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Ethical Hacking Roadmap: A Beginner’s Complete Guide in 2022-23

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8th Feb, 2023
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Ethical Hacking Roadmap: A Beginner’s Complete Guide in 2022-23

Hackers are entities that try to access a business or individual’s data maliciously. But hacking is not always disadvantageous. One of the forms of hacking, i.e., ethical hacking, provides many advantages when defending a business’s or individual’s confidential data against data breaches. Its key purpose is to intrude into a network and work on its problems, strengthen it and deter attacks of actual intruders. Consequently, it ensures network security. 

In simple terms, ethical hacking is an intentional interruption into a system/network to locate potential threats or vulnerabilities. After locating threats or vulnerabilities, ethical hackers deter the malicious attacks of hackers by veiling as one and disabling actual hackers from accessing critical data. Its benefit can be reflected in companies through better data protection and security for active users. The following sections discuss the ethical hacking roadmap that will help you advance your cybersecurity career.

Overview of Ethical Hacking Roadmap

The cybersecurity industry is exceptionally dynamic and requires an aspirant to be equally driven to upskill as per the trends. In order to allow you a glance at this journey, we have created an in-depth roadmap of ethical hacking. 

Ethical Hacking Roadmap in detail

You can follow this detailed ethical hacking roadmap to embark on an outstanding career in cyber security.

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1) Make a strong technical foundation

The following section outlines the fundamental technical skills you need to learn to become an ethical hacker.

i. Operating systems:

You must fully understand contemporary computer operating systems and should be able to determine which operating system to be used under which circumstances. Examples include Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Unix, iOS, and Android. You must know their functionalities with the relevant commands.

ii. Programming knowledge:

One of the key requisites to becoming an ethical hacker is to develop an ability to read and write code in a minimum of one scripting or programming language. It can be Python and Shell script/Linux Bash. Moreover, you should also be familiar with other programming languages like C/C++/C#, Java, Python, PHP, and Ruby.

Being proficient with programming languages and their frameworks assists ethical hackers in discovering programming vulnerabilities. It also facilitates the automation of tasks and the deployment of security solutions.

Certain tool packages are available on GitHub that aspiring ethical hacking professionals can learn to attain practical coding knowledge.

iii. Networking concepts:

One of the essential aspects of a roadmap for ethical hacking is to know the networking concepts.

Understanding networking concepts like the OSI model, switching and routing, TCP/IP addressing systems, commonly used networking protocols, etc. You must have an in-depth knowledge of networks like subnetting, DHCP, and host connections. Moreover, you must be skilled at managing the interconnection of various computers on a network. A networking background will be a plus.

A thorough knowledge of computer networking and security is essential. It entails this understanding from the fundamental to advanced levels, including cryptography, firewalls, Virtual Private Networks (VPN), Denial of Service attacks (DoS attacks), and more. You must also be familiar with hacking concepts like Cloud Computing, Penetration Testing, SQL injection, malware, and Vulnerability Assessment.

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iv. Web Technologies:

It is essential to have an exhaustive understanding of web technologies like HTML, JavaScript, HTTP/HTTPS, etc. Moreover, it is expected to understand how these technologies mutually communicate to provide web search results to the users. 

v. Encryption/Decryption:

The significant information (including the passwords) will be encrypted on a network. So, ethical hackers need to be skilled at encrypting and decrypting the data. Learning Cryptography helps you to determine network vulnerabilities and resolve them.

vi. Databases:

You can use a database to store and access the confidential information of individuals or companies. One of the prominent reasons for network switches is database management. So, the roadmap for ethical hacking states that you need to learn database storage and organisation. Moreover, it is vital to hone your DBMS skills and learn to keep the data safe against intruder attacks.

vii. Learn how to mask your identity

One of the most critical stages in ethical hacking is learning how to stay anonymous online and disguise your identity. This skill is vital to consider in the cyber security roadmap for beginners because it leaves no evidence and makes it impossible for anyone to track your identity. Three effective methods for defining your network identity are Proxychains, Anonsurf, and MacChanger.

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2) Get Certifications

Attaining certifications is not a necessity to begin a career in ethical hacking. However, it is great to include them in your roadmap for cyber security because it provides you with a dedicated learning path. It demonstrates your exceptional skills and commitment to cyber security to potential employers. You can consider certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), GIAC GPEN, CompTIA Pentest+, and Offensive Security PEN-100 at the start of your ethical hacking career:

Professionals can benefit from CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), a certification that imparts ethical hacking training to candidates. A few other prestigious certifications in this domain are covered under the roadmap for cyber security. These include Global Information Assurance Certification, Certified Vulnerability Assessor, and Offensive Security Certified Professional. After you have obtained an entry-level certification, you can go for Offensive Security’s PEN-200 course, which provides you with OSCP certification.

