15+ Best Penetration Testing Courses & Certifications in 2023

best pentesting courses

How do you become a penetration tester without a college degree? 

The first step in figuring out how to become a penetration tester in 2023, no matter your educational background, starts by selecting the right courses.

Penetration testing technologies and methodologies change rapidly, and the pentesting techniques that thwarted your network security threats a couple of months ago may not be as effective today. 

To stay ahead of ever-evolving attacks, it’s important to choose the best penetration testing courses online to get you started. By taking these courses you’ll learn the latest pentesting tools and techniques and be on your path to becoming a freelance penetration tester. 

Learning penetration testing the right way will enable you to spot system vulnerabilities and gain employable skills as a professional penetration tester, even if you don’t have a college degree. Moreover, you can use your new pentesting skills to earn an income hunting bugs if bug bounties make you tick. 

In this guide, I’ll take you through the best penetration testing courses & certifications on Udemy that’ll make you an exceptional entry-level penetration tester. 

Let’s dive right in. 

1. Web Security & Bug Bounty | Zero To Mastery 
2. Hacking and Patching | Coursera 
3. Penetration Testing, Incident Response and Forensics | Coursera 
4. Website Hacking / Penetration Testing & Bug Bounty Hunting | Udemy 
5. Penetration Testing with KALI and More: All You Need to Know | Udemy 
6. WiFi Penetration Testing (Ethical Hacking) From Scratch | Udemy 
7. Python 3 For Offensive PenTest: A Complete Practical Course | Udemy 
8. Penetration Testing – Discovering Vulnerabilities | edX 
9. Penetration Testing Essential Training | LinkedIn Learning 
10. Android App Penetration Testing | LinkedIn Learning 
11. Metasploit: Getting Started | Pluralsight 
12. Ethical Hacking Course & Training | Udacity
13. Writing Penetration Testing Reports | Pluralsight 
14. Burp Suite Extension Development | Educative.io 
15. Android Penetration Testing Online Training | Tutorialspoint 

1. Website Hacking/ Penetration Testing & Bug Bounty Hunting 

Would you like to identify dangerous web vulnerabilities? 

Then you might want to consider this pentester training, which will show you how to ethically hack into web servers and spot weaknesses using a variety of measures like web proxies. 

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to use SQL injections to take over a server. However, for an in-depth analysis of how SQL databases work, you may want to take a look at the best SQL courses online. 

By taking this course, you’ll also get to learn Kali Linux from scratch, making it the best penetration testing course online for beginners, especially if you know little about Kali and the Linux CLI.  

It may be a matter of concern for entry-level penetration testers that some of the installation processes for certain tools, for instance, Knockpy, have been skipped. Nonetheless, these are fairly easy sections and the course support is great should you get stuck. 

2. Penetration Testing with KALI and More: All You Need to Know

Social engineering is rampant today, which is why this pentesting training will show you five proven social engineering techniques, so you can get ahead of the danger. 

In addition, you’ll also learn how to attack LANs via 9 popular methods, which is a very important skill in learning how to become a penetration tester.

If you’d like to be a professional penetration tester, then it is the best web penetration testing course online as you’ll also gain the skills to write formal pen-testing reports to submit to superiors.  

By the end of this course, you’ll also be familiar with 10 different types of web application attacks including wordlists, SQL injections, and CSRF. 

On the downside, there are a few problems with the subtitles, which sometimes don’t match the audio. However, audio clarity is great and the instructor doesn’t have accent problems, so you should be able to comfortably keep up. 

3. Python for Penetration Testers

Are you a Python programmer hoping to get into pentesting?

Then you’ll find that this is one of the best Udemy courses for penetration testing to help expand your expertise into cybersecurity and set you on a penetration tester career path.

After taking this course, you’ll be able to use Nmap to develop a port scanner, which you can use to double-check port security. Moreover, you’ll be able to perform address spoofing to get an idea of how this attack works so you can stop. This is in addition to using Hashlib and Python to crack hashes.

