I'm still young (16 years old) and I haven't entered the security field yet. I'm curious how much programming I need to enter the security field.

I can write real-life programs in Python. I can also understand programs written in different languages (Java, C/C++ C# every language that is C based). I can also write programs in C, but I still I haven't written a real-life program.

I have watched videos posted by Open Security Training about assembly to intermediate level, so I understand assembly also.

Would I be able to join the security industry or I should continue learning how to program?


It largely depends what you want to do in the field of information security. We can devide infosec into two parts:

  • soft security
  • technical security

Soft security is less technical and requires you to understand the concepts of information systems but does not require you to be an ace in them. It's mostly compliance, IT Security strategy, management and policy making.

With technical security you dive a little bit deeper into the rabbit hole. There are two different parts, the defensive part which is firewalling, IPS, IDS, incident response, forensics,... and an offensive part which is more related to Attack & Penetration testing (for which you do require some programming skills).

My 2c To be honest, if you are already writing basic code at 16 years old, especially in different languages, then that is very good. You will progress quite well. Do note that for most parts you will need to have knowledge about other parts of computer science. Most of this is covered by either College or University Computer Science programs. They cover introduction to operating systems, networks, cryptography, programming,... So I would say, keep at it, broaden your knowledge and learn. You're on the right track :)

If you haven't written a decent program, write one. Start with something simple like a game of hangman and progress further to some more complex things. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, because you learn the most from them.

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This is a bit broad, however a quick answer is none. Programming is a requirement for some aspects of information security, but there's much of the field in which you don't need any programming experience at all.

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  • Well I hope, I really hate to write large and complex programs =D thank you for you answer. – user46398 May 11 '14 at 20:12
  • Learn everything you can. Programming skills will always be good to have. While many security jobs don't require programming skills, many do. Some technology companies and some hiring managers think less of people who lack software development skills, no matter what job they apply for. I agree that your question is likely to be shot down by the mean moderators here. I apologize for this. – user35648 May 11 '14 at 21:18
  • I would warn not to get too good at programming if you want to really progress, or let yourself be cornered by some software development where you will be and will stay the professional. As well as advancing your career, programming skills can hold you back as well. A lot of people in my organization seem to lack anything but communication skills and do better than I do - if you count a higher up position as advancement, of course. – Maarten Bodewes May 11 '14 at 21:39

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