Are You Red Team or Blue Team? How Your Skills Fit into a Cybersecurity Career

by Eileen Ristau Tauchman | Sep 28, 2018
Red and blue ping pong paddles on a ping pong table

With all the hacking, phishing scams and unethical cyber behavior these days, we’re all on Team Cybersecurity. But did you know that there are two sides to Team Cybersecurity? The red team takes an offensive approach toward cybersecurity by mimicking hacker behavior, whereas the blue team acts more defensively to combat threats. This article breaks down the characteristics of red team and blue team members so you can understand how your skills fit into a cybersecurity career and answer the question, are you red team or blue team?

Offensive Cybersecurity: What Makes Up the Red Team?

Personality Traits

Are you outgoing, spontaneous and like recognition for your accomplishments? You may be red team! As stated above, the red team tends to be on the offense. This means you’re looking to identify vulnerabilities, exploit them and present your findings to upper management.

Creativity is key with red team – you are constantly trying to think outside the box on how to prevent threats using a wide variety of tools. One example of this is ethical hacking – a key strategy of the red team – where you help to better protect a company’s systems by thinking like a malicious actor to find weaknesses in the systems.


A skill that identifies with red team is network scanning – a process for identifying active hosts on a network, either to attack them or to assess network vulnerabilities. As an ethical hacker, you would think like a bad guy by identifying the hosts on a network, but act like a good guy and attack threats.

Penetration testing is another skill vital to the red team, because it is valuable to test your own organization’s security systems after implementing a new security software or program to the mix.

Job Titles

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Does a red team career in cybersecurity sound appealing to you? Consider getting the new CompTIA PenTest+ certification. CompTIA PenTest+ has both hands-on, performance-based questions and multiple-choice questions to ensure candidates possess the skills, knowledge and ability to perform tasks on systems.

The CompTIA PenTest+ exam also includes management skills used to plan, scope and manage weaknesses, not just exploit them. This IT certification is unique because it requires a candidate to demonstrate the hands-on ability and knowledge to test devices in new environments such as the cloud and mobile, in addition to traditional desktops and servers.

Defensive Cybersecurity: What Makes Up the Blue Team?

Personality Traits

Are you more reserved, cautious and a rule follower? Well then, you could be blue team! You do everything by the book, based on what has been proven to work best. You are a planner in all aspects of life, and when it comes to cybersecurity, that’s no different. You implement strategies that follow industry standards, watch for threats that may challenge your systems and then prove that you have what it takes to protect the network.


When you’re on the blue team, you are familiar with and implement defensive tools known as detection systems. Blue team members need to be familiar with the following defensive tools:

  • Wireshark – lets you see what’s happening on your network at a microscopic level
  • Security information and event management (SIEM) tools – provide real-time analysis of security alerts generated by applications and network hardware

You can use these tools to defend your company’s network by detecting intrusions and stopping attacks, which are common solutions from the blue team.

Job Titles


CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) is an IT certification that applies behavioral analytics to networks and devices to prevent, detect and combat cybersecurity threats. CySA+ is the only intermediate high-stakes cybersecurity analyst certification with performance-based questions covering security analytics, intrusion detection and response. It’s also the most up-to-date security analyst certification that covers advanced persistent threats in a post-2014 cybersecurity environment.

Think you know what team you’re on? Make it official and check out our quiz, Are You Red Team or Blue Team?


  • Nkgomeleng France Mapokgole

    Saturday, September 29, 2018

    I like working in the Red team, that's genius!!!

  • Dan tighe

    Saturday, September 29, 2018

    Im not sure which i am. I am more reserved and cautious like blue; however, I am not really a rule follower. Any suggestions?

  • Monday, October 1, 2018

    Hi, Dan! That is a good question. Did you take the quiz? That may help you figure things out. If you have and you still aren't sure, you can try out different cybersecurity tasks and see which ones you enjoy the most. Good luck!

  • Tyrone Jackson

    Saturday, October 13, 2018

    This has me thinking which one I may be. I’m looking forward to taking the test. Thank you for the information. Tyrone Jackson

  • Leigh Musicof

    Friday, October 26, 2018

    I'm cautious, a rule follower, hate the lime light. I'm learning Pentesting to perform vulnerability assessments as part of a compliance assessment. I feel knowing how the red team operates is essential to being on the blue team.

  • Friday, October 26, 2018

    Hi, Leigh! You are so right that having both skill sets, or at least an understanding of both sides, can only improve your cybersecurity skills. Have you read our article on how the red team supports the blue team? I think it echoes what you are saying:

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