How To Study Cyber Security

Last Updated on August 30, 2023

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How To Study Cyber Security

Table of Contents

What is a Cyber Security Engineer?What Does a Cyber Security Engineer Do?Cyber Security Engineer QualificationsCyber Security Engineer SalaryWhat’s the Demand for Cyber Security Engineers?View More

As today’s world becomes increasingly more dependent on the Internet and mobile computing to accomplish so many of our everyday tasks, the issue of security becomes more urgent. As a result, this boosts the demand for more Cybersecurity engineers.

Cyber security is a fascinating branch of Information Technology and is ideal for people who enjoy a challenge. The field is ripe with potential, and we’re about to show you why a cyber security career is a fantastic (and rewarding!) choice.

Before exploring how to become a cyber security engineer, let us learn more about the role.

What is a Cyber Security Engineer?

A cyber security engineer designs and implements secure network solutions designed to defend against hackers, cyberattacks, and other persistent threats. They also engage in continually testing and monitoring these systems, making sure that all the system’s defenses are up to date and working correctly.

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Often, a cyber security engineer’s position is called something else, like data security engineer, IT security engineer, or Web security engineer. Furthermore, sometimes, the role of a cyber security engineer is rolled into a different IT position, especially in smaller companies that can’t afford a cyber security specialist.

Let us get to know how to become a cyber security engineer after we learn what one does in the role.

What Does a Cyber Security Engineer Do?

The roles and responsibilities of a cybe rsecurity engineer include:

  • Evaluating the organization’s security needs and establishing best practices and standards accordingly
  • Designing, implementing, maintaining, overseeing, and upgrading all security measures needed to protect organizations’ data, systems, and networks
  • Responding to all security breaches to the network and associated systems
  • Troubleshooting all network and security issues and incidents
  • Routinely conduct penetration testing
  • Taking appropriate security measures to ensure that the organization’s infrastructure and existing data are kept safe
  • Conducting testing and scans to identify any vulnerabilities in the network and system.
  • Taking an active role in the change management process
  • Assisting in any security breach investigations
  • Handling routine daily administrative tasks such as reporting and keeping open lines of communication with the organization’s appropriate departments

Note that a cybers ecurity engineer job and responsibilities come very close to those of a security analyst. A cyber security engineer designs and builds systems, while a security analyst is more concerned with putting the system through its paces, trying to break it.

There is an overlap, however, since many cyber security engineers routinely conduct stress tests and attempt to predict the weak spots and test them out. It’s not unusual to see job listings for a Security Engineer/Analyst, effectively rolling both positions into one.

Before we learn how to become a cyber security engineer, let us look at the required qualifications.

Cyber Security Engineer Qualifications

In general, a cyber security engineer must have the following qualifications:

  • Degree in Computer Science, IT, Systems Engineering, or a similar field
  • Two years of work experience in cyber security-related duties such as incident detection and response, and forensics
  • Experience with the functionality, operation, and maintenance of firewalls and various forms of endpoint security
  • Proficiency in languages/tools such as C++, Java, Node, Python, Ruby, Go, or Power Shell
  • The ability to work in a fast-paced environment, often under pressure
  • Possess the right eye for detail and outstanding problem-solving skills
  • Up to date knowledge of the latest cybe rsecurity trends and hacker tactics.

Note that different organizations may have more or fewer qualifications or attach lesser or greater importance to any of the given criteria.

Let us learn how to become a cyber security engineer after understanding the salary stats.

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Cyber Security Engineer Salary

The average cyber security engineer salary is around $101,000 a year, according to Glassdoor. Senior-level engineers earn an average of $145K annually, while beginners can look forward to $71K a year. Nice work if you can get it!

In India, a cyber security engineer’s salary averages ₹600,000 a year, while a similar engineer in Australia earns A$95K and an engineer in the UK can make £47,048 annually.

Of course, the above numbers can fluctuate depending on the demand in your part of the world. But regardless of the range, a cyber security engineer can earn some serious pay.

Before understanding how to become a cyber security engineer, let us learn about the demand for the role.

What’s the Demand for Cyber Security Engineers?

By the end of 2021, there was approximately 3.5 million cyber security vacancies worldwide. The demand for cyber security engineers will continue to grow as businesses, governments, and other organizations rely more on digital platforms.

That’s the good news. The bad news (at least from a business owner’s perspective) is that there will be a corresponding widening skill gap regarding cyber security professionals.

