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Top Programming Languages For Cybersecurity

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By: Shimon Brathwaite
April 20, 2021

Knowing how to program is extremely useful for anyone working in Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity professionals are expected to create computer scripts to automate administration or write scripts to help perform actions that are too difficult to do manually. This is especially true while performing a penetration test, where you are routinely expected to create scripts to do your job effectively. Since there are several different programming languages, it can be difficult to know where to start. If interested in pursuing a Cybersecurity career or moving into a more senior position, here are the top programming languages you should learn:

Python

This is the most popular programming language in security by far. It is also very beginner-friendly because it is easy to understand its syntax. Python has been voted one of the fastest-growing programming languages on Stack Overflow and extremely useful for automation. If new to programming and looking to get into Cybersecurity, Python is 100% THE first programming language you should learn. It is easy to learn, it is in demand, and it has the functionality to do just about everything you want to do within the security space. It is also very popular in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, so if you decide between those different fields, learning Python will be relevant no matter what you choose to do.

Javascript

Javascript is the programming language of the modern-day Internet. It is commonly used for animation and Front-End Web Development. If interested in doing security work centered around websites or web applications, learning Javascript could be extremely valuable for you. It will also provide foundational knowledge you need to become a Front-End Web Developer if that is something that you are interested in. Javascript by itself has some utility, but it is most effective when paired with two other programming languages heavily used in web development (read below).

HTML & CSS

HTML and CSS are the backbones of the modern Internet and are used to create every website you see. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is responsible for structuring the text of a website, while CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) adds style and color to a webpage. If you are interested in working with websites, it is good to have a good understanding of HTML & CSS.

PHP

This language has been around for some time and has had a big impact on the Internet. WordPress, for example, is designed in PHP, and WordPress supports about 40% of websites globally. Having a solid understanding of PHP will allow you to work with a lot of the currently written software, especially when it comes to websites and website plugins.

C/C++

The C programming language is very powerful because it allows you to control your computer scripts. It is extremely useful for creating buffer overflow attacks, which exploits some programs that do not properly allocate their memory. C is not a beginner-friendly language, and its syntax can be very difficult for beginners. Still, if you can learn this language, it can be useful for creating exploits within security.

Conclusion

Having the ability to program is a very valuable skill set for cybersecurity professionals. This skill will make you and your team more efficient by automating mundane tasks, saving you time, and saving your company money. If you are interested in ethical hacking, programming will allow you to create custom scripts that will make you a more effective computer hacker. While programming may not be a requirement at entry-level positions, most intermediate and senior-level job positions will require programming experience.

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