Enrolling in a suitable cybersecurity/ethical hacking course is recommended to grasp the necessary aspects. Completing these courses make you even more eligible for obtaining the best possible job prospects.

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3) Read books

The most effective approach to gaining a detailed understanding of any topic is to read a book. Regularly reading the popular cybersecurity books in your area of interest should be an element of your strategy to enhance your ethical hacking skills.

List of the prevalent ethical hacking books:

  • Penetration Testing with Kali Linux By OffSec (PWK)
  • Reversing: Secrets of Reverse Engineering
  • Hacking Exposed 7: Network Security Secrets & Solutions
  • Offensive Security Wireless Attacks By OffSec (WiFu)
  • The Hacker Playbook 2: Practical Guide to Penetration Testing
  • Advanced Penetration Testing: Hacking the World’s Most Secure Networks

4) Work on practical projects

Building a lab is the most effective way to practise ethical hacking skills. It provides you with great convenience to experiment and tailor your learning. Virtualisation makes it possible to work on ethical hacking practical projects.

The cyber security roadmap for beginners recommends confining your lab in a sandbox in your local network. This is because your personal information and local network can be compromised when malicious hackers access it. 

To get started with building a lab, you can install Kali Linux. Moreover, you can use VirtualBox and VMware for virtualisation.

The practical experience with hardware helps you to connect the relevant networks flawlessly. The knowledge of network setup is also essential. A training course will impart how to work on hardware practically, but you must try working on it at the earliest.

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5) Broaden your network

Technical expertise and certifications are not adequate to become a proficient ethical hacker. You must also widen your network by participating in discussions and meeting professional hackers. You can create a community or sign up for forums to participate in conversations with other leading hackers to collaborate and share information. Various communities exist on Telegram, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

6) Start your professional career:

After following this roadmap, it’s time to kick-start your professional career in Ethical Hacking. During the initial stages, you can begin working on several entry-level jobs like Penetration Tester, Security Analyst, etc. Subsequently, you can switch to Ethical Hacker jobs at the senior level.

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Some of the widespread job profiles in this field are System Manager, Network Security Administrator, Information Security Manager, Web Security Manager, and more. The job opportunities are not limited to leading private IT companies. You can also join as an ethical hacker in various government firms, for example, the investigation division.

Get Started With Your CyberSecurity Journey on UpGrad

If you wish to learn Cyber Security, you can pursue UpGrad’s Cyber Security course, which imparts knowledge of Cryptography, Network Security, Data Secrecy, Application Security, and more. You would benefit from the live learning sessions, expert coaching, career mentorship, 24×7 support, and more. The course is specifically curated for engineers, MBA graduates, Managers and business management graduates, and professionals in different domains.


With the cyber security field experiencing rapid growth, opportunities for skilled candidates are equally rising. As unethical entities are leveraging more sophisticated measures to intrude, ethical hacking can be an exceptional career to assist authorities in strengthening cyber security weapons while enjoying a lucrative career in the long run. 

Keerthi Shivakumar with strong and innovative strategies to promote the business brand and services globally.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What are the types of ethical hacking?

Here are the types of ethical hacking (i) Web-Application-Hacking, (ii) System-Hacking, (iii) Web-Server-Hacking, (iv) Hacking-Wireless-Networks and (v) Social-Engineering.

2What are the types of hackers?

Various types of hackers exist and are named depending on their intent to hack the system. (i) White hat hackers: Also called Ethical hackers, they officially penetrate and discover the vulnerabilities in a network. (ii) Black hat hackers: They are non-ethical hackers who do hacking to satisfy their intentions and gain monetary benefits. (iii) Grey hat hackers: They are a combination of black hat and white hat hackers. They hack just for fun, without any malicious purpose.

3Are ethical hacking and cyber security the same?

Cyber Security is a broad subject that covers plenty of information and network security mechanisms, including digital forensics, data security, ethical hacking, and more. Ethical Hacking is a subset of Cyber Security. In ethical hacking, hackers hack the network to defend the system. On the other hand, cyber security experts defend the system by implementing all possible protective methods.