Notably, you’ll need some experience with Python to take this course, but you can easily get started with some of the best Python courses online. I particularly recommend this course if you’d like to pursue a pentester certification sometime down the line.

With the right background, it’s an excellent shortcut to pentesting if you’d like to build on your programming for hacking expertise without having to learn penetration testing from the ground up. 

4. WiFi Penetration Testing (Ethical Hacking) From Scratch

What are the steps to becoming a penetration tester?

If you have specific interests in WiFi network security, this is an excellent learning resource to try out. 

This pentesting course on Udemy will teach you how to use some of the most popular WiFi penetration testing tools hackers use in 2023. In particular, you’ll master cracking WPA/WPA 2 wireless networks using brute force attacks via Reaver. 

Furthermore, you’ll be able to operate Wireshark to analyze network packets and troubleshoot various network problems that a hacker can exploit. The course will also teach you password recovery tools like Hashcat can be used to maliciously retrieve a user’s password. 

The upside is that it is among the best penetration testing courses online for the depth of WiFi pentesting tools used, and the variety of attacks covered. So after completing this course, you shall have learned how to become a network penetration tester and start getting freelance gigs.

On the downside, the course covers a lot of ground quickly, and quite an overwhelming number of tools. 

5. Real World Hacking & Penetration testing: Version-1

If you’d like to be an expert pentester at a top organization, this is the course to show you the way. 

First, you’ll learn how to assess a company’s digital risks, and draw up strategies for communicating these risks across your organization. Then, you’ll move on to cracking Linux and Windows passwords and hacking wireless networks that rely on WPA/WPA2 encryption. 

Afterward, you’ll master how to evade firewalls with Nmap. Mastering the Nmap tools is particularly useful if you are searching for information on how to get a job as a penetration tester today.

As a result of mostly using non-coding tools, it is among the best Udemy courses for penetration testing if you don’t have a programming background

In addition to that, the course is updated periodically which means you’ll never fall behind when it comes to the latest attack methodologies and tools, something that most freelance pentester find very useful.

6. Hands-on Penetration Testing Labs 4.0

From SQL injections to privilege escalation attacks, this Kali Linux training seeks to show you all the latest techniques hackers use to get the better of network defense systems. 

It is a highly practical penetration testing course with a high emphasis on using Kali Linux and its various tools, making it the best penetration testing course for beginners, that is if you learn best by hands-on practice. 

In particular, you’ll learn to execute dictionary attacks for password cracking using the web content scanner, Dirb. Just to mention that taking these password cracking exercises is a great way to get penetration testing experience.

For more comprehensive coverage of the pentesting potential of Kali Linux, you should check out some of the best Kali Linux courses online in 2023. Again, Kali Linux is one of the best Linux distros for hacking for every pentester.

Nonetheless, the course could do with a little more theory to understand why we’re doing certain things. However, this is strategically done to make room for an extra practical emphasis around using important penetration testing tools like Burp suite, Netcat, and Metasploit. 

7. Python for Offensive PenTesting: A Complete Practical Course

Python is an excellent programming language for pentesting because it offers a vast selection of libraries and has great flexibility. 

Through this online course on penetration, you’ll learn how to use Python 3.7 to perform pentesting and even go the extra mile and write your own tools to suit your specific needs. 

Via clipboard hijacking and keylogger, you’ll gain the expertise to hack passwords, and even be able to exfiltrate other types of data from your target. So you’ll learn how to become a physical penetration tester at the end of this course.

What’s more, you’ll learn how to escalate privileges on Windows, and code reverse shells for HTTP and TCP protocols. 

It is consequently one of the best Udemy courses for penetration testing if you’re concerned about how hackers evade firewalls.   

A solid understanding of Python is required to make the most out of this course. Regardless, it’s a great intermediate-level pentesting course to learn advanced hacking techniques and to create your own tools from scratch. 

8. Website Hacking & Penetration Testing (BUG BOUNTY)

Would you like to make a living off of bug bounty hunting?

If so, this is an excellent option to get you started. You’ll learn how to detect one-click attack vulnerabilities, and stop hackers from hijacking trusted user access to networks.

