Cybersecurity professionals have many possible many career paths, but one of the more promising positions out there is that of an ethical hacker. An ethical hacker attempts to penetrate computer systems and networks — with the permission of the owner — with the goal of finding security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious hackers.
Ethical hackers use the same tools, methodologies and mindset as a malicious hacker. The main difference is that this type of hacking is completely legal, and any weaknesses and vulnerabilities are reported directly back to the client.
Ethical hackers are known in the cybersecurity world as either “white hat” or “grey hat” because they are breaking into systems in order to increase the overall lines of defense for an organization. It is the “black hat” Hacker that often has malicious and illegal intentions in mind.
The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification demonstrates that the individual is both technically and professionally qualified to carry out such tasks. In this article, we examine what the job prospects are for an individual that has a CEH, based on data from Payscale and other sources.
The Best Geographic Locations for CEH Jobs
Below are some the “hot” cities in the United States for CEH jobs and their respective salary ranges:
Washington, DC: $66,161 – $126,125
New York City: $50,633 – $132,270
San Antonio, TX: $52,270 – $90,707
Atlanta, GA: $49,550 – $107,467
San Diego, CA: $66,303 – $120,732
The most lucrative places to work as a CEH tend to be in large cities. What is a little surprising is there is not a huge difference between the salary ranges. No matter what big city a CEH chooses to work in, they will likely command a very respectable salary. It is expected that the demand for IT professionals with the CEH cert will be in high demand for some time to come.
What are the best Companies to Work for as a CEH?
Below are some of the top companies to work for as a CEH and their respective salary ranges:
Booz Allen Hamilton: $66,497 – $102,212
US Army: $32,919 – $85,014
US Air Force: $48,279 – $80,512
Lockheed Martin Corporation: $67,241 –- $106,823
US Navy: $40,699 – $82,523
What does the current job market look like for those certified?
The highest paying jobs for a CEH appear to be in the private industry. The U.S. military also appears to be a very strong employer for IT professionals possessing the CEH. This is likely due to defense contracts that get awarded to them and the need for highly skilled IT professionals to work with and test those systems.
What kind of jobs can you get with the CEH certification?
Professionals that hold a CEH hold many job titles beyond ethical hackers. Below are some of the “hottest” job titles for a CEH and their respective salaries:
Information security analyst: $70,721
Penetration tester: $80,334
Information security manager: $108,352
Security engineer: $88,062
Cyber security analyst: $74,360
Information security engineer: $91,075
The most lucrative job titles for a CEH appear to be those that have titles such as “manager” or “engineer.”
Years of Experience for CEH Professionals
Although being a CEH is a huge benefit, another variable affecting job demand and income level is the total number of years of work experience that an individual has. Below is the breakdown for the number of years of experience of CEH holders:
Less than 1 year: 3%
1-4 years: 30%
5-9 years: 28%
10-19 years: 31%
20 years or more: 9%
It appears that CEH holders are fairly evenly spread out in terms of years of professional experience after the one year mark and until the 20 year mark. Organizations such as InfoSec Institute provide certification training to all types of professionals to help them advance their career.
Based upon the data, it appears that the following characteristics of a CEH professional will not only command the highest income, but possibly the best job stability as well:
As much experience as possible
A technical security title such as “manager” or “engineer”
Willingness to work in a very large city either on the East or West Coast of the U.S.
Working in the private sector or for the federal government
At least a Bachelor of Science degree in a technical major
Even gender can have an impact for the salary level of a CEH professional, as demonstrated below:
Female (8%): $53,954 – $105,424
Male (92%): $55,341 – $112,273
The field of ethical hacking is a heavily dominated by males, but this also means that the demand for females possessing a CEH could also be very strong in the coming years.
It appears that the field of Ethical Hacking is a heavily dominated by males But, this also means that the demand for females possessing the CEH cert could also be very strong in the coming years.
Ethical Hacking Training – Resources (InfoSec)
What are some interview tips for CEH certification holders?
After you have received your cert, you are probably thinking about your next career move, or next lucrative opportunity. Of course, you will always have to interview well, and all of sorts of interviewing tips can be found by conducting a simple Google search. But as it relates to the CEH, here are some tips:
Research on the Employer, Hiring Manager, and Job Opportunity:
In this regard, you will want to determine the best strategies as to how to present your CEH, and how it will best tie into the role of the job interviewing for as well as the company in general. Some key questions include the following:
What kinds of hacking projects will I be working on?
What tools will be made available to me to conduct these activities?
Whom are some of the initial clients I will be engaging?
What are the possibilities for future opportunities with my new cert?
What kinds of CPE credits can I get while I am at this job?
What kinds of teams will I be working with, or whom will I be working with?
Are there any Pen Testing methodologies that the company whom I want to work for?
Sell Yourself and then Close the Deal:
Research and determine how your skillset, and especially your new cert, will serve in the best interests of the prospective company and the hiring manager. Make this into a 1 minute “elevator speech” at the end of your interview.
Always tell the hiring manager that you want the job, and that you think you will be a great asset to the company.
Always thank the interviewer:
A few hours after the interview, always send an E-Mail to the hiring manager thanking them for the interview opportunity. Always mention in a couple of sentences why you are best fit for this position.
How Should the CEH Be Highlighted on a Resume?
It is always a MUST to include your certs on your resume and your LinkedIn Profile! They should always be listed in a prominent place under its own section on your resume. There is no hard and fast rule as to where this should exactly be placed. Always consult with a professional resume writer to get the best advice and opinion as to where exactly it should be placed. But the following should be included:
The cert type
The certifying organization
Date earned (Month/Year or simply just the Year)
Finally, remember that by adding in your certs, you stand out uniquely from the other pool of candidates, it can make great talking points in an interview, and it also shows that you have a strong dedication to learning and keeping up with the latest in your chosen Cyber security field.