How to Become a Vulnerability Assessor

A cyber security degree is something that can take you into a world with a wide variety of career path options available. For those individuals interested in problem solving or computer hacking, a career as a vulnerability assessor may be the right choice for you. A quick and simple definition of this job is a vulnerability assessor searches and analyzes any possible errors in systems or applications so businesses can make improvements to their security systems.

What Are Your Responsibilities as a Vulnerability Assessor?

Responsibility_iconVulnerability Assessors may also be referred to as Vulnerability Assessment Analysts. Once all the flaws in a system are found, an analyzed assessment is given so there is a clear understanding of where changes need to take place and are prioritized and listed in order of importance. Other job requirements may include but are not limited to:

  • Test for vulnerability by creating and testing custom scripts and applications
  • On a preset basis, oversee and run security audits and scans
  • Recognize any vital defects in systems that could allow access to cyber invaders
  • Eliminate laborious tasks in finding vulnerabilities by using preset tools, like Nessus
  • Compose and describe a vulnerability assessment
  • Use creative and hands on strategies to produce false vulnerabilities and discrepancies
  • Implement a vulnerability assessment database
  • For metric reasons, keep up with any system vulnerabilities over a period of time
  • Lead instruction and training for system administrators

Job Comparison

In the land of cyber security, it is possible to get confused between careers or job responsibilities. Several positions could be recognized as being very similar. Let’s examine what can be compared with a vulnerability assessment.

Vulnerability Assessment: Completed to help organizations identify their list of weaknesses in security and help rank those issues for improvements. These assessments help develop safe and secure running systems and applications.
Penetration Test: A test completed on a particular scenario, usually requested by a company that already has strong control over their security system. For example, a penetration test could be run to attempt to access customer credit card information.

Possible Vulnerability Assessor Careers

Often vulnerability assessors are hired as outside consultants. This is a nice option for someone needing some flexibility, along with keeping doors open to expanding into other roles in the cyber security industry. While we compared the difference between a penetration tester and a vulnerability assessor, some assessors may do both jobs.

Some other role possibilities could include:

  • Cryptanalyst
  • Source Code Auditor
  • Forensics Expert
  • Security Consultant

Your job title may vary and fall into any of the following:

  • Security Assessor
  • Cyber Assessor
  • Vulnerability Assessor
  • Vulnerability Assessment Analyst

This information is important to remember when you begin the job hunt. A career opportunity may be posted under one of these titles so take the time to examine job responsibilities and/or expectations if listed.

Salary Expectations

When the job title of a vulnerability assessor is evaluated, the median average salary is approximately $63,000. A vulnerability assessor analyst earns a median annual salary of $54,000. Where you work and what part of the country you live in can determine a significant difference in salaries.
Vulnerability-Assessor-salary

What is Required to Become a Vulnerability Assessor?

This path is fairly accessible, even for those who have not had a great deal of schooling. It is common that individuals interested in this career have an interest in hacking and cyber security in high school or college. Some may have the natural ability to learn and experiment on their own and become successful. A degree is not always required for this position, however some employers might be more interested in a candidate with either an associate or bachelor’s degree in either Cyber Security or Computer Science. Make sure you take the time to learn the specific job requirements before applying so you are as prepared as possible.

Work-Experience
Work Experience While some employers may look for someone with a degree, other employers may be more interested in someone with solid work experience. The total amount of work experience required will vary depending on place of employment. The basic requirement is at least three years in a cyber security-related field of work.
Soft-Skills
Soft Skills

  • Imaginative in their way of thinking; basically have the mind of a hacker
  • Eccentric in their approach to strategies and techniques
  • Focused and attentive to detail
  • Interested in problem solving and accepting challenges
  • Well spoken and effective writing skills for assessment reports and trainings
Hard-Skill
Hard Skills

  • Skilled in web-based applications
  • Familiar with automated scanning tools like RETINA, Nessus, Gold Disk, and more
  • Work comfortably in software and hardware computer systems
  • Knowledge with security frameworks, tools and products; Fortify, AppScan, ISO 27001/27002, HIPPA
  • Fluent with computer operating systems; Windows, Linux and UNIX
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Certifications Some certificates that may be beneficial to your resume and help build your career. Here are some examples:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • GIAC Certified Penetration Tester (GPEN)
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Certified Vulnerability Assessor (CVA)
  • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)
  • Certified Penetration Tester (CPT)
  • GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)
  • Certified Expert Penetration Tester (CEPT)

Becoming a vulnerability assessor no matter which way you choose, can be an exciting and interesting career. It offers opportunities with a wide variety of roles and responsibilities. Take advantage of your creative thinking skills and put them to good use to help businesses develop solid and secure security systems.

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