I would like to have a job as an Ethical Hacker when I grow up. Please answer some questions I have below.
How many years did it take to find a job? Do you have any friends that are going to the same workplace you're currently working at? How many hours do you work each week? Does your career allow you to have a pet and significant other?
I have been working for over ten years in cyber security for various employers both in government and for higher education and banking.
How many years did it take to find a job? The outlook for Ethical Hackers is plentiful but I'd expect a new person to work a few different types of security jobs before landing the Ethical Hacker position which would help get you the experience necessary for the role. One method of quickening this time would be to intership with a cyber company that does penetration assessments.
Do you have any friends that are going to the same workplace you're currently working at? Yes Ethical Hackers typically work on a team where everyone helps each other. However there are positions supporting clients might require some travel for a more experienced staff member and occasional longer hours.
How many hours do you work each week? Ethical Hackers would expect a standard 5 day week schedule as a base and can increase as work demands.
Does your career allow you to have a pet and significant other? Yes Ethical Hackers can have time to enjoy their life and family.
Michael recommends the following next steps:
An ethical hacker tests & evaluates the security of a computer network without malicious or criminal intent; its an interesting field and actually helps those in cybersecurity close gaps that could expose networks to issues. Although I'm not in that specific role now, I have had roles in the past where it was my job to try and "break" the website - I guess you could say I was a ethical hacker before the term became known! I usually worked with other people at the company, but we weren't all physically located at the same place. I typically worked 40 hours a week, but when we were preparing to launch a new website or online service we worked quite a bit of overtime. Once the site or service was launched we went back to our normal 40 hours a week. It was an exciting career and gave me the opportunity to meet new people and still have time for my personal life.
As for how to get started, a really great place would be introductory CTF's. Things like overthewire.com or other games give you some introductory principals of offensive security if you already have some computer science knowledge. If you don't, that's probably a better place to start. It helps to know the systems you want to break, so start with some basic programming/computer science resources. And reach out to other friends who are interested, studying this stuff is way more fun in a group