If you want to be a cyber security professional, then you need to know how to program. Many of the attacks that are launched against systems involve malicious code, so being able to read and code in cyber security programming languages will help you defend your system against these attacks.
Now, while the usual route of picking up language basics and figuring out the rest later sounds appealing, it won’t work as well as a targeted approach for cyber security.
Several programming languages for cyber security are commonly used, including Java, Python, C++, Assembly, Ruby, and Perl. While these each have their strengths and weaknesses, we recommend starting with Java or Python as your first coding language for cyber security. These are both widely used, versatile, and easy to learn, making them ideal starting points for anyone looking to learn the best programming languages for cyber security.
Best Cyber Security Programming Languages
Java is a powerful programming language that’s used for mobile apps, web development, and cyber security to name a few. As an object-oriented language, Java makes it easy to incorporate complex data structures in your code. Java also offers an extensive range of libraries and frameworks that can speed up your development.
With the ability to run on multiple platforms, alongside support for cyber security tools and cyber attack prevention, Java is an excellent choice for cyber security professionals. And being so popular, aspiring Java developers can enjoy access to various online resources and tutorials to learn the language quickly and effectively. If you want to work for an organization that focuses on cyber security, Java is definitely a strong choice.
One of the main benefits of choosing Java for cybersecurity programming is the ability to work with machines securely and efficiently. These robust security features allow you to quickly generate cryptographically secure keys and safely transmit data over networks.
Java’s cross-platform support also allows you to write code just once, and then speedily deploy it on various devices and operating systems.
Java's simple syntax also makes it easy to read, understand, and debug, which is particularly useful when dealing with complex cyber attacks.
Python is another popular and versatile coding language for cyber security that’s widely used by professionals. Known for its simplicity and readability, Python is ideal for beginners who are just starting to code.
Python also has an extensive library of modules that you can use to quickly build and customize applications.
Python is a good choice for cyber security professionals because it allows you to perform brute-force attacks quickly and accurately.
It is also easy to write automated scripts for cybersecurity including penetration testing, web crawling, and network monitoring.
Other useful features include securely working with binary data, protecting user website privacy via encryption, and parsing large amounts of data with minimal effort.
With these capabilities at your disposal, it's no wonder that more and more cyber security professionals are turning to Python for their coding needs.
If you’re looking for the easiest way to get started with cyber security programming, we highly recommend learning Python. Whether you're interested in penetration testing, cyber attack scripts, or automated security tasks, Python offers the tools and capabilities you need to get the job done.
C++ is usually part of most computer science programs due to its ability to work with low and high-level programming concepts. It also offers an extensive library of pre-built functions that allow you to easily manipulate binary data and perform complex mathematical operations on large datasets.
When it comes to cybersecurity languages, C++ is a solid choice as it provides intricate data encryption support that can secure sensitive information from cyber-attacks and threats.
C++ also offers a range of cyber security libraries like Libsodium, Libmcrypt, and Libtomcrypt that you can combine with its rich support for cyber forensics, cloud storage, cyber defense, and cyber intelligence.
Whether you want to develop cyber defense tools or conduct sophisticated cyber attacks against other systems, this powerful language can give you the capabilities you need to succeed in cyber security. So if you're serious about pursuing a career as a cyber security professional, be sure to learn C++ at some point in your studies.
As one of the more advanced cyber security programming languages, Assembly is often overlooked by beginners. But, it is an important language to learn if you want to truly understand the inner workings of cyber attacks or if you want to develop effective cyber defense tools.
With the ability to fully control each step in code execution and manipulate machine instructions, Assembly provides you with the power and flexibility you need to create advanced cyber defenses or conduct complex cyber attacks. And, with Assembly programs being designed for particular computer architectures, you can be sure that your cyber security code will run flawlessly on those systems.
Some might say, that if Java is the language of cyber security, then Assembly is the language of cyber defense. And if you want to be a cyber security professional that works at the highest level, Assembly is a strong choice for success in this rapidly-growing field.
While it’s true that languages like Java or Python are more popular for cyber security, many professionals turn to Ruby for its unique combination of speed and flexibility.
Whether you’re developing cyber security applications or conducting intricate cyber attacks against your opponents, Ruby allows you to quickly iterate over code due to its inherent flexibility. And, with an extensive library of pre-built functions alongside support for low and high-level programming concepts, Ruby makes it easy to develop complex cybersecurity tools or automate routine tasks.
In terms of specific use cases, Ruby tends to be used for cyber intelligence, cyber forensics, cyber defense, and cloud storage.
Ruby is also an excellent choice for beginners who may be asking themselves, what programming language should I learn for cyber security? This is because it provides a gentle introduction to cyber security programming without sacrificing power or flexibility.
As one of the lesser-known cybersecurity languages, Perl is often overlooked in favor of popular options like Java and Python. However, Perl provides several essential features that make it a valuable tool for cyber professionals. Perl also makes it easy to quickly become a skilled cyber programmer without having to learn a more complex cyber language.
With a unique blend of flexibility and ease of use, Perl allows you to quickly develop cyber defense tools and applications, conduct complex cyber attacks, or modify existing cyber security code. Other benefits include pre-built functions for common tasks, alongside supports for coding paradigms like object-oriented programming (OOP) and procedural programming (P).
Why Is It Important to Learn Programming for Cyber Security?
Have you ever seen those movies, you know, the ones where after typing in a few commands (from memory) and saying “I’m in!”, a cool-looking coder is able to hack into a super-sophisticated network?
