Somewhere around 14 years old I started coding in my spare time. I’m not sure of the specific reason, but I started coding with C#, Around the time Microsoft released their XNA Framework to develop games for the Xbox 360 which used C# as the preferred language, so imagine that contributed to me picking it.

As I develop more of skills around pen testing, its obvious that my programming muscles need stretching further and I need to be far more proficient than I am. That’s why I signed up for the 10-hour Python course on Codecademy which they provide at no cost.

Screenshot of Codecademy <figcaption id="caption-attachment-106" class="wp-caption-text">Screenshot of the Codecademy Python Course</figcaption></figure>

In recent years there has been a massive increase in websites designed to help you learn a topic and a lot of them use gamification (to help me learn Italian I’ve been a big user of Duolingo). Codecademy is a similar tool and I have to say I’m really impressed.

The layout is simple yet clear with one column for the code, one for the console and one instructing you. Already having a small knowledge of coding meant I swiftly moved past some of the initial sections, but can really recommend the site to absolutely anyone. The exercises build from learning the initial syntax and gradually build to more advanced areas.

Looking back I can say that having done coding in my past has helped me greatly. Meeting people in my job who have no technical, let alone coding background leaves me with the impression they have a fear of technology. For example, if an app crashes when a particular button is pressed; I’m fairly relaxed about the issue as I have an idea of what might be happening with the code behind it. For people with no knowledge this can cause them to worry, thinking it is anything from a hardware issue to making them think their device has been compromised.

Learning Python will be incredibly useful as everything from the tools people write online (the Phishing Catcher tool I’ve written about was created with

in Python) to scripts that might speed up analysis of IP addresses are written in Python, so its crucial I’m constantly looking to improve my Python skills. Eventually I know that I’ll also need to add further languages to my repertoire with many people using far more low-level languages like assembly to really get into the detail of what a piece of Malware does.