Cybersecurity & Programming! Do they even relate?
Programming causes panic to many people at first sight of humongous lines of code even to perform a straightforward task such as printing “Hello, world!” on the screen. But the moment you start your career as a cybersecurity professional, you realize that it offers a wide range of specializations. What is mostly overlooked is the worst nightmare, but the best friend for a cyber pro can be programming!
Even though it puts some off, programming is a strong aspect of Cybersecurity. There is an indelible relation between them, as of course, everything that runs on a computer has a code that it executes to perform the desired action. Not all programming languages come under the jurisdiction of a single cybersecurity professional. Every position requires a different skillset and a separate approach towards mastery. So, it is a relief that you do not have to remember 3500 lines of assembly code to succeed as a Cloud Security Professional.
Is it important to learn programming languages?
Cybersecurity is a vast field, so there exists a significant number of cyber-attacks that are not limited to one platform. From Social Engineering to SQL Attacks, there is an expansive majority of diverse types of attacks that require different methods of incident control. Being a cyber pro, you must be able to recognize the causes and the symptoms and root cause of the problem that you are facing.
If programming is important, why does no one discuss it? Programming is not compulsory, but most Cybersecurity degrees teach at least one Object Oriented Programming (OOP) language. You do not have to understand much detail of each language, but knowing the core concepts of different languages helps you recognize many other languages. When learning a new language, understanding basic programming concepts allows you to focus only on the syntax. Plus, if you know programming languages, you would know what a piece of software is doing just by looking at the code and if it is malicious or not.
Which programming language should I learn?
There is no one programming language to focus on in your career in Cybersecurity, and frankly speaking, only one language will not solve every problem you are facing. If you want to excel as a cyber professional, then you need to have a Swiss Army Knife of programming languages you understand. Here are some programming languages that are going to be substantial:
1. Structured Query Language (SQL)
SQL is the preferred language when it comes to managing databases. SQL is widely used for managing and retrieving data. SQL divides most commands into two categories: Data Definition Language (DDL) and Data Manipulation Language (DML). DDL commands such as CREATE define the structure of the database, but DML commands such as SELECT use the data. It helps Cybersecurity professionals in making databases secure to avoid attacks such as SQL Injection. Thus, having SQL in your pocket is going to help you with your career in Cyber Security, and this language is not a hard one to grasp.
2. Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP)
PHP is a server-side programming language that works hand in hand with HTML to provide a perfect environment to a website. Web Developers use this language to link web pages with databases, and thus it makes the task of updating websites easier. This makes PHP powered websites more vulnerable to attacks by hackers. They can attempt to use Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks to shut down the websites and even delete all the data present on the website. So, being a cybersecurity expert, you need to know this language to understand how a PHP code works. This enables you to identify and resolve problems before they strike you and your organization.
Python is one of the most common programming languages used by cybersecurity experts. Because of its code readability and simple syntax, it is gaining popularity more than ever. This language is both dynamic and versatile so that you can perform the majority of the tasks required in Cybersecurity. It can create malware detection systems, vulnerability analysis, and send TCP-Packets to other systems without any reliance on third-party software. This language will give you the edge in your cybersecurity career. Many other cybersecurity professionals prefer Python, and therefore many of the samples you find on the web will be written in the language.
I must be joking, right! No. Although being the lowest low-level programming language out there, it is human-readable. Assembly language allows you humongous access to the smallest parts of your computer hardware. Thus, if you know this language, you can manipulate the bits and bytes of a computer. But there is a slight downside that it is not a platform-neutral language. This means that every computer has its own Assembler Language. But if you know Assembly language, you are like the guru of cyber-security experts.
6. C and C++
These programming languages are the basis of most systems, and the Operating Systems are based on them. These languages are both powerful and versatile and give fantastic control over the computer. Using these languages, you can manipulate, detect, and fix all kinds of application-level vulnerabilities. But these languages are a bit hard to grasp and are infamously difficult. But once you understand the concepts of them, they make you a better cyber professional.
Where to start?
If you are up to the task, then you should get started. There are a wide range of courses available online. So, what are you waiting for then? Sign Up and get access to a fantastic catalog of great courses taught by stupendous instructors and get ready to kick-start your career as a cybersecurity professional.