How to Start Your Certified Ethical Hacker Career

  • Certified Ethical Hacker Career
  • Published by: André Hammer on Feb 06, 2024

If you're interested in cybersecurity and want to be a Certified Ethical Hacker, you're in the right place. Becoming a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) can be an exciting and rewarding career choice. You'll be trained to think like a malicious hacker to better protect systems and networks.

In this article, we'll explore the steps you need to take to start your journey. If you're ready to dive into this dynamic and ever-evolving field, let's get started!

Understanding the Role of a Certified Ethical Hacker

Certified Ethical Hackers need expertise in computer systems, networks, and cybersecurity. They also need strong problem-solving abilities.

There are a few ways to become a Certified Ethical Hacker. This can include getting a bachelor's or master's degree in information technology, computer science, or a related field. It can also involve getting professional certifications.

To gain practical experience in ethical hacking, you can do internships, apprenticeships, or entry-level positions in the technology industry.

Essential Skills for a Certified Ethical Hacker Career

Proficiency in Programming Languages

Proficiency in programming languages is important for a Certified Ethical Hacker. They should be skilled in languages like Python, C, C++, and Java. These languages are used for writing secure code, automating tasks, and performing security analyses.

Showing proficiency in these languages can be done through previous roles or projects. This includes writing efficient and secure code, automating security testing, and developing custom security tools.

For example, a Certified Ethical Hacker might demonstrate their skills by creating custom scripts, analyzing vulnerabilities in applications, and developing secure applications.

Mastery of Cybersecurity Concepts

To succeed as a Certified Ethical Hacker, it's important to master key cybersecurity concepts and principles. These include network security, cryptography, penetration testing, and risk management.

Understanding these fundamentals is essential for effectively identifying, analysing, and countering security threats. It also helps in assessing vulnerabilities and potential exploits in an organization's network infrastructure.

Proficiency in cybersecurity concepts enhances ethical hacking skills and capabilities. This knowledge empowers professionals to anticipate and understand the methods used by malicious hackers, ultimately improving an organization's overall security.

By mastering cybersecurity concepts, professionals can offer comprehensive solutions to a variety of security challenges.

Network Security Fundamentals

Ethical hackers use their knowledge to protect systems from threats. They identify vulnerabilities and prevent common attack methods, like phishing and malware. They secure networks with encryption, strong authentication, and audits to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches. This knowledge is crucial for safeguarding sensitive information from cybercriminals. It also helps ethical hackers stay ahead of security threats. This skill set is valuable in the Certified Ethical Hacker career.

It's important for organizations to build a strong defense against cyber threats. It safeguards their reputation, customer trust, and ensures compliance with data protection regulations.

Knowledge of Operating Systems and Databases

The certified ethical hacker has experience working with different operating systems and databases. These include Windows, Linux, UNIX, and SQL, Oracle, and MySQL.

This knowledge has been used in professional settings. For example, conducting system vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to find weaknesses and potential security threats.

For instance, the ethical hacker may have encountered a database issue where certain data was vulnerable to unauthorized access. They may have used their knowledge of database security to implement access controls and encryption methods to reduce the risk.

Understanding the specific details of different operating systems has helped the ethical hacker to find and exploit potential weaknesses. This is part of their ethical hacking practices, which helps clients improve the security of their systems.

Expertise in Threat Modelling and Risk Assessment

The Certified Ethical Hacker is trained in threat modelling and risk assessment. They can identify, assess, and mitigate security threats. Using industry-recognized methods and tools, they can analyze vulnerabilities and anticipate risks to an organization's network, applications, and data.

This expertise helps them develop proactive cybersecurity measures. They can address current threats and prepare for future risks, strengthening an organization's overall security. For example, they can identify and patch software vulnerabilities, conduct penetration testing, and develop risk management strategies to protect sensitive information.

These examples show how threat modelling and risk assessment expertise can enhance cybersecurity.

Educational Pathways to a Certified Ethical Hacker Career

Degree Courses in Cybersecurity

Individuals who want to become a Certified Ethical Hacker can benefit from degree courses in cybersecurity. These include Bachelor's and Master's degree programs. These programs cover topics such as network security, ethical hacking, digital forensics, and cyber threat intelligence.

Students are expected to develop skills in penetration testing, vulnerability assessment, and security tools management. Rigorous training in security certification programs like Certified Ethical Hacker , Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) is also important for a successful career in ethical hacking.

Degree courses often provide practical experience through internships and capstone projects. They also offer networking opportunities with industry professionals and organizations. This practical exposure is crucial for individuals to gain real-world experience and establish connections within the cybersecurity field, which supports their advancement in a Certified Ethical Hacker career.

Online Learning Platforms and Certifications

Aspiring Certified Ethical Hackers can access online learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Pluralsight to gain knowledge and skills in ethical hacking.

These platforms provide courses and practice exams for relevant certifications such as Certified Ethical Hacker and CompTIA Security+.

