eLearnSecurity Blog

The 2 Tips Self-Taught Security Pros Will Give You

Can you become a InfoSec expert on your own? Self-taught security professionals will tell you it’s possible, and here are the 2 tips they will give you.

Mastering the Basics

Without a strong understanding and knowledge of IT and security basics, how do you expect to become a professional? In fact, mastering the basics will help you assimilate even more advanced skills more easily.

Before you get into the IT Security field, you must first have a strong understanding of all the Information Technology (IT) basics. Those include (but are not limited to):

  • Computer Science basics
  • Fundamentals of modern operating systems (Windows, Linux, OSX, Android, iOS, …)
  • Basic Programming skills (C++, Python, …)
  • Basic Networking skills (Routing, Forwarding, TCP/IP)
  • Troubleshooting

While mastering the IT basics is a good start, there’s more to work on for a career in InfoSec. You must now learn extra skills, focused on the most important security topics. Those include (but are not limited to):

  • How System, Network, WiFi, and Web App Attacks work
  • The Penetration Testing Lifecycle phases (Information Gathering, Scanning, Vulnerability Assessments, Exploitation, Reporting)
  • How and why Security Audits must be performed
  • How Buffer Overflows, XSS, and SQL Injection work
  • The different tools needed to perform a penetration test

Think you know the basics perfectly? Try teaching those skills to a fellow IT security student or colleague. As Albert Einstein quoted “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” This couldn’t be truer. Once you have explained and taught a skill to someone else, you can be sure that you have mastered that skill. If you find yourself struggling to explain how and why a particular method or tool should be used and when, it’s time for YOU to review your basics.

Ready to get working on your skills? Here are some ways you can do that. 

  • Read a good book
  • Attend security conferences
  • Enroll in a practical training course
  • and much more…

Read “6 Ways You Can Learn New InfoSec Skills” to learn more.

Prooving Your Skills

Because InfoSec is a highly practical industry, it’s important for employers to be 100% sure of their employees’ ability to do the job. In order to prove that you walk the talk, here are some of the things you can do:

  • Take part in various Bug Bounty programs
  • Enroll in a practical training course and get certified
  • Participate in CTFs and other cybersecurity hands-on challenges
  • Seek out a mentor and convince him/her to give you a glowing recommendation
  • Get involved in security conferences, keynote speeches, and webinars to talk about your favorite topics and know-how

While there are many more ways to show that you’re good and passionate about what you do, the example above set a good foundation for employers to trust your skills and ability to do the job.

Aspiring to become a professional Penetration Tester? We might just have a special offer in store for you.

On the occasion of the successful launch of our PTSv4 training course last month, and the many many requests to bundle it with PTPv5, we’re offering you PTS in Elite Edition for free with every enrollment in the PTP training course Elite made via this link.

Whether you’re a professional who would like to review his basics or a beginner aspiring to learn modern and professional pentesting skills, this ultimate pentesting bundle is made for you!

Learn more about how these 2 training courses, bundled together, can help your career here. No need to think it over? Click the link below to enroll now and get your free course!


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  • Andie says:

    Great article and can totally attest to it as well. I started off solo, found an industry mentor, got pointed toward eLearnSecurity and now a few years on and I’m a pen-tester. I’ve completed a few tested now and all resulted in happy clients who are aware of vulnerabilities they didn’t know about before.

    Work hard.
    Have passion for what do.

    • Marine D. says:

      Congratulations to you Andie, hard work does pay off!
      Thank you for your motivation and being an active part of our community, we hope that your comment can inspire future Penetration Testers to follow your path as a self-taught security pro 🙂

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