Is the OSCP Worth It?
In today’s world, it’s pretty much essential for organizations to have excellent penetration testing measures in place. One of the benefits of this process is that it helps to uncover any vulnerabilities in their systems before cybercriminals notice and exploit them. Apart from that, regular penetration testing on systems is also effective to reduce unnecessary network downtime.
As a professional looking to get a job as a penetration tester, all you need to do is acquire programming skills and earn relevant credentials. There are tons of certifications out there that can boost your chances of getting a job as a penetration tester. One of them, which I’ll be talking about throughout this post, is OSCP. But, here’s a burning question, is this certification worth the money and time?
Earning the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) certification is worth the money and effort because of a couple of reasons. First, it’s a widely recognized and respected credential. Apart from that, the exam is hands-on and comes with a practical that replicates real-life scenarios.
Certainly, there are tons of benefits in it for you when you enroll for and earn the OSCP penetration testing credential. Read on to find out more about them as well as everything else you need to know about the certification.
Here’s What You Need to Know About OSCP Certification
What is OSCP?
The Offensive Security Certified Professional or OSCP is one of the certifications designed by the Offensive Security organization – an American international company in the cybersecurity and penetration testing space.
Offensive Security offers more than one penetration certification. Others include Offensive Security Wireless Professional (OSWP), Kali Linux, and Offensive Security Experienced Penetration Tester (OSEP).
However, OSCP is arguably the most popular of them all. Besides, the certification is also the foundational penetration testing course for people looking to have a breakthrough into the field.
What does the OSCP exam include?
As earlier mentioned, the OSCP certification exam is 100% hands-on. It’s a practical exam that simulates a live network in a private VPN.
The OSCP exam is not quick, as you have up to 23 hours and 45 minutes to complete it. Upon completion of the examination, you’ll also have 24 hours to upload all the required documents.
For you to earn the OSCP certification, you need to get familiar with the following topics, which the exam covers:
- Passive & active Information Gathering
- Vulnerability Scanning
- Buffer Overflows
- Win32 Buffer Overflow Exploitation
- Web Application Attacks
- How to fix exploits
- Password Attacks
- Active directory attacks
- Antivirus evasion
- Port Redirection and Tunneling
- The Metasploit Framework
- Linux Buffer Overflow Exploitation
- Working with Exploits
- File Transfers
- PowerShell empire
- Privilege Escalation
- Client-Side Attacks
- Bypassing Antivirus Software
- Assembling the Pieces: Penetration Test Breakdown
Who should earn the OSCP certification?
According to Offensive Security, the OSCP certification is specifically designed for Infosec professionals, who are looking to break into the penetration testing field. However, you need to understand that the exam isn’t only limited to the professionals in information security.
If you’re a Pentester looking to earn an industry-leading certification to boost your career, then OSCP is also perfect for you. That’s not for; security professionals, as well as network administrators and other professionals in the IT space, can also enroll for and earn the OSCP certification to up their chances of becoming Pen-testers.
Is the OSCP Certification Worth It?
Now, let’s go back to our burning question; is the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) certification worth the money and effort?
The straightforward answer to this question is yes, the certification is worth it. Of course, I’m saying that because of the many benefits attached to getting OSCP. Check below to see the various reasons why earning the OSCP credential is worthwhile.
- 100% hands-on
As you’ve already known, OSCP is a 100% hands-on penetration testing examination. It’s a practical exam that simulates real-world scenarios, such as a live network in a private VPN.
For you to earn the OSCP certification, the very first step you need to take is to complete the PWK course, which OffSec will send you at the appropriate time. The courseware will come as a combination of a long PDF and videos.
The PDF will start with the basics of working in Kali Linux. Of course, it’ll also get you familiar with the various methodologies and the different tools you need to get the job done. Upon the completion of the course, your practical knowledge of hacking will be tested. How?
The exam will charge you to hack into different lab machines within 24 hours. After that, you’ll move to the other half of the test, where you need to create a report, using a template, which OffSec will provide you.
The bottom line is the OSCP exam will allow you to test your practical skills. What that means is; it’ll provide you with the appropriate skills to handle real-life problems at work.
- Respect and recognition
Apart from getting the right skills, another reason why earning the OSCP certification is worthwhile is that it’s well-respected and recognized across the globe.
The exam, which has been around for a while now, covers and tests hacking skills that are necessary for penetration tests. What this means is that – the exam has developed a strong reputation in the penetration testing space. So, by earning the certification, you’ll get a boost in your resume; this will help you make a quick and easy switch from infosec to penetration testing.
- High pay
Another benefit of being an OSCP-certified professional is that you’ll get high pay. For instance, according to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary of an OSCP is $93,300. That’s about $45 when converted into hourly rates.
- Validation of competence and advanced skills
Another great benefit of being an OSCP is that the certificate will validate that you have the advanced skills to take on a new position as a Penetration Tester. As earlier mentioned, the exam focuses on various aspects of security, especially the red team part of penetration testing. Of course, this is the aspect that performs the pen tests and vulnerability assessments.
So, by earning the certification, it means your potential employers will see you as the ideal candidate who can conduct penetration testing in their organization.