What Classes Should I Take in High School for Cyber Security?

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High School for Cyber Security

High School for Cyber Security :Thinking about what classes to take in high school for a future career in cybersecurity? With hacking and data breaches on the rise, cybersecurity professionals are in demand, and the right high school classes can set you up for success in the field. Learn how computer science, information technology, and related courses can build a strong foundation for college cybersecurity programs and careers protecting critical systems and data.

Discover which credits and electives will boost your chances of getting into top cyber defense degree programs. Read on for tips from current cybersecurity students and professionals on selecting high school classes that align with your interests and career aspirations in this fast-growing industry.

High School for Cyber Security: An Overview

High School for Cyber Security

To prepare for a career in cybersecurity, you should take certain classes in high school. Some recommended courses are:

  • Computer Science: Learn programming languages like Python or Java. These teach logic and coding skills essential for cybersecurity.
  • Information Technology: Gain knowledge of networking, hardware, and software. Learn about routers, servers, and system administration.
  • Mathematics: Take algebra, calculus, and statistics. Cybersecurity professionals use math for encryption, analyzing data, and solving complex problems.
  • Sciences: Study areas like physics, chemistry, and biology. The scientific method of observation, hypothesis, and experimentation is useful for cybersecurity.
  • Foreign Languages: Learn a language like Chinese, Russian, or Arabic. Cybersecurity jobs may require reading technical documentation in different languages or analyzing foreign cyber threats.
  • Social Sciences: Take psychology, sociology, and ethics classes. Understanding human behavior and social engineering techniques is important for cybersecurity. Ethical issues like privacy and security are also relevant.
  • Communications: Improve your writing and public speaking skills. Cybersecurity roles require explaining complex technical topics to non-technical stakeholders clearly and persuasively.

Extracurricular activities like participating in cybersecurity competitions or hackathons, and learning ethical hacking techniques on your own, will provide valuable experience. Build a portfolio of projects to show your skills. With the right courses and experience in high school, you’ll be on your way to an exciting career in cybersecurity.

Required Credits and Courses for Cybersecurity

To prepare for a career in cybersecurity, focus your high school studies on science, technology, engineering, and math. You will need to earn credits in certain courses to graduate, so choose electives that will benefit your future career.

You should take courses like:

  • Introduction to Cybersecurity: Learn about cyber threats, security controls, and mitigation strategies. Hands-on activities teach skills to identify vulnerabilities and protect systems.
  • Computer Science Principles: Gain a broad understanding of computational thinking and learn to analyze the impact of computing on society. Projects explore mobile computing, web development, and robotics.
  • AP Computer Science A: Study object-oriented programming methodology, algorithms, and data structures. Java is used to develop solutions to real-world problems. Prepares you for the AP exam and may earn college credit.
  • Networking Fundamentals: Understand networking concepts like routing, switching, and subnetting. Configure and troubleshoot network devices and resolve connectivity issues. Skills prepare you for industry certifications.
  • Digital Forensics: Recover and analyze data from computers, mobile devices, and storage media. Preserve electronic evidence and use investigative techniques to solve technical problems. Useful for a career as an information security analyst or cybercrime investigator.
  • Calculus and Statistics: Take advanced math courses to strengthen your analytical and critical thinking skills. Understanding statistics will help you identify patterns and trends in data to assess cyber risks.

With the right courses and dedication, you can gain essential knowledge and skills for an exciting career in cybersecurity. Focus on opportunities for hands-on experience, pursue industry certifications, and get involved in cybersecurity competitions to build your resume. Your hard work in high school will pay off!

Key Classes to Take in High School

To prepare for a career in cybersecurity, you should take certain classes in high school. Focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses.


Take as much math as you can, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. Cybersecurity professionals use math for encryption, decryption and risk analysis.

Computer Science

Take intro classes on computer science, computer programming and networking. Learn languages like Python, Java or C++.You’ll use these skills for ethical hacking, forensics and more.


Take classes on information technology (IT), computer applications and web design. Learn about hardware, software, and networks which provide a foundation for cybersecurity.


Take biology, physics and chemistry to build a strong science background. Understanding how systems work in the natural world translates well to the digital world. Cybersecurity often involves analyzing technical systems and processes.

• Speech/Debate – Take a speech or debate class to build communication skills. Cybersecurity roles require explaining complex topics to non-technical stakeholders.

• Psychology/Sociology – Classes in psychology and sociology provide insight into human behavior. This helps in social engineering and understanding the human element in cyber threats.

With the right mix of technical and soft skills from these high school classes, you’ll be well on your way to an exciting career as a cybersecurity professional. Check with your school counselor to map out a plan of study and [consider dual enrollment options] (https://www.straighterline.com/blog/dual-enrollment-in-high-school-the-pros-and-cons/) at local colleges. The future of cybersecurity is bright, so start preparing now!

Computer Science and IT Electives

There are many electives you can take in high school to prepare for a career in cybersecurity. These courses will give you a solid foundation in computer science and information technology.

Computer Science

Take introductory computer science classes to learn programming languages like Java, C++, or Python. These courses teach you logical thinking and problem-solving skills that are useful for any technical career. You’ll also learn computing fundamentals like algorithms, data structures, and software engineering.


