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Re: What is being a pen tester really like?
From: Tim <tim-pentest () sentinelchicken org>
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006 12:19:36 -0400

Hello,

I am currently a Java developer but I'm seriously thinking of changing paths to a career in security and pen testing. 
What I would like to know is what is being a pen tester really like? 

I haven't been pentesting as an official job all that long (1.5 yrs),
but I'll throw my comments in.  

I understand the functions a pen tester performs, but I would really
love to hear what it is actually like on a day-to-day basis, on the coal
face so to speak. What are the good things about the job, and what are
the bad?

The good things about the job:  
  The variety of technical challenges

  The excitement involved in finding new vulnerabilities.

  The pay


The bad things about the job:
  Testing can be very tedious, especially when you haven't found many vulns

  Some clients will treat you as simply fulfilling an audit item, and
    won't care much about actually fixing their shoddy code

  You've usually got to keep your findings under wraps, which means most
    of your work won't go towards building up your 1337 reputation.


Your experiences/advice would be hugely appreciated. 

I think the two most important personality traits for being a good
pentester might be:
  Patience, and predisposition to enjoy gambling

  Strong desire to understand all things technical


Having a background in a wide variety of technologies is very important,
but of course can be learned if you have the desire.  Having deep
knowledge of a couple of areas of technology is also good, but you've
got to be willing to branch out.


HTH,
tim

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