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Climbing the Cybersecurity Career Ladder? Python has Potential

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 5, 2019 10:36:00 AM / by Paul Ricketts

Should you learn Python for cybersecurity?

IT experts are in demand as companies deal with growing networks and expanding malware threats. But with supply falling behind, it’s tough for organizations to find best-fit candidates — especially for cybersecurity roles.

The result? If you’re looking to climb the IT ladder and land the engaging, top-earning job you want, training in top certifications and skills can help your resume stand out. Currently in-demand for infosec experts? Python programming expertise.

Here’s what you need to know about Python and its potential for your IT career.

Snakes in the Digital Grass

Threat actors are becoming more sophisticated. From exploiting vulnerabilities in commonly used software to compromising connected devices and targeting employees with seemingly legitimate phishing emails, threats are outpacing businesses’ ability to secure IT landscapes.

In 2019, some of the top threats include:

  • Ransomware — This blackmail-focused version of malware encrypts files on corporate networks. Hackers then demand a fee for their release but don’t always follow through. As noted by CPO Magazine, Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as sensors, printers, and cameras are now being used as gateways to compromise business systems.
  • Cryptojacking — Malicious actors are now using stealthy attack methods to compromise systems and install crypto-mining programs that drain key resources and impact network performance.
  • Phishing — Malicious emails remain one of the most popular ways for hackers to gain access to business networks. Despite best efforts, many employees still struggle to identify fake emails — and may not report them to IT.

To combat these threats, companies are turning to advanced solutions such as AI and automation but also recognize the need to design highly specialized and adaptable security frameworks capable of keeping pace with new threats.

Python now forms an integral part of that process.

Python Basics

What is python? Python is one of several high-level programming languages that have gained popularity over the last few years challenging mainstays such as C and C++. While other languages such as JavaScript and PHP have also become more common as companies recognize the need for web-driven apps and services, Python offers several advantages, such as:

  • Code Readability — Python’s focus on code readability makes it ideal for many applications. While difficult to master, it’s easy to learn Python basics and boost IT impact.
  • Simple Syntax — Straightforward syntax and rules for formatting combined with a large user base allow IT pros to quickly create workable code.
  • Open Source Development — Community development, by an OSI-approved open source license provides a massive — and free — codebase to help Python programmers get started.

Why Python for Security Pros?

So why are companies choosing Python for security development? What sets it apart from other languages for improving infosec?

As noted by Medium, Phyton includes an “extensive library of powerful packages that supports Rapid Application Development (RAD).” Why does this matter? Because IT pros don’t have time to reinvent the digital wheel — they need security module frameworks that are easy to implement and deliver infosec at speed.

Python also powers cybersecurity initiatives by leveraging mixed code environments. This allows programmers to easily combine multiple languages such as Cython, Jython, and PyPy. Besides, many penetration testing initiatives rely on Python-based frameworks, meaning that if you’re after a high-level job in cybersecurity analysis, testing or management, Python is a critical competency.

Who’s Looking for Python Programmers?

The short answer? Just about everyone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, the job outlook for information security analysts shows much faster growth than average and in 2018 offered a median salary of over $98,000. Many infosec careers require only moderate experience (3-5 years) and a bachelor’s degree to get started — what set candidates apart is specific cybersecurity training.

While infosec pros are in demand across the country, there are also certain “hotspot” regions that offer even more job opportunities. As noted by eSecurityPlanet, Washington DC currently tops the cybersecurity job market, and other northeastern US locations — such as Baltimore — also make the top five. Why the hot market here? Government jobs account for some of the demand, but this northeast corridor is also becoming a tech hub as startups and established companies build headquarters and satellite offices here to access large-scale, reliable infrastructure without the massive costs associated with areas like Silicon Valley or New York.

Put simply? If you live in DC, Maryland or Virginia — or you’re willing to move — there’s plenty of Python infosec opportunity.

How to Get Started with Python Training

Many Python training courses require no previous experience with this programming language. While it’s a good idea to have some hands-on IT experience in both front-line and cybersecurity areas, many Python courses focus on practical skills such as malware detection, vulnerability identification, and prototype attack coding to help technology pros integrate Python into their everyday IT toolkit.

Are you looking to climb the infosec career ladder? Give yourself a leg up with Python training courses and boost your mastery of this in-demand cybersecurity skillset.

Paul Ricketts

Written by Paul Ricketts

Originally from the UK, Paul Ricketts is the Director of Marketing at TrainACE in Greenbelt, MD. Having started out in the field of Geographic Information Systems, Paul has a wealth of experience in a wide variety of industries, focused on tech., graphics and data analysis. Having finally settled in the field of marketing, he has spent the last 8 years fine tuning his skills in the art of communication and persuasion.

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