is a process that businesses use to prevent threats and strengthen their cybersecurity. You need a degree in a discipline closely related to computer science to get a pen testing job. Alternatively, you can sign up for a cybersecurity coaching.

Article by
Max T.
Max is the founder of Knowledge Eager and has made it his mission to find and review the best online business courses. He has taken more than 20 online courses and runs a small portfolio of content websites.