Ethical Hacker

Discover the educational and skills requirements to becoming an ethical (or “white hat”) hacker. Learn about salary potential, future industry growth, and main areas of employment.


Using the same tactics and tools as malicious hackers (or “black hat” hackers), “ethical” hackers are security professionals who gain access to a business' network systems and computer systems, pinpointing their security vulnerabilities and weaknesses through penetration testing (also known as pen testing), vulnerability assessments, and security assessments and audits to fix them before they're left vulnerable to cyber attacks.

In ethical hacking, certified ethical hackers will scan an organisation’s computer systems, seeking entry points for potential attacks. They also check for hijacked servers, web applications, or cracked wireless encryptions. When issues are found, ethical hackers will fix them immediately to prevent further criminal exploits. These professionals also ensure all patch installations are up-to-date, perform a penetration test, and attempt to evade Intrusion Prevention (or Detection) Systems to ensure all are working as required.

Those working in ICT security can expect industry growth in the coming years, with an expected increase of 43,900 workers in 2018 to 47,300 by 2023.

Key Skills

  • Well-versed in application security solutions, practices such as penetration tests, and common methods of hacking to ensure the utmost protection of business networks

  • A sound understanding of common programming languages – can help in automating tasks or exploring errors left by developers (leading to potential security threats)

  • Knowledgeable in “social engineering” tactics – used to manipulate users in providing confidential data

  • Perceptive in exploring potential network issues with skills in complex problem-solving

  • Knowledgeable in how network systems work (including mobile devices), and how environmental or operational changes impact it

  • Excellent communication skills; required in relaying network issues with business owner and employees, and ways of mitigating them

Quick Facts

Employment for database and systems administrators and ICT security is large, with weekly earnings higher than the all-jobs average (these tend to be lower when starting out – increasing as experience grows). Most work full time, with opportunities across many regions of Australia.

Salary Range

$57,000 - $108,000 (Median: $77,000)*

*Source: Payscale

Average Weekly Hours

41 hours (vs. all jobs average of 44 hours)*

*Source: Job Outlook

Main Industries

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; Public Administration and Safety; and Financial and Insurance Services


Getting the skills you need is simple by studying one of our information technology courses below.

*Sources: and – All information is to be used as a guide only, and are accurate at the time of publication.