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Cybersecurity Career Paths: Penetration Testing

Discover why penetration testing is a must-have skill for your cybersecurity team, and how to help them get started

Cyber criminals have a knack for advancing in lock-step with new technology, testing limits and capitalizing on weaknesses. As a cybersecurity leader, you understand the importance of safeguarding your organization's valuable assets and maintaining the trust of your clients. But with cybersecurity risks becoming increasingly sophisticated, now is the optimal time to invest in training your team in the art of ethical hacking: penetration testing.

What is penetration testing?

Professional headshot of Lisa Bock

"No matter how diligent any of us are, an attacker may be able to breach the network defenses and compromise our systems. If you oversee protecting digital assets, the only way you'll know how your system will perform under attack is by testing your defenses."

Lisa Bock

Penetration testing, also referred to as pen testing by cybersecurity professionals, involves simulating real-world attacks on your organization's systems and networks to uncover vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

In her course, Introduction to Pen Testing for Cybersecurity Professionals, Lisa Bock explains penetration testing in terms of ethical hacking.

“Pen testing, or ethical hacking, is a proactive security assessment that tests internal and external systems by simulating attacks. During testing, ethical hackers examine the ways a breach can occur. Many times they use the same tools and techniques as a malicious actor. Using a systemic approach, the ethical hacker will go through the system to locate and exploit vulnerabilities, to test the strength of a system's security defenses against attacks by hackers and other intruders.”

This practice is being adopted by organizations around the world as data security regulations become more stringent. “Today's organizations face strong regulatory oversights that force us to secure our system. Pen testing helps with gap analysis to see how close you are to being compliant,” Bock says.

Why does my organization need an in-house penetration tester?

An in-house penetration tester provides a unique skill set and expertise that is invaluable in identifying vulnerabilities within your systems and infrastructure. By having a dedicated penetration tester on your team, you can regularly assess your security posture, identify weaknesses before malicious actors exploit them, and implement effective countermeasures to protect your assets.

Benefits of penetration testing

Penetration testing offers several benefits that contribute to enhancing the overall security posture of your organization.

How to become a penetration tester

To prepare your team for a successful career in penetration testing, it's crucial to ensure they possess the necessary skills and qualifications.

Here are some LinkedIn Learning courses to help get your team started, as well as exam preparation learning paths to help them earn their certifications.

Penetration testing courses to get your team started

The following LinkedIn Learning courses can help you and your team zero in on what skills and certifications you need to become penetration testers.

Penetration testing certifications

There are several certifications available for penetration testing. LinkedIn Learning offers exam preparation courses and additional information on non-traditional exams.

By ensuring your team possesses these skills and qualifications, you can empower them to assess and strengthen your organization's security measures effectively.

LinkedIn Learning offers hundreds of courses, certifications and learning paths from expert instructors.