Ethical hacking is the act of legally breaking into computers and devices to test an organisation’s defences. A career in ethical hacking requires a proactive stance, as the ethical hacker ensures the prevention of cybercrimes and protects cyberspace from any untoward intrusion. Ethical hackers check the strength of IT security, ensure data security, and protect computer systems from illegal hacking activities.
In other words, ethical hacking refers to the technique of identifying the weak point in the network and gaining access to the devices connected to the system, as the information so retrieved is used to bridge the gaps and make their respective network more robust and secure.
In this, we’ll cover the following topics:-
- Job Profile
- How to become an ethical hacker?
- Skills required to become an ethical hacker
- Career options in ethical hacking
- Pros and Cons of a career in ethical hacking
- Top ethical hacking institutes in India
- Online course on ethical hacking/cybersecurity
A career in ethical hacking will require a person to check for any vulnerabilities within different organizations’ computer systems, formulating ways to ensure the protection of information of an organization, communicating with clients, and delivering written reports after task completion. They must possess a thorough knowledge of computer tools, programming, and networking.
Transparency is the key element for a career in ethical hacking. Ethical hackers must be transparent with clients while going through their computer systems. As an ethical hacker, you will need to simulate breaches to the network security of an organization, conduct advanced evaluations to identify vulnerabilities in computer systems, and take necessary steps to combat the potential risk areas. Also, ethical hackers must always stay updated with the latest industry trends.
Ethical hackers’ job is usually confined indoors within an office setting, probably in computer labs or server rooms. Their work routine varies depending on daily work. There are days when the work shift can extend over 12 hours because of some critical emergency in the organisation. One can work as an independent consultant or as an employee of a company.
The job integrates high working pressure and its responsibilities range from finding a bug in the IT environment to providing a solution in making the IT environment stronger against external threats. Government organizations, IT security firms, financial institutes, and telecommunication companies are some of the most prominent recruiters of ethical hackers.
How to Become an Ethical Hacker?
Below is a stepwise pathway to becoming an ethical hacker:
Step 1: After 10th, opt for the science stream with physics, chemistry, and mathematics, and computer science as your main subjects.
Step 2: After 12th, opt for B. Tech, BE, or B.Sc. in Computer Science/IT engineering. You can also enrol for professional courses on cybersecurity and ethical hacking offered by reputed institutes.
Step 3: After graduation, pursuing higher education as M.Tech or M.Sc in Computer Science will be fruitful. Candidates for postgraduate and doctoral programs from government-recognized institutes like IITs and IISc need to go through the GATE examinations. You might also find scholarship opportunities based on your merit.
Step 5: Try to obtain professional certifications in the field such as CISSP, TICSA, Security+, Cloud computing, risk management, and application development. The CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) course is highly recommended to help people get polished skills, and it is a mandatory requirement for many organizations.
Skills Required to Become an Ethical Hacker:
To become an ethical hacker, you must possess the following skills:
- Proficiency in computer networking.
- A successful career in ethical hacking requires an individual to have knowledge of cryptography.
- It is mandatory for an ethical hacker to have a bachelor’s degree in IT such as engineering, B.Sc, and an advanced diploma in networking.
- Creativity and resourcefulness.
- Adaptability and patience.
- Analytical and logical thinking.
- Keen observational skills and the ability to work with fine details.
- A passion for keeping oneself up-to-date with all the latest developments in computing.
- Ability to take the challenge.
- Good problem-solving skills.
- Proficiency in the art of inspection, footprinting, testing, and social engineering.
Career options in ethical hacking
1. Government/Private Firms
There’s an increase in cyber threats and because of this government and private organizations are constantly in search of Ethical Hackers who can be helpful in protecting the organizations from threats or attacks in cyberspace. There is also the opportunity to work as a freelancer and work for multiple organizations.
2. Network Security Engineers
Network Security Engineer handles the implementation, maintenance, and integration of corporate WAN, LAN, and other server architecture. They are also responsible for looking after the implementation and administration of network security hardware and software and enforcing the network security policies.
