The way technology and more specifically computer operating systems are used today means that virtually our whole life could be accessible through a few keystrokes. While it makes certain tasks, like visiting a doctor’s office easier, it also means there is a level of risk to us with having my information out there in the world.
Some cybersecurity positions do require knowledge of coding. Most entry-level roles will not have coding as a requirement, but if you want to advance in your career in cybersecurity, you will need this skill for certain mid to high-level positions.
Cybersecurity protects our personal information, sensitive data, health information, personally identifiable information, and intellectual property. It does so through controls, applications, and different processes. Educating myself on what coding entails will help my understanding of why it might be necessary to learn as I climb the ladder of cybersecurity.
What Factors Influence the Need for Coding in Cybersecurity?
Not all cybersecurity jobs you apply for will require coding/programming as a skill. It all depends on how the company goes about securing information and data systems. Because cybersecurity requires different sets of skills, it will also depend on your specific role as to what skillset you will need to do your job.
Therefore, in order to know if you must have a knowledge of coding or programming to fulfill your role in cybersecurity, you will need to look at a few factors.
- Company’s Processes for Securing Data and Information
- Title of Role
- Level of Role (Entry, Mid, and High)
Delving into these topics will give you a greater understanding of when and why your role might require coding/programming as a skill.
Company Process for Cybersecurity
There are various ways in which a company can protect the data and information they store in their systems. Depending on what type of information they possess will likely dictate how extensive the cybersecurity will need to be in order to prevent any breaches of information.
Typical cybersecurity firms offer a range of services that are all critical in ensuring that data and information systems are protected from threats. These services include testing, analysis, creating, and consulting.
Where you fall in these services will determine if coding/programming is needed in order to fulfill your role. For example, you don’t need coding/programming if your role is to stay up-to-date on information security trends or consult on improvements that can be made to the security of a system with IT staff.
Title of Role
Due to the range of services needed in order to have a complete picture of cybersecurity and the various roles required for each service, there is the potential that your particular position may not require coding/programming as a skill. If you are looking to enter into a career in cybersecurity and you have no previous experience in coding/programming and no desire to learn, you should keep an eye out for what service and more specifically what position you are applying for.
There is a substantial amount of teams or positions that you can apply for that do not require coding/programming.
- Cybersecurity project management
- Incident response
- Security architecture
- Network defense
- Vulnerability and patch management
- Security Operations Center (SOC)
- Security operations
- Security audit
- Cyber threat intelligence
On the flip side, there are some teams or positions that you can apply for that may require coding/programming in order to fulfill the role, including:
- Cyber threat hunting
- Information security engineering
- Penetration testing
Coding can allow users in cybersecurity to manipulate the environment in order to keep track of potential threats and dangers, as well as help create a safer atmosphere by creating customized scripts that will carry out necessary functions.
Level of Role (Entry, Mid, High)
Fresh out of college, any positions that you apply for within your industry are likely going to be entry-level. This does not necessarily correlate to your skill set but has a lot more to do with your level of experience.
Entry-level positions are going to require less because there is the understanding that if you fulfill that role you will likely have to continue learning through training and therefore need time to adjust to the demands of the position. This level has low-risk requirements because part of learning is making mistakes and then learning to fix them.
The more experience you gain and the more you can move up the corporate ladder the more is going to be required of you. So, most entry-level jobs in cybersecurity are not going to require coding/programming. However, that may change as positions change and more is required of your role.
Why is Coding Needed in Cybersecurity?
Since there are so many roles that do not require coding/programming versus roles that do, it begs the question of why coding is even needed in cybersecurity? Well, the simple answer is hackers.
Hackers have an intimate knowledge of systems used and how to manipulate them to commit cybercrimes. Therefore, some roles would require you to stay ahead of these hackers. In order to do that you need to understand coding.
In cybersecurity coding, you would use programming to protect operating systems from malicious attacks intended to hack these systems and steal information. Cybersecurity coding creates the software the companies use to protect their data. As long as hackers continue to try and override protection software, cybersecurity coding will be needed for software engineers to create stronger safeguards.
There may not be as many roles that require coding/programming within cybersecurity, but the ones that do are just as critical, if not more than the ones that don’t. Having knowledge of coding/programming may not assist you now in your current role, but if you want to advance in your career it may be beneficial for you to learn.
It will also give you a broader scope of cybersecurity and how to protect your information on your personal devices. Not to mention, helping to make the world of data and information a little safer, so others can sleep soundly at night, knowing that their digital lives are being safeguarded.