The Forbes article from a couple of years back called cyber security, “the fast-growing job with a huge skill gap.” The article cites an ISACA report that predicted a world shortage of two million cyber security professionals by 2019. And here we are in 2022, and not only has the Forbes prediction come true, but the situation is also getting worse.

In terms of cyber-related crime, Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that the annual costs of cyber crime damages would increase dramatically, going from $3 trillion in 2015 to $6 trillion by the end of 2021. Looking forward, Cybersecurity Ventures expects global cybercrime costs will reach $10.5 trillion per year by 2025. Consequently, Gartner predicts that cyber security spending will hit $172 billion this year.

Although countless companies are hiring cyber security engineers, these ten companies lead the pack in cyber security professional hiring.

  • BAE Systems
  • Symantec
  • Check Point Software
  • Lockheed Martin
  • FireEye
  • Amazon (Amazon Web Services)
  • Microsoft
  • IBM
  • Cisco
  • CyberArk Software

When taken all together, these forecasts paint a promising picture for anyone interested in becoming a cyber security engineer. It’s reasonable to call cyber security engineering (and related positions) a “recession-proof career.”

So now that you know what a cyber security engineer does, what they make, and how secure the career is, you no doubt are curious about how to become one. 

Let us learn how to become a cyber security engineer with the following career path.

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How Long Does It Take to Become a Cyber Security Engineer?

The typical timeline to becoming a cyber security Engineer can depend on your education, experience, and certifications. Most people can get into an entry-level cyber security Engineer position within two to four years if they have the required experience. For someone who has already been working in IT and has enough experience, a certification is a sure-fire way to quickly transition into this field.

What Degree Is Needed to Be a Cyber Security Engineer?

To become a cyber security engineer, you should have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to cyber security. This can include Computer Science, IT, or Software Engineering, to name a few. Earlier, most companies wouldn’t require a candidate to have such a degree if they are skilled enough, but the rise in competition has led to an increasing number of organizations adopting this requirement. 

If you are already a graduate in another field, you can opt to continue your education by earning a master’s degree in a field closely related to cyber security. This will be especially crucial if you want to become a Senior Cyber Security Engineer. You can also get certified in similar fields to get a leg up in your career. 

Cyber Security Books for Beginners

Although it’s a wise idea to obtain cybersecurity certifications, beginners can make the journey a little easier by engaging in some independent study, namely taking up some appropriate reading material. Consider some of the following books:

  • Cybersecurity for Dummies: Another in the series of popular “Dummies” books. This book covers the cybersecurity basics of cybersecurity, such as different cybersecurity threats and ethical hacking.
  • Hacking: A Beginner’s Guide: Here is where you will find everything you need to get the fundamentals of hacking, including the different types and methods.
  • Cybersecurity for Beginners: Do you lack fluency in tech-speak? This book is deal for readers who don’t have a technical background, this book explains cyber-related terms in plain English, eschewing the technobabble.
  • Practical Malware Analysis: This book is a guide to all things malware-related, helping you to find, analyze, and debug malicious apps.
  • AWS Penetration Testing: Here’s a chance to learn about the principles of penetration testing, including concepts like vulnerability exploitation security assessment, workload security, and encryption.
  • Practical Paranoia macOS 11 Security Essentials: Here’s a good resource for cybersecurity-minded Mac users. It’s the perfect training manual for securing your work or home macOS system.
  • Kali Linux: Let’s not forget the Linux devotees! Kali Linux is the foremost penetration testing tool for Linux. This book gets you started on penetration testing and helps you navigate through the over 600 tools that Kali Linux offers.

cyber security course for beginners

An Ultimate Guide to Cyber Security for Beginners

Lesson 2 of 30By SimplilearnLast updated on Feb 15, 202261179

Cyber Security for Beginners


Table of Contents

What is Cybersecurity?CIA TriadSpecialties in CybersecurityBasic TerminologiesCommon Types of AttacksView More

Cybersecurity is a popular topic, but do you know why it is essential? We are living in a digital era where data is everything. We must understand that private information is much more vulnerable than ever before. We often hear about data breaches and cases of identity theft that affect millions of consumers. Two years ago, WannaCry ransomware encrypted millions of computers. All companies and institutions are fighting to protect their data against hackers and cybercriminals, and you can also play a role in it. Cybersecurity is not involved only in organizations, but even personal computers, mobile phones, and tablets.

What is Cybersecurity?