By completing these courses and passing the certification exams, individuals can obtain recognized credentials in the field of ethical hacking.

Aspiring professionals can also expand their network by participating in online forums, social media groups, and attending cybersecurity conferences.

These platforms offer opportunities to connect with experienced professionals, share knowledge, and stay updated on the latest industry trends.

Building a strong professional network through these avenues can be valuable for career advancement and staying informed about the evolving cybersecurity industry.

Obtaining Certification for Ethical Hacking

EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Certification

EC-Council offers a Certified Ethical Hacker Certification. This covers ethical hacking, penetration testing, and network security. It shows someone's ability to identify potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses in computer systems. They can then use this knowledge and tools to assess the security of a target system. This certification can lead to career opportunities in sectors like cybersecurity, information technology, and law enforcement.

Alongside the CEH, individuals should also think about other relevant ethical hacking certifications. These include CompTIA Security+, Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP), and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Cyber Ops. For practical experience in ethical hacking, people can join bug bounty programs, capture the flag (CTF) competitions, or take internships or entry-level positions in cybersecurity firms.

Advancing in a certified ethical hacker career involves continuous learning and networking with professionals in the field. Pursuing higher-level certifications, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional or Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), is also important.

Other Relevant Ethical Hacking Certifications

Other important ethical hacking certifications to consider are CompTIA Security+, Offensive Security Certified Professional , and Certified Information Systems Security Professional. These certifications cover a wide range of skills such as penetration testing, network security, encryption, and system architecture, complementing the CEH Certification.

They are widely recognized in the industry and offer various career opportunities in cybersecurity and ethical hacking. Each certification has its unique focus, providing professionals with a diverse skillset for different roles. By pursuing these certifications, professionals gain in-depth knowledge of the latest security tools, technologies, and practices, essential for protecting organizations from cyber threats.

Obtaining these certifications demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of ethical hacking principles, security protocols, and risk management strategies, contributing to a successful career as an ethical hacker.

Gaining Practical Experience

Internships in Cybersecurity Firms

Interns in cybersecurity firms have various responsibilities. These include conducting security assessments, helping to develop security protocols, and analysing data to spot potential threats. They also get to learn about the latest cybersecurity technologies, tools, and strategies.

Internships in cybersecurity firms provide practical experience in real-life scenarios. This helps aspiring certified ethical hackers to develop the skills needed to identify vulnerabilities, secure networks, and protect data from cyber threats.

Those aspiring to secure internships can do so by networking with industry professionals, obtaining relevant certifications, and showcasing their technical skills through personal projects or hackathons. Leveraging online platforms and attending industry events can also provide valuable exposure to potential internship opportunities.

Participation in Hackathons and Capture the Flag Contests

These events help aspiring ethical hackers gain practical experience. This is important for a career as a Certified Ethical Hacker. Participants can improve their skills in network security, web application security, cryptography, and reverse engineering. They also get the chance to solve complex challenges and puzzles, which helps develop their problem-solving skills.

Additionally, these events allow individuals to network within the cybersecurity community and connect with professionals in the field. This can lead to valuable career opportunities. Engaging in these competitions allows candidates to showcase their problem-solving skills, strategic thinking, and deep understanding of cybersecurity principles, opening up career advancement opportunities.

Contribution to Open Source Security Projects

Contributing to open source security projects is a big part of a Certified Ethical Hacker career.

By taking part in projects like making new security tools, reporting bugs, or creating documentation, individuals can have a big impact on the cybersecurity community.

These contributions often lead to improving existing security solutions, making them stronger and more reliable.

Also, making the overall security better can be done by creating new security protocols and finding and fixing vulnerabilities in existing systems.

For instance, helping develop a new encryption algorithm that addresses weaknesses in current methods can greatly improve data protection in different industries.

By sharing knowledge and working with other security professionals in open source projects, Certified Ethical Hackers can help create a safer digital environment for organizations and individuals.

Building a Professional Network

Cybersecurity Conferences and Workshops

Cybersecurity conferences and workshops cover various important topics for those interested in becoming a Certified Ethical Hacker. These include the latest trends in cybersecurity, new techniques for preventing cyber attacks, and best practices for ethical hacking.

Participating in these events helps individuals expand their knowledge, stay updated on industry trends, and connect with professionals in the field, contributing to their professional development.

Networking opportunities at these events allow individuals to build relationships with potential employers, mentors, and colleagues, leading to job opportunities and collaborations on projects.

Online Forums and Social Media Groups

Online forums and social media groups are great for aspiring Certified Ethical Hackers. These platforms help connect with other professionals, share information, and seek advice. Engaging in these communities can provide insights into the latest trends, tools, and techniques, essential for professional development. It also helps build a strong professional network, which is important for career growth.

