Is the Ethical Hacker Salary About to Witness a Big Boom in 2019?

by | Jul 16, 2019 | Cyber Security

8 Min Read. |

The term hacking dates back to the era of Alexandar Graham bell where the hack was intended to get the insider information about how the system operated.

With the advent of computers in our lives, the meaning of “hacking” altered to a greater extent. 

It is worthwhile to know that the first hack of the computer system was intended to enhance the performance of an operating system.

The term earned itself a bad name in the 1980s when Kevin Mitnick gained unauthorized access to Digital Equipment Corporation(DEC) and copied their software.  

But with all the negative incidents on the hacking timeline,  tremendous value has been added to the IT infrastructure security and discipline of ethical hacking was established by John Patrick, Vice President IBM in 1995. 

While the notoriety of ethical hacking kept growing, governing bodies and enterprises found an opportunity amidst the growing chaos.

Today ethical hacker salary is breaking the glass ceilings because a benefit has been identified to have ethical hackers in the team who incessantly keep trying to break into the system to figure out potentially vulnerable spots in the security system. 

What is Ethical Hacking? Source Eccouncil

What is Ethical Hacking?

Along with the salary of an ethical hacker, the market has been offering charismatic profiles and that is why we see it becoming a career choice of millennials.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) which categorizes ethical hackers as security analysts, the job positions from 2016-2018 are expected to increase by 28% which is 4 times the average national job growth, thus it is an alluring opportunity. 

Before we set out to explore the ethical hacker salary trends, let us understand ethical hacking from a technical perspective: 

What Is Ethical Hacking & How Has an Ethical Hacker Salary Grown Over the Years?

Growth of Ethical Hacker Salary Source Infosecinstitute

Growth of Ethical Hacker Salary

A hacker is a security analyst who identifies vulnerabilities in a network or a system. He uses these soft spots to access the system and its sensitive information in an illegal manner.

While this kind of unauthorized access gaining is illegal, ethical hacking is a deliberate hack attempt conducted by the organizations on their own networks to figure out the vulnerabilities. 

This is considered to be the most efficient method to fortify the security network, as the malicious hackers are on the continuous hunt, the ethical hackers are incessantly trying to beat them by getting to the weak endpoints before them. 

If the latest ethical hacker salary analysis report by Payscale is consulted, a Certified ethical hacker salary per annum is close to $80,074.

Although different sources give us different stats, they all sound encouraging. If the data from CEH is to be trusted, a few years seasoned ethical hacker can draw $120,000 and more every year. 

Additionally, the year 2019 will witness high demand in ethical hacking profiles with more career opportunities in cybersecurity and the market players need to be ready with attractive offers. 

Know more about why is ethical hacking so important in 2019:

What are the Job Profiles & Salary of Ethical Hacker?

Before we dive deeper into the job profiles and how are the trends of a certified ethical hacker salary, let us explore what different kind of hackers do we have around:

Ethical Hacker Job Profiles Source - Prepaway

Ethical Hacker Job Profiles

1. White Hat Hacker

This is the Ethical Hacker who grabs a legal job in an enterprise. He utilizes his certifications and skills in hacking to strengthen the security safety nets of an organization. 

2. Black Hat Hacker

These are the darknet professionals who work to detect anomalies in the enterprise IT networks. They work in an illegal manner as they enter the sensitive information database to steal data and damage the corporations. 

3. Grey Hat Hacker

A hacker who finds it interesting to find the security loopholes in the networks. They work behind the scenes and are not the employees of any organization.

As soon as they find a vulnerability, they identify the combat and try to monetize the find by selling the analysis and fix to the enterprises.

Job Profile & Ethical Hacker Salary

A whitehat hacker or ethical hacker can procure multiple roles in an organization depending on his skill set:

Ethical Hacker Career Prospects Source - LiveWireIndia

Ethical Hacker Career Prospects

1. Information Security Analyst

According to a fresher must look forward to an average ethical hacker salary in India around $64,000 while in the cities like NewYork, California, and Virginia the salary of an ethical hacker can cross $100,000. 

2. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

As of June 2019, the average ethical hacker salary in India and in the US is somewhere close to $105,302 per annum.

The salaries at entry level being at $71,500 and can go up to $ 220,000. While the job postings for higher skill levels are low, the average pay range drops significantly.

But this must not deter from millennials to enter the industry as the growth is quite progressive. 

3. Information Security Manager

The job profile of an Information security manager is that of a multitasker. He is expected to formulate and implement security policies and audit plans. They are the ones responsible for identifying security risks.

Leading the security training, communication, and migration of assets and environment, they shoulder the responsibility to make the enterprise stays security compliant.

As the profile involves leading the security team, the ethical hacker salary in India and US for this profile hovers over $138014 per year. 

4. Penetration Tester

Penetration testing is a procedure set by enterprises that aim to discover security vulnerabilities within the organizational network.

According to, a Penetration tester withdraws an average salary of an ethical hacker is $109,961 in the US. 

There is a very fine line between the roles you play as an ethical hacker and a penetration tester but they vary from organization to organization. 

What Are the Different Phases of Ethical Hacking?

As an ethical hacker you may end up drawing an ethical hacker salary in the range of $68,000 to $13,000 and the same would involve you in different stages of the ethical hacking life cycle. 

Certified Ethical Hackers Source - TriadSquare

Certified Ethical Hackers

1. The Information Collection

Also known as reconnaissance, it is the beginning phase of the ethical hacking process. This is the point where critical information like operating systems and packet-hops is collected.

Currently, tools like Nmap, Hping and Google Dorks are used for automated information collection. The ethical hacker salary for the profile that is involved in this stage is an average of $68,000-$72,000.

2. Scanning the Network

The ethical hacker is required to scanning the network and system to dig out the vulnerabilities. The vulnerabilities are categorized as per the extent of priority or damage they can lead to.

The ethical hackers make use of automation tools like Nessus and Nexpose and draw salaries in the range of $70,000 – $83,000.

3. Quite Access

During the scanning phase, the vulnerabilities identified are used to gain unauthorized access to the system. It could be stealing some sensitive information or seizing certain files.

But all must be done quietly by circumventing all the security protocols. If no alarm is raised by the system, the vulnerability is considered to be something serious that needs a fix.

Infosec professionals use Metasploit as a tool to gain unauthorized access. 

4. Consistency of Access 

Most of the malware gain unauthorized access to the files and stay quietly in the network drawing sensitive information incessantly.

It is the target of ethical hackers also to maintain access to these systems. Sometimes ethical hackers try to locate backdoors also to hasten the unauthorized access. 

5. Log Deletion

Most of the IT systems maintain a log of each and every activity within the network. Who accessed which file at what time, all is recorded in the log. How do hackers make it to the core even when the log is there?

The process known as log deletion requires the hackers to delete the entries of the hacker’s activities. Although it is not a must to have stepped in ethical hacking but is most of the times executed to make the scenario quite realistic.

It is this stage of strategy and execution that requires a seasoned ethical hacker salary demands go up to the scale of more than $100,000. 

6. Reporting

The process that involves the role of an Information security manager, who draws an ethical hacker salary of more than $1,30,000.

While reporting is the last step of the ethical hacking lifecycle, it is crucial as this holds all the critical information like what kind of vulnerabilities the system has and how efficiently they fixed using the expertise in house. 


2018 was a flourishing year for Ethical hacker and the ethical hacker salary.

The average salary of ethical hacker jumped up to $71,331 per annum while some top performers of the industry pocket huge bonus that ranged from a few hundred dollars to $17,500.

Certified Ethical hacker salary has been rising incessantly in 2018. More and more aspirants are going ahead with Ethical Hacking Courses and the certifications that strengthen their stance to grab higher paying jobs in the market.

These certifications enhance their knowledge of computer networks and how hackers find a way into secure systems. 

If you are an aspiring ethical hacker, grab the opportunity to start your career in Ethical Hacking, here is a list of top Ethical Hacking Interview Questions that will help you to crack your next interview.

Enroll in our Cyber Security Course and kickstart your career as an Ethical Hacker.

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