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Most Popular Programming Languages for Ethical Hacking

Gloriane Mangindin - November 05, 2022

An ethical hacker is a type of cyber security expert that protects people’s lives and fights cyber criminals commonly known as black-hat hackers. With the increasing rate of data breaches and threats, the need for ethical hackers also rises. In this article, you’ll learn how to jump-start your ethical hacking career with the best programming languages for ethical hacking.

Cyber attacks continue to evolve as malicious hackers always find ways to access business systems and steal information for personal gain. Ethical hackers play a crucial role in protecting the business’ assets. Read on for a list of the best programming languages to learn for ethical hacking.

What Is Ethical Hacking?

Ethical hacking, or white-hat hacking, is authorized access to computer systems that aims to test security flaws. A white-hat hacker is a professional hacker that penetrates the system and creates robust solutions against malicious attacks done by criminal hackers.

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What Are Programming Languages?

Programming languages are used to build software tools and applications such as mobile games, web applications, and game applications. These languages allow programmers and developers to write a set of rules or instructions to perform specific tasks. In hacking, programming languages are used to build hacking tools and develop security procedures.

What Programming Languages Do Ethical Hackers Use?

Ethical hackers use high-level and low-level programming languages. They create programs for hacking web applications and networks to test security vulnerabilities. Popular hacking tools are created using efficient programming languages as well. Ethical hackers can increase the security systems with the help of programming.

Best Programming Languages to Learn for Ethical Hacking

  • Python
  • C Programming
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • Java

Which Programming Language Is Best for Ethical Hacking?


Python is a popular, flexible, open-source scripting language that also supports object oriented programming. Python is also used to create complex programs such as desktop applications, web applications, automation software, and data analytics programs. According to Statista, Python is the most-wanted programming language among developers in 2021.

Python is one of the most popular languages for ethical hackers, and it includes plenty of hacking libraries such as Cryptography, IMPACT, RawSocketPy, and Scapy. Python can be used in powerful exploits and creating hacking scripts. Ethical hackers can get the job done quickly since Python automates structured processes to avoid repetitive tasks.

C Programming

C is a general-purpose programming language used in game development, software application development, object oriented programming , operating systems development, IoT, and more. C  language is supported by all machines and platforms, which means the assembly code will not need to be modified to run on a different platform.

C supports low-level programming, so it can be used to access low-level hardware components and other system resources. It is also helpful in programming scripts and writing exploits. The object oriented feature of C enables users to create complex hacking programs.


JavaScript is a popular programming language for web development. It is also an interpreted language, so it doesn’t need a compiler to run the code. JavaScript is also a lightweight language that uses simple syntax and can be easily implemented. JavaScript was the most-used programming language among developers in 2021.

JavaScript enables hacking experts to trace potential threats and vulnerabilities in web applications. This easy-to-read language allows ethical hackers to secure the client side of the web program. A deeper understanding of JavaScript programming will help users learn and easily discover hacking attacks like Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), HTMLi, and XML external entity (XEE).


PHP is a server-side scripting language for dynamic websites. It is also portable and can run on different platforms. PHP is widely used since it is faster and easier to manipulate than other scripting languages. It is also open-source, which means users can freely download and use this language.

This is also an essential programming language for hacking web applications. Adept knowledge of PHP can help users learn web hacking and create solutions against potential attacks. PHP is an effective server-side programming language that allows experts to eliminate security vulnerabilities and protect web programs from cyber attacks.


Java is also server-side language used in web-based applications, mobile app development, game development, and data science. It is also a high-level programming language that features object oriented programming and data processing. It supports both compiler and interpreter as it has a Java compiler and a Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

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Java lets ethical hackers develop modern hacking programs. It is a dynamic programming language that can be used to develop malicious code as well. Its superior flexibility, security, and reliability are several reasons why hackers use Java.

Which Programming Language Should I Learn First?

Python is the base language to learn first when taking the initial step toward ethical hacking. It’s considered the de facto language in ethical hacking. Python is also the finest programming language and provides lots of powerful and useful libraries for hacking.

For beginners, Python is the best option to start programming because it is easier to use compared to other languages. It is also open-source, which means it can be freely downloaded for use anytime and anywhere.