Using a Burp Suite Proxy, and other tools that make up the best Kali Linux pentesting tools, you’ll master how to tackle man-in-the-middle attacks. You’ll also get the hang of vulnerability scanners such as Vega and Arachni. 

After taking this course, you’ll be able to pentest any web application or website, making it one of the best penetration testing courses online for bug bounty hunting. 

The course covers tools and pentesting at a basic beginner level, and could benefit from more complex, real-world hacking examples. That said, it offers an excellent introductory course featuring important tools and attacks that you may want to learn about more comprehensively. 

9. Whitehat Hacking and Penetration Testing Tutorial Video

To be a formidable whitehat hacker, it’s vital to perform effective footprinting.

This is the pentesting certification course that’ll show you how to do it. You’ll learn about pentesting reconnaissance using Google hacking and Whois lookups to excavate information on domain names. 

At the end of this training, you’ll be able to perform deep packet analysis on Wireshark, making it one of the best Udemy courses for penetration testing and implementing robust network security policies. 

When it comes to SQL injections and XSS attacks, this tutorial proves an excellent counterattacking guide. It is also a great way to learn penetration testing online because it embraces a hands-on approach to teaching.

Additionally, you’ll learn how to break WiFi encryptions and stop network eavesdropping from WiFi sniffing. It is the best penetration testing course online because you don’t need a college degree to take this course.

Unfortunately, the course is a basic overview of pentesting tools and concepts, so if you’re an advanced learner you may not be satisfied with its depth. Conversely, if you’re studying for CEH certification exams, it proves an excellent refresher.

10. TOTAL: CompTIA PenTest+ (Ethical Hacking) + 2 FREE Tests.

Would you like to become a certified penetration tester?

Then you’ll find that this is the best web penetration testing course online, as it offers practice for CEH and CompTIA PenTest+ certifications.

By the end of this penetration testing certification course, you’ll be able to set up Kali Linux and Oracle VM manager for trying out real-world pentesting skills.

It also covers Aircrack-Ng and John the Ripper, among other popularly tested pentesting tools, and how you can use them to stop social engineering, DoS, and MITM attacks. Apparently, these are the very penetration skills required to become a certified penetration tester and earn a decent salary.

For more preparatory CompTIA certification courses, you should consider taking a look at the best CompTIA Security+ training. While it does not directly cover pentesting, it provides a great learning foundation that will later show you the ropes of how to get started in pentesting.

However, this course targets intermediate learners looking for a penetration specialist certification, so it may not be beginner-friendly. On other hand, it’s still a nice course to have on standby for when you’re qualified enough because it teaches how to get certified, which is important for professional development. 

11. Mobile Penetration Testing of Android Applications

Are you interested in mobile security? 

If so, this is one of the best Udemy courses for penetration testing as far as Android app development is concerned. 

This pentester training online will teach you how to audit Android apps using mobile app security testing tools hackers use such as MobSF, which is a popular testing framework because of its multi-platform features that enable you to test both Android and iOS apps. 

How much do penetration testers make? While I could not find some data published online about penetration tester salaries, a great way to know is to learn mobile penetration testing and get first-hand experience for yourself.

Crucially, the course covers how hackers bypass certificate pinning, which will enable you to strengthen the security of your mobile apps. This is in addition to using Burp for advanced web and mobile penetration testing. It is definitely a great way to learn freelance penetration testing and later learn how much freelance pentesters make.

There are a few misspelled command-line arguments, but they aren’t anything too major to derail the learning experience. Besides, instructor support is great for this course so you should have any problems you run into straightened out promptly. 

12. Infrastructure & Network: Bug Bounty and Penetration Testing 

Every effective penetration testing process starts with a good checklist. 

This is the course that’ll enable you to hit the ground running by teaching you how to create the ultimate web application pentesting checklist to cover all the bases. So it’s one of the reasons I have included this pentester certification training in this list of the best penetesting courses online.

After taking this course, you’ll be able to identify and seal open ports that are making your networks and infrastructure vulnerable. The training also encompasses Metasploit, and how to create backdoors using this framework, as well as identifying other vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting. So it adequately prepares you for a network penetration testing job.

