This course will provide background and information related to programming in assembly. Assembly is the lowest level programming language which is useful in reverse engineering and malware analysis.
This course requires a background in basic programming concepts. Students should have access to a Linux system or setup a Linux virtual machine.
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
- Write Assembly Programs (x86, ARM)
- Read Assembly Programs
- Understand Different Data Representations (Binary Hex, 2's Complement)
- Understand how Functions, Stack and Data Storage Work
Programmers who understand and can code with assembly programming have the ability to manipulate a computer’s hardware directly, and can do so with great speed compared to that of high-level languages such as Java or Python.
Understanding assembly programming, also known as ASM, enables programmers to understand the machine code specific to the machine they’re working on. While high-level languages, such as Python and Java, have gained popularity in recent years among the programming community, assembly language programs are more efficient and operate at a quicker pace.
What is assembly language?
Assembly language is a low-level programming language for a computer or programming device. A low-level programming language means the instructions are basic and the computer can easily recognize what it is being told to do. Using assembler, assembly language can be converted into machine language, which is the lowest language.
Why should programmers learn assembly language programming?
ASM allows programmers to write a language that is easier for people to read than machine language, which is usually a series of numbers. Assembly language also helps a programmer manipulate the computer with maximum control.
Assembly language helps optimize the speed of the computer and creates a program that runs quicker than high-level language programs can. Learning assembly programming enables programmers to tell the computer not to just do something, but how to execute the command.
Assembly language can also be useful in reverse engineering and malware analysis. While assembly language can’t be the only language a programmer knows, it is helpful while debugging.
Is it still relevant to learn assembly language today?
In 2020, it is not as common for an entire application to be written in assembly. But understanding and writing some of an application in assembly enables the programmer to give additional functionality. Instead of just telling the computer to do something, assembly allows programmers to tell them how to do it with specific instructions.
Many programmers prefer high-level languages because they are more portable in a world where cloud-based applications are becoming more and more prevalent. But there are still many benefits to understanding assembly for more traditional programs and more complex applications.
How do you start assembly language programming?
Students can learn assembly language by taking an online course. Cybrary’s online course allows them to learn at their own pace, making it convenient and easy to add assembly language as a skill in one’s repertoire. To start Cybrary’s Introduction to Assembly Programming course, students need a background in basic programming concepts. Students should also have access to a Linux system.
Students can complete Cybrary’s online assembly training at their own pace, either taking all the modules consecutively to quickly earn the certification or over the course of a few weeks when they have spare time. At the end of the course, students will be able to write and read assembly programs, understand different data representations, such as Binary, hex, and 2’s compliment. Students will also be able to understand Functions, Stack and Data Storage.
Students could also learn assembly languaging through books or online blogs, but taking an online course like Cybrary provides interactive modules to help master the language.
Programmers who receive an assembly certification can increase their ability to address critical computer performance issues, as well as, give the processor specific instructions.
How do programmers use assembly language?
Programmers use assembly language when they are trying to directly manipulate computer hardware. Assembly allows programmers to create better algorithms than they can create exclusively using C, which is a high-level language. But the best reason and motivation for using assembly remains speed.
Assembly language can be used in the system’s boot code, general blocks of data, and in reverse engineering.
Is assembly programming hard?
Assembly programming is seen as “bare” and “transparent." There are only a small number of operations, which makes it easier for a programmer to debug it and makes for easier algorithm analysis. While assembly programming is specific to each processor, generally once a student has learned assembly they can transfer this knowledge from one CPU to another.
Commands used in assembly are simple, such as MOV (move), ADD (add), and SUB (subtract). When taking an online assembly programming course, students will learn these commands and how to execute them.
Complete this entire course to earn a Assembly Certificate of Completion
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