3. Network Security Administrator
A network security administrator writes the network security policies while also performing frequent audits to ensure that the security policies are correctly implemented and are up-to-date. In addition, they also take corrective steps for any sort of breach.
4. Security Consultant:
Security consultants evaluate the existing IT systems and infrastructures for any weaknesses, and then they develop and implement IT security solutions to prevent any unauthorized access, data modification, or data loss.
5. Penetration Tester:
A penetration tester’s job is to break into the system or find possible exploits in different computer systems and software. Penetration tester’s primary responsibilities are: to plan and design penetrative tests, carry out tests and other simulations, creating reports and recommendations, advise management on security improvements, working with other employees to improve organizational cybersecurity.
Pros and Cons of a career in ethical hacking
- There’s a huge demand in the market for ethical hackers.
- It is an unconventional career path that can be of high earning potential.
- Helping to prevent cybercrimes.
- Identifying the weaker areas of the IT environment.
- Getting to build a robust IT environment against outer threats.
- There’s a demand for ethical hackers to test Security IT firms’ products and make them more robust.
- Even though the demand is high, the process of selection and hiring is quite inconsistent.
- The certification and the courses’ completion need to be from a recognized university/institute or else it would become bothersome for a career in ethical hacking.
- There’s a shortage of research facilities in India.
- It is highly possible that the work may mostly be part-time.
- It is a highly analytical and focused field, where there’s less interaction.
- Many people out there are using ethical hacking for the wrong purposes, which is leading a lot of companies to not be able to build trust in ethical hacking/hackers.
Top Ethical Hacking Institutes in India
One can start their UG in computer science and go forward with various certifications and further studies. Some institutes that provide computer science for UG level are:-
- Delhi Technological University, Delhi
- IIT, Delhi
- IIT, Bombay
- IIT, Kharagpur
- IIT, Kanpur
- IIT, Roorkee
- IIT, Guwahati
- IIT, Bhubaneswar
- BITS, Pilani
- NIT, Trichy
Specific courses/ certificates on ethical hacking are provided by the following institute:
- Indian School of Ethical Hacking (ISOEH), Kolkata
- EC Council, multiple locations
- Ankit Fadia Certified Ethical Hacker, multiple locations/online
- Institute of Ethical Hacking and Forensics, Odisha
- Arizona Infotech, Pune
- Institute of Information Security, multiple locations
- Quest Institute of Knowledge (QUIK), Mumbai
Online Course on Cybersecurity & Ethical Hacking
upGrad offers an Executive PG Program in Software Development in Specialization in Cybersecurity. It is an online course that’ll help you master application security, data secrecy, cryptography, and network security in just 13 months!
Key highlights of the course:
- Placement assurance
- Online sessions + live lessons
- No cost EMI option
- IIT Bangalore alumni status
- 7+ case studies and projects
- 6 Programming Languages & Tools
- 4 months of executive certification in data science & machine learning, for free
- upGrad 360° Career Support – job fairs, mock interviews, etc.
- Software Career Transition Bootcamp for non-tech & new coders
Topics That are Covered:
Application Security, Data Secrecy, Cryptography, Network Security, and much more.
Who Is This Course For?
IT and Technology Professionals, Project Leads and Managers in IT/Tech Companies, Tech Support Engineers and Admins.
Cyber Security Expert, Cyber Security Engineer, Software Developer, Cybersecurity Analyst, Application Security Engineer, Network Security Engineer.
Bachelor’s Degree with 50% or equivalent passing marks. It requires no coding experience.
Career options in ethical hacking are quite promising, especially now that its scope is booming. With the need for cybersecurity increasing by the minute, job prospects for ethical hackers are bound to increase. All you need are the right qualifications and skills to bag a lucrative role in ethical hacking with an established organization.
If you want to pursue this profession, upGrad and IIIT-B can help you with an Executive PG Program in Software Development Specialization in Cyber Security. The course offers specialization in application security, cryptography, data secrecy, and network security.
We hope this helps!