Due to a simplistic coverage of worms, trojans, and other threats, it is one of the best penetration testing courses online if you’re completely new to pen-testing. 

However, due to an abundance of labs after each section, you may feel that the theory has been sacrificed a little bit. Still, it proves an excellent pentesting training for applied learning. I’d really recommend it if you prefer a hands-on approach to learning penetration testing instead of a theory focused one.

13. Complete Penetration Testing and Ethical hacking Bootcamp

For a two-in-one ethical hacking and penetration testing crash course, this is an excellent choice to set you on your way to a penetration testing certification path.

Thanks to its use of cross-platform tools, it is among the best Udemy courses for penetration testing with an inclusive learning experience across Windows, Linux, and Mac. Having said that, I think these are the best Linux distros for hacking because I just prefer pentesting on Linux.

Through this course, you’ll learn how to use Parrot OS and Kali Linux to defend against XSS and SQL injection attacks. For additional tips, I have listed more website hacking techniques here.

It also tackles how to automate web application pentesting using SQLMap, OWASP ZAP, and Vega, and then using these tools to expose vulnerabilities on WordPress sites. 

However, you may need to learn common ethical hacking terminologies and installation processes on your own as the course skips this part and the installation processes as well. 

The benefit to this is that it serves as a concise pentesting training to quickly get you up to speed with the most important concepts. 

14. Learn Step by Step Web Hacking and Penetration Testing

The best way for you to keep hackers at bay is to begin thinking like one.

This is the course to keep you one step ahead of black hat hackers, as you learn how to find weak spots in web applications and remotely take over servers. It is also an amazing way to prepare yourself for entry-level penetration testing jobs.

Specifically, the Pentesting tutorial will teach you about attacking data stores using bypass filters and SQL injections. 

You’ll also gain the expertise to attack users via HTML injections, CSRF, and clickjacking, among other hacking tricks that would typically fly under the radar. CSRF is particularly a required skill in becoming a pentester.

Thanks to Android reverse engineering lessons, it’s the best penetration testing course online for beginners, if you’d be keen on learning how to secure mobile app platforms.

The editing could be better to speed up the live demonstrations, but this makes it an excellent beginner-friendly pentesting tutorial that doesn’t skip through the little details that may trouble you as a first-timer using BurpSuite and other tools. 

15. Hacking and Penetration Testing from Scratch with METASPLOIT

One of the reasons Metasploit is a popular pentesting tool is its soft learning curve, which makes it beginner-friendly. 

To make the most of this framework, you’ll need assistance from one of the best Udemy courses for penetration testing as far as Metasploit is concerned. In fact, I would say that mastering Metasploit is a great way to become a pentester without a college degree today.

By the end of this training, you’ll be able to perform pentesting on both web applications and databases using various attack vectors. Check my other article on web hacking techniques.

When it comes to writing shellcodes, you’ll also be well-armed with the necessary knowledge. As a result, you’ll be able to identify a huge range of software vulnerabilities and implement appropriate countermeasures. 

It’s helpful to have some Linux knowledge going into this course, so you may want to brush up with the best Linux courses online.

The great part is that the course content is quite detailed and proves an exhaustive learning resource for the Metasploit framework.  


Which pentesting course is great to get you started? 

Each one of the best penetration testing courses & certifications on Udemy we’ve looked at today has its unique appeal and will set you on the path to a junior penetration tester certification.

If you have no experience with the Linux CLI, I recommend the Website Hacking/ Penetration Testing & Bug Bounty Hunting training because it prepares you for a freelance penetration tester job.

It contains a detailed section on basic Linux commands and is consequently the best web penetration testing course online for absolute beginners.

However, if the Linux OS is no stranger to you, you may appreciate the Penetration Testing with KALI and More: All You Need to Know course. It skips Linux basics and proceeds at a faster pace to cover more advanced topics which are the very skills needed for penetration testing.

Josh Hutcheson

E-Learning Specialist in Online Programs & Courses Linkedin

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