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

Yes, even though the perfect programming language can be used in ethical hacking, users should be careful to choose the best ones because each has limitations. Remember that ethical hackers are battling with skilled hackers in the field, so choosing the right language is critical to winning against malicious attacks.

How to Learn Ethical Hacking

The following section contains a list of ways to learn ethical hacking. These can help the transition into a successful hacker and allow users to gain real-world experience in the field.

Get a Proper Education

The typical educational requirement for an ethical hacker is a bachelor’s degree in information security , computer science, or a related field. These areas of study will teach the fundamentals of programming languages used in ethical hacking, as well as the basics of operating systems, networking, and computer hardware. A master’s degree will provide deeper knowledge.

Enhance Your Skills in Operating Systems And Hardware

Learning how operating systems (OS) work and interact with hardware components will enable users to create security against malicious programs. Knowledge of Linux OS is helpful, as well, since most of the hacking tools work in Linux. Many free resources such as online communities and video tutorials teach a low-level programming language for hardware and operating systems.

Enroll at a Coding Bootcamp

Coding bootcamps are one of the best ways to learn modern programming languages for ethical hacking. They offer hands-on training with up-to-date software tools that offer practical experience in ethical hacking. Those interested can enroll at top coding bootcamps for ethical hacking or choose a bootcamp for a specific coding language used such as Python.

Join Ethical Hacking Training

Find a credible institution that offers certification for ethical hackers. These certifications provide experience with common hacking programs and techniques. Choose a certification that doesn’t require work experience, such as GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN), Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP), or the CompTIA PenTest+.

How to Learn Ethical Hacking: Top Resources

  • Hak5 . This is a YouTube Channel that teaches tech and programming skills for hacking. It is an excellent resource that covers hacking techniques, types of cyber attacks, Linux, penetration testing, and other tech topics about hacking.
  • Edabit . Edabit is a website that offers programming tutorials and challenges including languages used in ethical hacking such as Python and JavaScript. It permits actual programming and offers in-depth knowledge of programming languages.
  • Linux Journey . This website enables users to learn the Linux operating system, an essential tool in ethical hacking. Linux Journey provides a detailed discussion about Linux as well as exercises and quizzes to test knowledge along the way.
  • HackerOne . This hacking community is a platform where fellow hackers can connect and collaborate worldwide. Users can find quick hacking tips and useful hacking information from this community. It’s also a great way to find an ethical hacking career since there are potential clients and companies in this hacker community as well.
  • HackerSploit . This is another YouTube channel that covers helpful video tutorials on hacking. The channel also teaches web app pen testing, Windows exploitations, Raspberry Pi pen testing, and other exciting videos for ethical hacking purposes.

Ready to Break into Tech?

Now that you’ve learned the best programming languages to become a successful ethical hacker, you can start your cyber security career and become a professional ethical hacker. For beginners in this industry, there are plenty of resources to help you break into a career in ethical hacking. Be a part of the team that works on challenging, yet exciting roles.

Best Programming Languages for Ethical Hacking FAQ

What are the career opportunities for ethical hackers?

An ethical hacking career opens lots of opportunities that are beneficial for professional development. Ethical hackers can be professional penetration testers, security analysts, security consultants, and security architects.

Are ethical hackers in demand?

Yes, the information security industry, which includes ethical hacking, is in-demand. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this industry is expected to increase by 33 percent between 2020 and 2030. More than 16,000 job openings are expected every year during that decade for information security analysts.

How much does an ethical hacker make?

According to PayScale, the average ethical hacker’s annual salary is $80,000 , or $25 an hour. Entry-level ethical hackers earn an average wage of $67,147. Those with one to four years of work experience can earn an average salary of $80,901, and those with five to nine years of experience earn an average annual wage of $110,000.

What other skills are needed to be a successful ethical hacker?

To build efficient hacking programs and be a successful ethical hacker, you must have excellent skills in networking and computer systems. You also must possess basic knowledge of machine hardware and adept skills in common programming language for hackers.

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Gloriane Mangindin

About the author: Gloriane is a content writer who has previously worked as a systems analyst, college instructor, and SHS Teacher. Her professional interests include software engineering, cyber security, technical writing, and embedded systems. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering as well as Computer Hardware Servicing NC II and Technical Drafting NC II qualifications.

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