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Most Popular Programming Languages for Cyber Security

Susan Sanchez - March 05, 2022


In our modern age of technology, the cyber security field is becoming more and more popular. Almost every company now looks for cyber security professionals to help defend their virtual systems from malicious programs and people. If you’re interested in this career path, it’s in your best interest to know the best programming languages for cyber security.

Cyber security professionals use various security tools, such as programming languages, to accomplish a range of tasks. This article covers everything you need to know about the most popular programming languages for cyber security.

What Is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is a field dedicated to protecting computers, networks, systems, and programs from malicious code and programs. They’re responsible for identifying and fortifying security vulnerabilities in digital products, whether operating systems, websites, or applications. A cyber security expert commonly uses third-party tools, programming skills, and knowledge of hacking techniques to achieve their goals.

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What Are Programming Languages?

Programming languages are essentially languages used to communicate with and give instructions to a computer or piece of software. They assist with anything, including network programming, backend development, and application security. Additionally, because of the many reasons cyber experts use these languages, many modern languages are also general-purpose.

What Programming Languages Are Used in Cyber Security?

In cyber security, experts make use of a wide range of languages. For example, a general-purpose language like Python performs penetration testing and malware analysis tasks. Cyber security experts must have programming knowledge to create robust solutions for security vulnerabilities and carry out various cyber security tasks.

Best Programming Languages to Learn for Cyber Security

  • Python
  • SQL
  • C and C++
  • JavaScript
  • PHP

Which Programming Language Is Best for Cyber Security?

Python

Python is a general-purpose, server-side scripting language and one of the most popular languages today. Many experts in the digital world turn to it because of its readability, ease of use, and versatility. From script kiddies to security analysts, people use Python for a wide range of tasks.

This high-level language is also one of the best languages for cyber security professionals. It helps cyber security experts automate tasks and analyze cyber threats. It’s also easy to learn. Hackers also favor Python, so learning the language will also prove helpful for a security analyst to analyze the movements of attackers.

SQL

SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a programming language primarily used for communicating with relational databases. It is used by large enterprises worldwide making it a popular language for maintaining, retrieving, and manipulating data.

SQL is an essential programming language in the cyber security field. It’s a powerful language, and hackers can run an SQL injection attack on any database running on SQL. Cyber security experts can ensure they have a defense against threats, like SQL injection attacks, by learning SQL.

C and C++

C and C++ are the best low-level languages in the technology field. These languages enable users to have direct access to various critical components in computers. These components include RAM and system processes. These components are also popular targets for hackers, making C and C++ essential to a cyber security career.

Penetration testers and security analysts use C and C++ to find security issues like reverse engineering, exposing vulnerabilities, and finding programming errors. Through these two languages, experts in the cyber security space can effectively cover all holes in the system that hackers can attack through.

JavaScript

JavaScript is a high-level programming language and the most used worldwide. It can be used by a front-end developer for a website’s user-facing interface while also being used for backend development through NodeJS. JavaScript is the prime coding language of the Internet world.

Since every corner of the Internet uses this general-purpose programming language, the web is a prime target for hackers. Common JavaScript attacks include capturing cookies, exploiting event handlers, and cross-site scripting. A broad understanding of JavaScript allows cyber security experts to defend against and prevent these various attacks.

PHP

PHP is a server-side programming language and one of the most popular programming languages for web development, alongside JavaScript. While JavaScript is used for both front end and backend web development, PHP is still the preferred language for the backend. Most top web domains use PHP because of this.

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PHP is often a popular target for attacks, such as DDoS attacks. Using older PHP versions, which is not an uncommon mistake, can also lead to potential vulnerabilities in PHP code. If cyber security experts are well versed in this language, they can identify all vulnerabilities, prevent attacks, and defend the server-side of many websites.

Which Programming Language Should I Learn First?

Python is one of the best programming languages for cyber security, whether you are a Python beginner or expert. It’s easy to read, understand, and implement. Despite its ease of use, it’s incredibly versatile and usable for many tasks, such as port scanning and network scanning.

