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On a journey to become a qualified cybersecurity pentester

We had the pleasure to speak with Abdel Hosni, an app software developer currently transitioning to become a professional pentester, who recently completed the Offensive Security Penetration Testing bootcamp at Swiss Cyber Institute. Read what he has to say about his journey and his personal experience during the bootcamp training.

Dear Abdel, can you please introduce yourself and share a bit about you and your background.

I have been in the digital world since 1995, grew up in France, studied computer science in the UK and shaped my skills in New York being a part-time entrepreneur day time and working hard in a restaurant at night.

How did you get into the cybersecurity field?

Cybersecurity has always been part of my life, as simply protecting what people read above my shoulder, while on the computer or to make sure you don’t install malware for no reasons. That discipline is a part of who I am. In 2020, during Covid, I applied for a remote training in cybersecurity and started to gain serious technical skills and most important a global vision of the cybersecurity world. This is a complete different world on its own and amazing to me.

What motivated you to make your way into pentesting, and what do you like most about it?

I discover pentesting while I was working as a SOC analyst, meaning analysing events on a day routing and checking what was not normal to happen on a special device at a certain time. Pentesting has more challenges to me in sense that you have a perimeter, computer and apps, and you need to enter the system, understand what’s going on and get to a special designated folder. The excitement and reward to self achievement is huge. The feeling is just awesome.

You developed your pentesting skills on several platforms, including TryHackMe. How was your journey?

Well, in pentesting you need to have a set of skills permanently developing, or you need to update yourself all the time, which is a skill on its own. So that’s part one. Part two you need to learn a set of technical skills including designing software programs to automate what you want to do, then you have to learn how to work in environment like Linux and Windows for my part. TryHackme is a great platform to have hands on to all the above, but you need self-discipline and to practise regularly.

You recently completed the Offensive Security Penetration Testing certification from the Swiss Cyber Institute. What did you like most about the course?

The OSPT course of Swiss Cyber Institute is just another level, I love the hands on training, being on the lab is just priceless. Alejandro, our teacher, has that skill to adapt to the audience, to adapt the pace of his training and covers areas that I wasn’t even aware of. The most important take away from this class is that I’ve learned the methodology and mentality needed to become a successful pentester. That is the true value to me, the rest is technical. 

What would you recommend to someone wanting to become a pentester?

To have a global vision and a global knowledge of his mission. Reconnaissance is 75% of the job.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Swiss Cyber Institute is a rare gem, and have affordable lab practice where you can learn a lot about the lab and the classes before investing your time in a year-long program to see if that fits you. Some other learning sites are great, but Swiss Cyber Institute gets to the point. Happy that I found you guys, another successful hack!

To find out more about the upcoming Offensive Security Penetration Testing bootcamp starting in January 2023, please visit the course page.

Click here to learn more about the Swiss Cyber Institute’s approach towards improving the digital safety and security of society and economy through education .