Most Important Classes in a Cybersecurity Degree- Some classes are more important than others in every study curriculum. That isn’t to imply that none of them are significant. One of the fascinating aspects of earning a degree is that the further you progress, the more you realise how much everything you’ve learned is interconnected.
The whole curriculum varies depending on the institution or college you attend—some schools require ethics, cyber policy, operating systems, and intensive networking classes. However, no matter where you go, you’ll have to take a few courses.
These are the foundation courses that you’ll most likely be building on throughout your career.
What are the most significant cybersecurity classes? Linux, Python, networking and network protection, ethics, and communication are virtually always covered in the most crucial classes in any cybersecurity curriculum. Students interested in college cybersecurity programmes should make sure that their chosen programme includes curriculum in all or most of these areas.
Let’s take a look at the five most important classes for your future profession.
Most Important Course #1: Linux
At the very least, every cybersecurity programme should require students to take a Linux beginning course. If it doesn’t, there’s something strange going on with your programme. Linux is just too potent a weapon for cyber security professionals to ignore (we cover how hard it is to learn Linux in our article here.)
If you know how to use Linux, for example, you can use Kali, a Linux distro created exclusively for cyber experts (we have an article on the 7 things you need to know about Kali here). For pen testers and security analysts, Kali offers a number of useful applications, including:
- Cisco Global Exploiter is a tool that lets you try to get into Cisco-based networks (with the caveat that you are legally attempting to hack the system)
- Apart from the edgy moniker, John the Ripper is a fairly cool password hacking tool.
- Burp suite — checks for security flaws in web-based applications.
- Metasploit is a valuable framework for penetration testers and security analysts that allows them to customise their own attacks.
While many of the tools provided by Kali can be used on other operating systems, the benefit of using Kali Linux (aside from the fact that it runs Linux and thus is less vulnerable to cyber attacks than a more popular OS like Windows) is that all of these security tools are already installed and ready to use.
Linux “is the operating system used on most network devices and security appliances, including routers, firewalls, next-generation firewall (NGFW) devices, and unified threat management (UTM) gateways,” according to comptia.org’s article “5 Linux Skills You Must Master to Be a Cybersecurity Professional.”
To summarise, if you’re going to work in cybersecurity, you’ll need more than a basic understanding of how to use a Linux terminal.
Most Important Course #1: Python
Think again if you believed that switching to cybersecurity instead of computer science would keep you out of the great world of programming. (However, programming is incredible, and you have no right to complain.)
Python is an excellent place to start for a student who has never programmed or scripted before. Python is one of the few scripting languages with a user-friendly syntax, which means that instead of cryptic and foreign terms and formatting rules, you’re as close as you’ll ever get to writing in actual English.
The first programme you’ll be taught in a programming or scripting language is usually a simple output programme called “Hello World.” “Hello World” is a simple programme that simply displays the text “Hello World.”
This is the “Hello World” programme in Python:
Run the programme and you’ll get:
Look up that programme in any other language to discover how easy Python is to use.
However, you aren’t learning Python solely for its ease of use. Python is a critical component of professional cyber usage. Python is a cross-platform language, which means that any cyber programmes written in it can operate on any operating system, including Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Port scanning, packet sniffing, forensics, and other cyber-related domains can all benefit from Python. It’s swiftly becoming one of the most in-demand scripting languages for cyber professionals due to its cross-platform recognition and ability to construct sophisticated cyber solutions.
Most Important Course #1: Networking
You must understand computer networking if you are serious about cybersecurity. Why? Because the majority of cyber attacks you’ll face will take place across a network system.
Malware is downloaded from the internet, which is only accessible via a functioning network with an ISP. Denial of Service attacks are only conceivable if a network is reachable and not designed to handle a large amount of traffic. And hackers can only hack into a system directly if it is connected to the internet.
Although not having any internet access is the best cyber defence, it isn’t often a viable answer for obvious reasons. You must have constant internet access, especially for cloud-based networks. As a result, in order to safeguard networks, cyber specialists must first comprehend them.
A network is, without a doubt, an organization’s greatest cyber vulnerability. You must first comprehend a vulnerability before you can guard it. You can’t change something if you don’t understand how it works. If you don’t want to be a network administrator, the networking class you take may seem pointless at first, but trust me when I say you’ll quickly realise how useful it was.
Most Important Course #1: Network Defense
Okay, you’re probably thinking this has already been addressed in networking. It wasn’t the case. Just because you know how a network works doesn’t imply you’re ready for the ever-changing ways in which your network might be attacked.
You must be able to spot unusual network traffic patterns and know how to prevent consumers from visiting dangerous websites or installing malicious software. You must also know what to do in the event of a network-based cyber attack.
A cyber-threats lesson covers a wide range of cyber-threats. Although it’s impossible for a single class to cover all types of cyber attacks, especially since threats are constantly evolving and what’s the most recent type today will almost certainly be replaced by something new and improved tomorrow, network defence classes provide a limited overview that will at the very least prepare you for what’s to come.
The most comprehensive defensive classes don’t merely address network-based attacks. They also take a look at social engineering scams. You should be aware of the attacks that employees in an organisation are exposed to, such as tailgating and impersonation, in addition to phishing, vhishing, and whaling.
You can effectively secure an organisation by teaching non-cyber staff on what to look out for if you are aware of these types of attacks.
Most Important Course #1: Ethics
There is a great deal of responsibility that comes with cyber protection. As a cyber specialist, you have the capacity to not only defend but also attack susceptible systems.
It’s possible that what others view as a cyber assault was simply a careless error on your part. Let’s say you’re in a network class and you decide to investigate a wireless access point. Perhaps you notice a device connected to the access point that hasn’t been secured. You may be intrigued, but if you decide to see how far you can go in gaining access to their gadget, you are breaching the law.
It’s critical to understand your limitations. If you want to do pen testing, you’ll need written permission from your boss to try to break into their system. You’ll need to know what you’re permitted to do with that written permission, such as where you can go. You could be in a lot of trouble if you do something that hasn’t been agreed upon.
To put it another way, you have all of the abilities of a professional hacker, but you need to know when and when to employ them. You’ll be alright if you respect other people’s property and make sure your function as a cyber expert is clear.
Other Important Classes – Written or Verbal Communications
Depending on where you study, your curriculum will be different. A communications class is another option that is frequently seen as as vital to the options listed above, but it is not necessarily needed. While not a technical course, communications in cybersecurity is particularly important since cybersecurity firms place a high emphasis on the ability to communicate effectively. Consider it a plus if your programme involves one or more communications classes.
Other Important Classes – Digital Forensics
Forensics is a slightly different subject than traditional cybersecurity professions like cybersecurity analyst, but it’s an exciting field with some pretty cool and powerful methods for capturing and verifying data veracity. In our law enforcement community, digital forensics is extremely important, especially when it comes to computer crimes.
Many colleges offer a forensics degree programme, but even if you only take one introductory forensics course, it will help you comprehend the other aspects of cybersecurity.
Whatever classes you enrol in, they will all be beneficial to your future cyber profession. The lessons listed above are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed as a cyber professional.