Networking, sharing knowledge, and discussions can lead to new job opportunities and collaborations. These platforms often feature job postings, internships, and industry events, offering various avenues for finding employment. Active involvement in online communities is a smart approach for excelling in ethical hacking.

Finding Employment and Advancing in a Certified Ethical Hacker Career

Roles and Industries for Certified Ethical Hackers

Certified Ethical Hackers play an important role in different industries like finance, healthcare, government, and technology.

In finance, they test banking systems to prevent fraud and protect customer information.

In healthcare, they safeguard patient data and secure medical equipment from cyber attacks.

In government, they secure sensitive information and networks.

In technology, they identify and address vulnerabilities in software and hardware to prevent data breaches.

Ethical hackers must stay updated on the latest cyber threats to effectively protect industry systems and data.

Crafting a Winning Resume and Cover Letter

Crafting a winning resume and cover letter for a Certified Ethical Hacker position involves effectively showcasing skills and experience. This can be achieved by:

  • Highlighting relevant technical certifications.
  • Demonstrating hands-on experience with various tools and technologies.
  • Showcasing specific achievements related to ethical hacking.


  • Include a clear and concise summary that captures the recruiter's attention.
  • Provide a detailed work history demonstrating continuous learning and growth in the cybersecurity field.

To stand out in the cybersecurity industry:

  • Tailor the resume and cover letter to the specific job description and company culture.
  • Incorporate key phrases and technical skills from the job posting.
  • Emphasize ethical hacking projects, research, or contributions to the cybersecurity community.

By doing so, candidates can position themselves as knowledgeable and passionate professionals, valuable assets to potential employers in the ethical hacking industry.

Preparing for Interviews and Technical Assessments

A good way to prepare for technical assessments during an interview process for a Certified Ethical Hacker role is to practice hands-on exercises and solving real-life ethical hacking problems. This practical approach ensures that individuals are familiar with the tools, techniques, and methodologies commonly used in the field.

Additionally, staying up to date with the latest industry trends and developments is crucial, as this demonstrates a commitment to ongoing learning and professional growth. When preparing for interviews for a career in Certified Ethical Hacking, individuals can utilise resources such as mock interview sessions, online forums, and professional networking events to gain insights into the types of questions that may be asked and the expectations of potential employers.

Furthermore, researching the company's values, projects, and previous security incidents can help candidates tailor their answers to demonstrate a solid understanding of the organization's needs and a proactive approach to addressing potential security threats.

Finally, individuals can ensure they are adequately prepared for technical assessments as part of the interview process for a Certified Ethical Hacker position by reviewing common ethical hacking tools, creating a portfolio of previous security assessments, and being ready to explain their problem-solving process.

Continuing Education and Certification Renewal

Certified Ethical Hackers need to complete at least 120 continuing professional education (CPE) credits in a three-year certification renewal cycle. These credits involve attending courses, writing articles, and giving presentations.

Participants can also earn CPE credits through the EC-Council Continuing Education (ECE) program by attending conferences, webinars, and live training events related to information security.

Renewal for Certified Ethical Hackers is necessary every three years to stay current with preventive measures and hacking techniques, ensuring a consistent standard for ethical hacker professionals.

Over to you

To start a career as a Certified Ethical Hacker, begin by getting a degree or certification in computer science or IT. Gain experience through internships, entry-level positions, or freelance work. Understand ethical hacking principles and practices well, and get certified by recognised organisations. Network with industry professionals and keep up-to-date with cybersecurity trends. Build a portfolio of work and seek opportunities for growth.

Readynez offers a 5-day EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker Course and Certification Program, providing you with all the learning and support you need to successfully prepare for the exam and certification. The CEH course, and all our other EC-Council courses, are also included in our unique Unlimited Security Training offer, where you can attend the CEH and 60+ other Security courses for just €249 per month, the most flexible and affordable way to get your Security Certifications. 


What is a certified ethical hacker (CEH) and what do they do?

A Certified Ethical Hacker is a professional trained to test the security of computer systems by attempting to breach them. They identify vulnerabilities and provide recommendations for improving security. For example, they might perform penetration testing on a company's network to pinpoint weaknesses.

What kind of education or training do I need to become a certified ethical hacker?

You will need a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field. You can also pursue certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker or Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

What are the typical job responsibilities of a certified ethical hacker?

A certified ethical hacker's typical job responsibilities include conducting penetration testing, identifying system vulnerabilities, and providing recommendations for security improvements. They also may perform security assessments and develop security policies and procedures.

What certifications or credentials do I need to start a career as a certified ethical hacker?

To start a career as a certified ethical hacker, you will need to obtain certifications such as Certified Ethical Hacker or Offensive Security Certified Professional. These credentials demonstrate your skills and knowledge in ethical hacking.

What are the typical career paths for certified ethical hackers?

Certified ethical hackers can pursue careers as penetration testers, security analysts, or security consultants. They can also work as security engineers, cybersecurity specialists, or even as independent consultants or entrepreneurs.

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