One of the most asked questions by those starting out their hacking career is: “How much does a certified ethical hacker make?”
In this guide, we will look at the different pay scales for ethical hackers.
What is CEH Certification?
The certified ethical hacker exam, commonly known as CEH exam, helps certify individuals in the network security discipline from a vendor-neutral perspective. It’s a professional certification offered by the EC-Council.
The course exposes learners to standard hacking practices. Moreover, it showcases a graduate’s knowledge of information gathering, carrying out attack exploits as well as social engineering techniques.
For an ethical hacker, the CEH certification can help you advance your career. There are a variety of top-tier positions that require CEH certification. Examples would be:
- Computer Forensics Analyst
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Homeland Security Specialist
- Information Security Analyst
- Intrusion Detection Analyst
- Security Engineer
- Vulnerability Tester
What is the Salary Range for CEH Certification Jobs?
The certified ethical hacker salary varies based on position, experience, organization, and location. Over the years, there have been different surveys carried out to determine the ethical hacker salary. For our research, we used data provided by Payscale and Indeed. The two are great resources for investigating salary ranges for certified ethical hackers.
To help us unpack the data, we will look at the salary ranges based on experience and job title.
Based on Experience
- Entry-level – $50,000 – $100,000 – 0 to 5 years
- Junior-level – $100,000 – $120,000 – 5 to 10 years
- Senior-level – $120,000 and above – 10 years+
If you’ve passed your CEH exam, you can add up to nine percent to the above salaries. If you are a certified penetration tester, you can add up to ten percent.
Based on Job Title
Most similar roles have different titles depending on the hiring organization. The case isn’t different for CEH job titles. Specialization is important if you want to get an edge over your competitors. You can choose to specialize in areas such as networking, forensics, applications security, etc. With a CEH certification, you can still earn a high income without necessarily taking on an ethical hacking job.
Below are some CEH job titles and their salary ranges:
- Cyber Security Analyst – $48,083 – $118,990 including bonuses (median of $74,716)
- Forensics Computer Analyst – $42,685 – $118,615 including bonuses (median of $69,460)
- Information Security Analyst – $48,521 – $107,004including bonuses (median of $70,817)
- Information Security Manager – $73,249 – $153,163 including bonuses (median of $108,662)
- Network Security Analyst – $41,361 – $106,829 including bonuses (median of $65,832)
- Penetration Tester – $50,845 – $127,713 including bonuses (median of $81,097)
- Security Engineer – $56,016 – $132,537 including bonuses (median of $88,170)
Additional Skills That Certified Ethical Hackers Should Have
Besides a CEH qualification, it’s important – as an ethical hacker to possess the following skills:
- Advanced knowledge of security protocols and common operating systems, networks and programming, cryptography and encryption techniques, exploits and countermeasures as well as telecommunications
- Analytical skills to help review and dissect large and complex data
- Computer language skills to understand software code and follow processing logic
- Conceptual understanding of common threats and cybercrime
- Communication and interpersonal skills to clearly convey information in a non-technical language
- Logic and problem-solving skills to reverse engineer software and break it down into its different parts
- Patience to keep making attempts to infiltrate a system
- Software skills to learn how to use new applications and tools quickly
- Psychological and social engineering insights to be able to “get into the mind of a black hat hacker”
As an ethical hacker, you should be knowledgeable about different hacking techniques. In addition, it’s important to continuously learn and update your skills because the hacking world changes quickly. Furthermore, the more skills you have, the higher your chances of commanding a higher salary.