Top 6 Developer Jobs for White-Hat Hackers in 2023

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Hackers have a wide variety of specific skills that are super valuable in a “white hat” environment.

If you’re interested in leaving the “dark side” or you simply want to reduce your risk profile as a hacker—these could be some interesting career paths you could pursue easily without needing to learn a whole new stack of skills.

Security Engineer

A security engineer is a β€œwhite-hat hacker”, i.e., an IT professional who analyzes computer systems and computer networks to ensure they are running securely. This involves proactive analysis and understanding of possible security threats and attack vectors and designing the system to minimize the exposure to these threats.

Question: How much does a Security Engineer in the US make per year?

Figure: Average Income of a Security Engineer in the US by Source. [1]

The average annual income of a Security Engineer in the United States is between $75,732 and $144,874, with an average of $108,851 and a statistical median of $105,928 per year.

🌍 Learn More: I’ve compiled more information about this career path — income, industry trends, learning paths — in an in-depth guide on the Finxter blog here.

Network Engineer

A network engineer plans, supervises, debugs, installs, and implements computer networks. The required skill set of a network engineer includes a profound understanding of basic networking protocols such as TCP/IP and UDP, as well as basic hardware configurations such as Ethernet switches and routers.

🌍 Recommended Tutorial: TryHackMe Walkthrough – Wonderland

The average annual income of a Network Engineer in the United States is between $68,000 and $104,000 with a median income of $87,000 per year according to multiple sources including Indeed, Glassdoor, and Talent.com.

🌍 Learn More: I’ve compiled more information about this career path — income, industry trends, learning paths — in an in-depth guide on the Finxter blog here.

Distributed Systems Developer

A distributed systems engineer designs, implements, and debugs distributed systems for data storage, crypto & web3, or analytics. The idea is to design a distributed system that can provide a service to users that couldn’t be provided by a centralized system (e.g., providing a decentralized, censorship-free monetary network).

How much does a Distributed Systems Engineer in the US make per year?

Average Income of a Distributed Systems Engineer in the US by Source.
Figure: Average Income of a Distributed Systems Engineer in the US by Source.

The average annual income of a Distributed Systems Engineer in the United States is between $97,000 and $169,656, with an average of $126,894 and a statistical median of $130,000 per year.

🌍 Learn More: I’ve compiled more information about this career path — income, industry trends, learning paths — in an in-depth guide on the Finxter blog here.

Bash Shell Developer

A bash developer creates scripts and software in the bash shell language. Bash is a Unix command processor that runs in a text window where the user types commands that cause actions (source).

Bash developers work in a wide range of fields such as web development, server architecture, security, databases, distributed systems, and administration.

The average annual income of a Bash Unix Shell Script Developer is $74,000 according to Ziprecruiter (source). PayScale lists an even higher annual income for a bash developer of $80,000

🌍 Learn More: I’ve compiled more information about this career path — income, industry trends, learning paths — in an in-depth guide on the Finxter blog here.

System Administrator

A system administrator (SysAdmin) is responsible for keeping a system, server, or server application running smoothly and without unexpected negative system behavior.

This involves tasks such as management, debugging, troubleshooting, licensing, and updating hardware and software systems.

A SysAdmin makes sure to proactively avoid negative system behavior such as security exploits, data loss, or system downtime.

How much does a System Administrator make per year?

Figure: Average Income of a System Administrator in the US by Source.
Figure: Average Income of a System Administrator in the US by Source. [1]

The average annual income of a System Administrator in the United States is between $75,207 and $92,500, with an average of $83,088 and a statistical median of $84,031 per year.

🌍 Learn More: I’ve compiled more information about this career path — income, industry trends, learning paths — in an in-depth guide on the Finxter blog here.

Test Automation Engineer

A Test Automation Engineer is a software developer who creates automated software tests for existing or new applications. Testing is a crucial phase in the software development cycle to learn about bugs, usability, and security issues and fix them before deploying an application in the real world.

How much does a Test Automation Engineer in the US make per year?

Average Income of a Test Automation Engineer in the US by Source.
Figure: Average Income of a Test Automation Engineer in the US by Source. [1]

The expected annual income of a Test Automation Engineer in the United States is between $74,821 and $120,000 per year, with an average annual income of $95,285 per year and a median income of $93,657 per year.

🌍 Learn More: I’ve compiled more information about this career path — income, industry trends, learning paths — in an in-depth guide on the Finxter blog here.

Conclusion

These are only some possible career paths as a white hat hacker. I’ve focused on the ones that require minimal learning time and switching costs.

But as hackers are often very proficient in programming languages and systems thinking, the opportunities are endless.

Also, feel free to check out our full guide on Python career opportunities for coders—I’m sure there are many opportunities that look exciting to you!