Well, real life doesn't quite work like that, and the truth is that learning cyber security programming is critical for anyone involved in cyber defense.
So, whether you’re a seasoned cyber professional looking to bolster your digital defenses, or an aspiring cyber attacker seeking to develop powerful cyber-attacks, learning how to program is essential.
At their core, cyber security programming languages are designed to give cyber professionals the tools and flexibility they need to develop advanced cyber defenses, or conduct intricate cyber attacks. So if you’re looking to create cyber security applications, automate routine tasks, or just stay on top of your cyber game, mastering at least one cybersecurity coding language is essential.
If you’re still asking yourself, why is it so important to learn programming for cyber security? Well, here’s a few (of the many) important reasons:
- Superior flexibility and power: Knowing a programming language helps you to stay ahead of the curve, whether you’re automating routine cyber tasks or creating complex cyber attack strategies
- Broad applicability: Given the increasing importance of cyber security across all industries, cyber professionals who can code are highly sought after. So, learning a cyber security coding language allows you to apply expertise across multiple sectors and industries
- Cutting-edge insights into cyber-attacks and defenses: Learning at least one cyber security programming language can give you deeper insights into the inner workings of cyber attacks and defenses, which is essential to stay ahead of cyber threats
- A chance to build your cyber career: Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to level up your cyber career, learning how to code will help you. Being a cyber security programming expert can bring several benefits, from new job opportunities to increased earning potential
Which Cybersecurity Coding Language Is Best for Beginners?
There is no single best programming language for cyber security, as many different languages can be used to build cyber defenses or to launch cyberattacks.
With that said, some of the best cyber security coding languages include Java, Python, C++, Assembly, Ruby, and Perl.
If you are new to programming and you’re looking to learn a cybersecurity coding language for your first experience, we recommend something simple like Python or Perl. Both of these are great introductions to programming while also being powerful tools for cyber defense and cyber-attacks.
Another strong choice is Ruby on Rails since this is widely used for cyber security testing and applications.
Tips & Advice on the Best Way To Learn a Cybersecurity Language
The best way to learn a cybersecurity programming language is to explore your options and find one that aligns with your specific interests and goals. If you’re planning to take a computer science major or you’re going to attend a cyber security training institution, you’ll definitely learn a broad range of cyber programming language skills.
But, if you want to teach yourself cyber programming, the best way is to start coding!
The first step is to find yourself a roadmap to guide you as you learn the necessary skills. You can then start by learning Java or Python. Both cyber security coding languages are very popular, and there are many cyber tutorials and other helpful materials available for you to get started.
But ultimately, the best way to learn cyber programming is to dive in and start coding: with patience and persistence, you will gain the knowledge and skills you need to excel in this exciting and dynamic field.
On the other hand, if you want to become an ethical hacker or cyber penetration tester, then I’d recommend focusing on cyber attacks and exploits whilst also learning languages like C++ and Assembly.
Also, if you’d like to become a cyber security engineer or architect, it’s good to focus on cyber attack modeling tools and coding best practices.
Whatever your goal, choosing a cyber security programming language to learn is just the beginning. You will need to put in the time and effort to truly master cyber programming, but if you do, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert cyber security professional.
Cyber security is a rapidly-evolving field that is vitally important to most industries and business sectors.
It’s therefore not surprising that there is an equally growing demand for cyber security professionals to ensure that systems are safe and secure from cyber attacks.
If you aspire to be a cyber security professional, then you really need to know how to code with at least one of the many cyber security programming languages.
While there are a range of languages that are well-suited to cyber security, the most commonly used are Java, Python, C++, Assembly, Ruby, and Perl.
If you’re new to the field, we’d recommend starting with Python or Perl, but if you’re an experienced pro, adding any of these languages to your arsenal can help you raise your performance on your way to advancing your career.
Want to boost your cyber security skills? Check out:
Frequently Asked Questions
What Coding Experience Do You Need For Cybersecurity?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as different programming languages are useful for different roles and tasks within the field of cybersecurity. Some common coding languages that can be helpful for aspiring cybersecurity professionals include Java, Python, C++, C, and Ruby on Rails.
It could also be helpful to get a cybersecurity certification in whichever languages you choose to focus on.
Is C++ Good For Cybersecurity?
C++ is well-suited to cybersecurity areas like web security, network security, and exploit development. While it may not always be the best coding language for certain tasks and challenges, it’s popular among cybersecurity professionals because it is relatively easy to learn and flexible enough for most cybersecurity applications.
Is Python Good For Cybersecurity?
Thanks to its versatility and ease of use, Python finds itself in the spotlight as one of the best programming languages to learn for cyber security.
Python is hugely popular for building tools and frameworks for penetration testing, malware analysis, forensics, and much more. It has also been used extensively for network automation and intelligence gathering.
Specifically, Python is used for web application security, database security, and encryption.
What Programming Language Do Hackers Use?
Most black hat hackers don't use a specific programming language, as their work primarily aims to exploit weaknesses in different platforms and applications.
On the other hand, white hat hackers use languages like Java, Python, Ruby on Rails, and C++ to perform penetration testing, network monitoring, data gathering/intelligence analysis, malware analysis, etc.
So, whether you're a white hat hacker or even a black hat hacker (we don’t necessarily recommend this!), having a solid knowledge of various programming languages is essential to succeeding in cybersecurity.