Before we begin learning this cyber security for beginners tutorial, let us first understand what exactly is cyber security and what is its significance. Cybersecurity is the technology and process that is designed to protect networks and devices from attacks, damage, or unauthorized access. Cybersecurity is essential for a country’s military, hospitals, large corporations, small businesses, and other organizations and individuals since data is now the cornerstone of any organization. If that data is exploited, then there are a lot of risks. Now, we have understood what cybersecurity is, let’s see what the CIA triad is and how it is related to cybersecurity.

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CIA Triad

The security of any organization starts with three principles: Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability. And next in this cyber security for beginners tutorial we will learn about the CIA Triad, which has served as the industry standard for computer security since the time of first mainframes.

CIA Triad

     Fig: CIA triad

  • Confidentiality: The principles of confidentiality assert that only authorized parties can access sensitive information and functions. Example: military secrets.
  • Integrity: The principles of integrity assert that only authorized people and means can alter, add, or remove sensitive information and functions. Example: a user entering incorrect data into the database.
  • Availability: The principles of availability assert that systems, functions, and data must be available on-demand according to agreed-upon parameters based on levels of service.

Next up in the cyber security for beginners tutorial, let’s look at the areas and speciality in cybersecurity to understand the space better.

Specialties in Cybersecurity

To pursue your career in cybersecurity, it is essential to know about the areas of specialization in it, and this cyber security for beginners tutorial will help you do just that. There are nine:

  1. Access control systems and methodology: This deals with protecting critical system resources from unauthorized modification.
  2. Telecommunications and network security: This focuses on communications, protocols, and network services, and the potential vulnerabilities associated with each.
  3. Security management practices: This area deals effectively with catastrophic systems failures, natural disasters, and other types of service interruptions.
  4. Security architecture and models: This focuses mostly on having security policies and procedures in place. This particular security domain involves policy planning for just about every type of security issue.
  5. Law, investigation, and ethics: This handles the legal issues associated with computer security.
  6. Application and system development security: This person covers things like database security models and the implementation of multilevel security for in-house applications. 
  7. Cryptography: Designed to help you understand how and when to use encryption. 
  8. Computer operations security: This covers all those things that happen while your computers are running. 
  9. Physical security: This primarily addresses questions about physical access to your servers and workstations.

Basic Terminologies

Next up, this cyber security for beginners tutorial will help you understand some of the terminologies you must be familiar with before learning anything about cybersecurity. 

1. Network

A network is a connection between two or more computers so that they can communicate with each other. For example:

Network Connection

Fig: Network Connection

2. Internet

Internet is a means of connecting a computer to any other computer anywhere in the world via dedicated routers and servers.

3. Internet Protocols

The data that is transferred or received cannot follow any path. There are a set of rules that are followed to control the flow of the internet. These rules are called internet protocol.

4. IP Address

An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is an address assigned to all devices that connect to a computer network and uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address looks like this:

5. MAC Address

This is a unique identification number that every device has that connects to the internet. Traditional MAC addresses are 12-digit hexadecimal numbers. MAC address looks like this: D8-FC-93-C5-A5-EO.

6. Domain Name Server(DNS)

Consider DNS as the phonebook of the internet. All the IP addresses and the name of the links are saved in it. For example, you want to go to You type this on your web application. Then, this name goes to the DNS server, and the DNS server finds the IP address of Then, the DNS server returns it to your computer with the IP address.

Domain Server

Fig: DNS Server Illustration


Dynamic host configuration protocol is a protocol that assigns an IP address to any device that wants to connect to the internet.


Fig: DHCP providing IP addresses

8. Router

This is a device that routes the data that comes to it and then sends that data to the destination to ensure that it is on the appropriate path.

9. Bots

Bots are computer programs that control your computer without your knowledge. They automatically send emails, retrieve web pages, and change computer settings.

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Common Types of Attacks

Before we get into the types of attacks, we should know why these attacks happen, and this cyber security for beginners tutorial will help you learn A-Z of both. There is always a motive behind every attack; the main reason for attacks is money. Hackers penetrate the system and then demand ransom from the victims. There are other reasons like a financial loss to the target, achieving a state’s military objective, damaging the reputation of the target, or political maneuvering.

There are mainly five types of attacks:

  1. Distributed denial of service(DDoS)
  2. Man in the middle
  3. Email attacks
  4. Password attacks
  5. Malware attack

In the next section of this cyber security for beginners tutorial, let’s look at all the attacks in detail:

1. Distributed Denial of Service

It is an attack used to restrict a user from accessing the resources by flooding the traffic that is used to access resources. A botnet controller controls all the bots that are under it. The attacker sends a command to the botnet controller that tells all bots to attack a server so that the server will be flooded. When a user wants to access a website, he will not be able to, as the traffic on the website will be at full capacity.