If this programming language is part of your cyber security resume, it will make you an attractive candidate for cyber security roles. Besides that, it’s also a beneficial way to begin learning coding skills. It keeps the journey enjoyable while acquiring a valuable skill.

Is It Possible to Choose the ‘Wrong’ Programming Language?

All programming languages are usable, so there aren’t really wrong programming languages. In addition, having even a basic understanding of a programming language is quite valuable to your cyber security career, regardless of which language you choose.

How to Learn Cyber Security?

Learning and acquiring cyber security as a skill can be challenging. Whether you choose to self-study or enroll in the best programming languages for cyber security, you will have to study many concepts and practice many skills. Below, we’ve listed the general thought process and a step-by-step guide for learning cyber security.

Choose a Specialization

There is a wide range of specializations that you can go into in the cyber security field. There can be a lot of information in various cyber security fields. If you’re going to learn it in-depth, you’ll need to choose at least one specialization to study.

Get Educated

The education you choose can vary from a college degree to a cyber security bootcamp . Whichever one you choose, your formal education will help you become an ethical hacker and a viable candidate for cyber security jobs.

Practice Your Skills

Many online sites or projects can help you hone your cyber security skills. You can find forums that host competitions and facilitate environments for you to practice your skills. There are various cyber security projects that will strengthen your abilities and can be added to your portfolio.

Network with Others

Learning to leverage your network is advisable in any field. If you’re trying to enter the cyber security world, you should brush up on your soft skills and get to know some industry professionals. These experts can help you in your cyber security learning process and career.

How to Learn Cyber Security: Top Resources

  • Google Gruyere . Google Gruyere is a codelab created by Google for aspiring cyber security experts. In this codelab are numerous challenges that will help you gain experience. These include finding, fixing, and avoiding various vulnerabilities in websites.
  • VulnHub . VulnHub is a website that provides materials for anyone to gain hands-on experience in cyber security. On the website are numerous virtual machines created by various users. They contain cyber security challenges for you to solve.
  • Hacksplaining . Hacksplaining is a website that provides hackable web applications, lessons, code samples, and more, all in an intuitive layout. It is a great place to start learning various basic terms and common concepts in cyber security.
  • Cyber Aces . Cyber Aces is a free online course on cyber security provided by SANS. This course consists of videos and tutorials that are all accessible at any time. This invaluable resource is for those who wish to learn at their own pace.
  • Simply Cyber . Simply Cyber is one of the best resource guides out there for self-learning cyber security. It’s a compilation of countless free resources, guides, books, and reference tools.

Ready to Break into Tech?

Millions of Internet users and programs fall victim to malicious attacks on the Internet. So, it makes sense that cyber security is now one of the most popular career paths. If you want to pursue a cyber security career, now is the time to jump into this profitable and engaging industry.

The cyber security world is full of many possible roles and specializations, so there will always be something for you. Whether you like working with the best programming languages or pre-made security systems, a cyber security career is waiting for you. The tech industry is competitive and intelligent, which is perfect for a cyber security enthusiast like you.

Best Programming Languages for Cyber Security FAQ

Can I learn only Python for cyber security?

Yes, you can have a lucrative career in cyber security with only Python skills. However, this industry is highly competitive, requiring the highest of skilled professionals. Because of this, it’s helpful to learn more than one language to stay relevant in your field.

Is cyber security harder than software development?

Cyber security and software development are very different, making them difficult to compare. However, cyber security and software development slightly overlap in terms of tasks. Overall, they’re both complex jobs that require highly-refined skills.

Is Java good for cyber security?

Java is not essential for cyber security, but programming knowledge gives you a competitive edge in the workplace. You can use it to help you analyze relevant code.

What language do hackers use?

Hackers use several programming languages, just like cyber security experts. Python, JavaScript, C, and C++ are some of the most common languages used. Cyber security experts learn these languages to counter attacks.

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Susan Sanchez

About the author: Susan is an experienced content writer who has been contributing to the field for nearly 10 years. During her writing career, she has been published on many different websites, including SelfGrowth.com and BuzzFeed. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the Lyceum University of the Philippines as well as extra education in journalism and human resources.

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