Career Options in Ethical Hacking : Jobs , Skill Requirement and Top Institutes

Ethical hacking is the act of legally breaking into computers and devices to test an organization’s defenses. 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. 

There are various benefits of ethical hacking. It prevents the data from being stolen by attackers. Today, data is the key driver behind any organization. The attackers can intrude into the system and steal the sensitive information to put it to the wrong use. Ethical hackers prevent this mishap, they run tests and ethically breach into the system to strengthen the security system.

Ethical hacker jobs are also in demand due to the increased concern of businesses to prevent their data. The data could be of any kind of any industry, such as banking, education, government, military, etc. the ethical hackers break into the system and identify the weak areas, they gain insight into what could eventually be a weakness in the system. Ince identified they make sure that the systems are protected from the potential threat. 

There are various phases of ethical security. Those phases of cyber security are-

  1. Identification 
  2. Protection
  3. Detection 
  4. Reaction

There are various benefits of hacking, such as-

  1. Timely identification of vulnerabilities
  2. Enough time to devise a strategy for protective measures
  3. Protects the data from unauthorized access
  4. Build trust from the users in the market
  5. Helps in the growth of the organization

The ethical hacking related career maybe not be like the old traditional careers but they are new age careers that are here to stay. The data is becoming more centric for organizations. The establishments are willing to spend on data security.

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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
  • Conclusion

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Job Profile

A career in ethical hacking will require a person to check for any vulnerabilities within different organizations’ computer systems, formulate ways to ensure the protection of information of an organization, communicate with clients, and deliver written reports after task completion. They must possess a thorough knowledge of computer tools, programming, and networking. 

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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 depends on their 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 to 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.

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How to Become an Ethical Hacker?

Below is a stepwise pathway to becoming an ethical hacker:

Step 1: After the 10th, opt for the science stream with physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science as your main subjects.

Step 2: After the 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 4: Master the trending programming languages, including C, C++, Python, Java, and Ruby.

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.

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Skills Required to Become an Ethical Hacker:

To become an ethical hacker, you must possess the following skills:

  • Proficiency in computer networking.
  • Programming skills are a must for an ethical hacker. These programming languages include Python, Javascript, C++, C, SQL, PHP, Java, Ruby, and Perl.
  • 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, foot printing, testing, and social engineering.

There can be various ethical hacking job opportunities found on the job portals. One can carve a successful career provided they have good skill sets and experience in the industry. Someone who is starting out their career in this field should begin by investing their efforts and time into gaining formal education and getting their foundations cleared, meanwhile developing the skill sets that are required in the market. 

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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 organizations from threats or attacks in cyberspace. There is also the opportunity to work as a freelancer and work for multiple organizations.

Governments require ethical hackers to keep cyber threats and cyber terrorism at bay. For every nation, it is important to keep the data of high importance and the data of its citizens secure. 

The white hat hackers or ethical hackers as we may call them, provide the government with the security of the data. These cybersecurity experts find loopholes in the existing system and take measures to strengthen the system.

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.

They make sure the system is protected from all kinds of threats, bugs, malware, attacks, etc. They prevent the system from any sort of breaches and provide a safe environment. 

They strengthen the cybersecurity mechanism. The requirement for these professionals is high, as they are required in almost every industry such as banks, healthcare, education, transportation, etc.

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.

These professionals make sure to update the security systems and prevent any threats by monitoring the network. They strengthen the organization’s computer network system. Apart from other functions, updating the network systems is also another set of responsibilities of network security administrators.

On average, the salary of network security administrators is 6.7 lakhs per annum. The average salary ranges from 3.5 lakhs per annum to 10.6 lakhs per annum (Source).

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.

The security consultants analyse and strengthen the security systems. They study the potential breaches and oversee the company’s preventive mechanism.

On average the salary of the security consultant is 10.9 lakhs per annum. The salary ranges from 5.4 lakhs per annum to 20.0 lakhs per annum (Source).

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5. Penetration Tester:

A penetration tester’s job is to break into the system or find possible exploits in different computer systems and software. The penetration tester’s primary responsibilities are: to plan and design penetrative tests, carry out tests and other simulations, create reports and recommendations, advise management on security improvements, working with other employees to improve organizational cybersecurity. 

This makes for a good ethical hacking career. They perform testing on computer systems, applications and even networks. They have tools to examine, assess and identify the weaknesses in the system. Based on their findings they advise and help in strengthening the systems. With their efforts, penetration testers are able to protect digital assets.

On average, the salary of a penetration tester is 7.2 lakhs per annum. The average salary ranges from 2.0 lakhs per annum to 26.0 lakhs per annum (Source).

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:-

Specific courses/ certificates on ethical hacking are provided by the following institute:

Online Course on Cybersecurity & Ethical Hacking

upGrad offers an Advanced Certificate Programme in Cyber Security 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.

Job Opportunities:

Cyber Security Expert, Cyber Security Engineer, Software Developer, Cybersecurity Analyst, Application Security Engineer, Network Security Engineer.

Minimum Eligibility:

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 Advanced Certificate Programme in Cyber Security. The course offers specialization in application security, cryptography, data secrecy, and network security. 

We hope this helps!

What is the application of Network security?

The deployment of security procedures to protect a computer network and its users is known as network security. Confidentiality, integrity, and availability are the three essential criteria for network security. The protection of data from unauthorized access is known as confidentiality. This can be accomplished by scrambling the data using encryption to not be read without the correct key, restricting access to the data, or controlling who has access to the data. The protection of data against unauthorized change is known as integrity. This can be accomplished by employing a checksum to validate the data's integrity, utilizing digital signatures to verify the sender's identity, or limiting who can edit the data. The protection of data from unlawful deletion or disruption is known as availability. This can be accomplished by using backups to restore data that has been lost or corrupted, redundancy to avoid data loss, and failover systems to ensure continuous availability in the case of a breakdown.

Why is cloud security blooming so much?

Because cloud security is an essential component of doing business in the cloud, it is exploding. Because it is a shared environment, the cloud is inherently vulnerable. Data is kept in the cloud on servers that are shared by several users. Unauthorized users are more likely to get access to or steal data due to this. Because it is made up of servers that are shared by several users, the cloud is a shared environment. Unauthorized users are more likely to get access to or steal data due to this. Because the cloud is a developing technology, it is constantly changing. This means that security features and procedures that exist now may not exist tomorrow. As a result, companies must keep a close eye on the security of their cloud-based apps and data.

How do I become a cybersecurity engineer?

Depending on your experience and qualifications, the ideal route to become a cybersecurity engineer may differ. Studying computer science or engineering, working as a systems administrator or network engineer, and acquiring expertise in cybersecurity are all options for becoming a cybersecurity engineer.

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