DDoS Illustration

      Fig: DDoS Illustration

2. Man in the Middle

Let’s look at an example to understand this better. Suppose you want to do an online transaction and you connect to your bank and make the payment.

Man in the middle attack

   Fig: Man in the middle attack (1)

Now, while you are completing the transaction, you have to put in credit card details and the PIN. The attacker can spoof you and monitor your transaction. As soon as you put in your details, he will see them.

Man in the middle attack

  Fig: Man in the middle attack (2)

3. Password Attack

To crack a password or find a password, we use this technique. There are five types of password attacks:

  • Dictionary attack: In this method, we handle every password that is possible through the dictionary.
  • Brute force: This is a trial and error method used to decode the password or data. This attack takes the most amount of time.
  • Keylogger: As the name suggests, a keylogger records all keystrokes on a keyboard. Most hackers use keyloggers to get passwords and account details.
  • Shoulder surfing: The attackers observe the user’s keyboard by looking over the user’s shoulder.
  • Rainbow table: There are rainbow tables that contain precomputed hash values. Attackers use this table to find the password of the user.

4. Email Attacks

First, let’s see how an email works. Suppose John is sending an email to Jack. The email first goes to the email server. Then it goes to the DNS server to find the IP address of the destination. From the source email server, the email goes to the destination server. From there, the email is sent to the IP address on which Jack is working. It is illustrated in the picture below.

How email works

       Fig: How email works.

There are three types of email attacks. 

  • Phishing: The attacker sends bait, often in the form of an email. It encourages people to share their details. For example, you receive an email like this:


    If someone is a customer of ABC bank, he would probably open the link and give the details. But these kinds of emails are always phishing; banks do not send emails like this.
  • Spoofing: The attacker pretends to be another person or organization and sends you an email stating that it is a legitimate email. For example:


    After seeing this email, you might share the password to your computer. Always ask the person from whom you received the email one more time to confirm that he is the right person.
  • Email attachments: You can send files through emails. These files may be images, documents, audio, or videos. Attackers send you an email, and you are encouraged to open the attached file. For example:


Download these attachments only if you are sure that it is a legitimate email.

5. Malware Attack

  • Malware: This is a malicious program or software that disrupts or damages the computer. There are three types of malware.
  • Virus: A computer virus is a malicious code that replicates by copying itself to another program or document and changes how a computer works. The virus requires someone to knowingly or unknowingly spread the infection without the knowledge or permission of a user or system administrator. An example of a virus is the Melissa virus.
  • Worms: These are standalone programs that run independently and infect systems. For example, W32.Alcra.F is a worm that propagates through network share devices.

Functions of Malware

  1. Overwhelming system resources: Malware, especially worms, can spread around and overwhelm a system or network. Some malware creates so many folders that no memory is left and slows a computer down.
  2. Creating a backdoor: Let’s look at an example: Microsoft sends updates every Sunday on all Windows platforms. How do these updates reach to your Windows OS? They create backdoors from where they can send updates. Similarly, hackers create backdoors from where they can continuously send viruses after getting into a system.
  3. Disabling security functions: Some malware can disable antivirus software, as well as security updates. This malware tends to last longer because there is no security to stop it. They tend to keep the system vulnerable to other malware.
  4. Creating botnets: Hackers make botnets by purely coding. A botmaster controls botnets, and they are usually used to crash websites. Botmaster tells all botnets to flood the website by accessing the website at the same time. 

Sources of Malware

  1. Removable media: Removable media, like Pendrive, CDs, DVDs, and flash drives, may be used to send viruses to your system. 
  2. Documents and executable files: Viruses can be hidden in document files with the .exe extension. As soon as you open them, the virus activates.
  3. Internet downloads: Download files only from trusted websites. If you download from untrusted websites, there may be chances that those files will contain viruses, and as soon as you open them, the hacker might get access to your system. 
  4. Network connections: Be sure that your service provider is genuine. If the network is unsecured, then it can be accessed by anyone.
  5. Email attachments: Never open email attachments unless the sender can be trusted. These files may contain viruses to create backdoors.
  6. Malicious advertisements: Never click on ads that you don’t trust. They are created so that you can click on them, and hackers will receive details about you. 

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