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  • Phil Venables

Coding Skills and Security

I've increasingly found, with respect to coding, security has come full circle. Those of us who started in the 80's/90's had to code (or stitch together) stuff because for most of what you needed to do you couldn't buy it or download it. This was everything from firewalls, crypto, authentication, authorization, logging, rudimentary IDS, even in some cases some pretty neat home grown malware defenses. Pretty much all you could buy initially was access control, host security (crypto) modules and anti-virus.

Now, coding skills are needed again to partner more closely with development teams, to stitch together tools, configure systems ("policy as code"), and adapt or contribute to the myriad of fine open source projects. This shouldn't diminish the huge diversity of roles and skills that need to exist in the modern risk team [cyber or not]: risk analysis, analytics, modeling, design, communication, education and sales. Yes, those also need some coding expertise but not core to the role.

Bottom line : IMHO coding skills / experience are important, and we've definitely come full circle for security engineers - but in the past decades the field has diversified such that even more skills / roles beyond coding are also needed.

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