Lessons Learned As A First-Term Cybersecurity Student


I’m just about done with my first term in my cybersecurity program! It’s been such a great experience so far that I’d like to share my top lessons learned as a first-term cybersecurity student.

  • First and foremost, brush up on your IT!
  • Read, read read. Textbooks, news articles, blogs.
  • Listen to podcasts.

Resources for cybersecurity students >>

  • Learn some code. Python scripts will be helpful for automating some of your work later on.
  • Unless you had your system professionally set up, you are at much greater risk with your cybersecurity than you ever thought. This will terrify you and that’s ok. Take what you learn and apply it to your home and work life.
  • The best way to learn about cybersecurity is by hacking…
  • …but don’t hack from (or into) your main OS. You might break it.
  • …and don’t break any laws with your hacking! Become well-versed in your state and federal laws on hacking, port scanning, lock picking, and any other tools related to cybersecurity. The last thing you want is to break the law on your way to becoming an ethical hacker.
  • Invest in a solid backup plan. Raid storage, cloud services, anything. Just be diligent about it.
  • Invest (time and energy) into setting up several virtual machines on your main computer. Nothing beats hands-on learning and success.
  • I went into the program wanting a gold MacBook Air but was soon sold on the badass look (and power) of the Pavilion. Research what you’ll need and make sure your device can deliver.
  • You know how when you get a new car, you suddenly see it everywhere you go? Cyber attacks are happening across the world on a daily basis. If you weren’t aware of it before, you’ll certainly be aware now.
  • CyberSec makes you want to save the world, and there are so many ways to do it!
  • Join your campus cybersecurity team. If there isn’t one, start one!
  • Don’t be afraid to start studying for and taking certification exams early on; it’s all the same material you’re already learning for your coursework so you’ll be feeding two birds with one berry (or killing two birds with one stone, for you savages)
  • There are tons of courses to prepare you for certification exams on Udemy and other online CMSs. Some will be more interesting than others. But don’t forget that nothing will beat a book or training approved by the certifying agency.
  • Good grades can be great motivation, but take your class projects and research papers one step further and they may make solid portfolio pieces and publications.
  • To get to Felicity Smoak status:

You’ll need to pass through here:


Have you had other lessons learned as a first-term cybersecurity student that I should include?

If so, let me know in the comments below!

If you’re excited about all the content during these 12 days of Christmas, please be sure to share this with your loved ones and acquaintances alike. Online security benefits us all, and will only become more critical as technology’s presence grows in our community.

Get informed. Stay safe.


3 thoughts on “Lessons Learned As A First-Term Cybersecurity Student”

  1. Hugo Kanney says:

    Thanks for sharing the information with us.

    1. Hi Hugo,

      I’m glad I could be of help!


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