Networking classes provide hands-on experience setting up and maintaining computer networks. You’ll learn about network devices, Ethernet, IP addressing, and network protocols. This knowledge is essential for preventing network intrusions and protecting sensitive data. Popular courses include Cisco Networking Academy and Network+.

Web Design

In web design courses, you’ll learn languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build interactive websites. You’ll gain experience with user experience design, accessibility, and security practices like encrypting data and preventing SQL injection attacks. These skills are important for building and protecting web applications.


Some schools offer introductory cybersecurity classes covering topics like online privacy, ethics, and security awareness. You may learn how to identify different types of cyber attacks like phishing, conduct risk assessments, and implement basic security controls. These courses provide an overview of the field and can help determine if a career in cybersecurity is right for you.

To gain real-world experience, look for opportunities like cyber competitions, internships, and entry-level certifications. Building a strong technical foundation and participating in extracurricular activities will prepare you for an exciting career as an information security professional.

Cybersecurity Competitions and Clubs

High School for Cyber Security

Once you’ve taken some intro cybersecurity classes, joining cybersecurity clubs and competitions is a great way to apply what you’ve learned and gain valuable experience.

  • CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program. They host an annual cyber defense competition for high schools and middle schools in the U.S. and Canada. Teams compete by finding and fixing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in virtual operating systems. Competing looks great on college applications and can lead to scholarships.
  • Capture the Flag (CTF) events challenge you to find hidden “flags” by solving cybersecurity puzzles and challenges. Many CTFs are free to enter and held online. They cover topics like cryptography, forensics, web hacking, and binary exploitation. CTFs are a fun way to improve your skills and work as part of a team.
  • Check if your school has a computer or cybersecurity club. Clubs usually meet after school and work on projects like building a computer, programming drones or robots, participating in hackathons, or entering CTF events. Clubs look great on college apps and help you connect with peers and mentors.
  • The Cybersecurity Club at your local library or community center may offer free or low-cost activities and events for teens. They can be a great resource for learning and connecting with others interested in cybersecurity.

Competing in events like these and joining local clubs is how many top cybersecurity professionals got their start. Don’t wait until college — start building your skills and experience in high school by participating in cybersecurity competitions and joining clubs in your area. College admissions officers and future employers will be impressed with your initiative.

Finding the Right High School Cybersecurity Program

As a high school student interested in cybersecurity, choosing the right program is key to gaining valuable knowledge and experience. Here are some factors to consider:


Look for programs that offer classes in networking, programming, Linux, security engineering, and ethical hacking. These provide a solid foundation in cybersecurity concepts and skills. Take electives in areas that interest you, such as cloud computing or risk management.


Some high schools offer preparation for entry-level cybersecurity certifications like Security+, Network+, or the EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker. Earning certifications in high school demonstrates your competence to colleges and employers.


Participating in cyber competitions like the National Cyber League or CyberPatriot helps you apply what you’ve learned through challenges and capture-the-flag events. Joining a cyber defense club is a great way to prepare for competitions with guidance from mentors.


Look for programs that help students find internships at cybersecurity companies or infosec departments. Internships provide valuable real-world experience and networking opportunities. The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program offers paid internships and scholarships for students attending designated Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

College Credit

Some high schools offer dual enrollment programs where you can earn college credits for cybersecurity courses. This allows you to get a head start on your degree and potentially save money on college tuition. Check if local community colleges offer cybersecurity associates degrees or certificates for high school students.

With the right courses and experiences in high school, you’ll gain knowledge and skills that prepare you for an exciting career as an information security analyst, security engineer or other cybersecurity professional. The future of cybersecurity starts with you!

Applying to College Cybersecurity Programs

If you’re interested in pursuing a degree in cybersecurity, the classes you take in high school can help prepare you for college programs. Focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses will provide a solid foundation for a cybersecurity education.

Math and Science Classes

Taking advanced math and science classes like algebra, geometry, calculus, and physics will strengthen your problem-solving and critical thinking skills. These skills are essential for a career as an information security analyst or cybersecurity engineer. Computer science and programming classes can also introduce you to basic cybersecurity concepts and how to think like an ethical hacker.

Computer and Technical Classes

Take classes on networking, computer applications, and computer systems. Learn about operating systems, hardware components, software applications, and network configurations. Classes in computer programming and coding like Java, C++, Python, and SQL will teach you valuable technical skills for a cybersecurity degree program. Some high schools may offer specialized classes in cybersecurity, information technology (IT) or computer networking.

  • Computer Programming
  • Networking Fundamentals
  • Hardware and Software
  • Cybersecurity

Communication and Writing Classes

While technical skills are important, strong communication and writing abilities are also essential for a career in cybersecurity. Take classes that strengthen your reading, writing, and verbal communication skills. Develop the ability to explain complex technical subjects in a clear and concise way. Strong communication skills will allow you to effectively collaborate with teams and advise stakeholders on security risks.

With the right classes and preparation in high school, you’ll have a solid foundation for pursuing a degree in cybersecurity. Focus on math, science, computers, and communication— and you’ll be well on your way to an exciting career as an information security professional.

Career Paths With a Cybersecurity Degree

Once you earn your cybersecurity degree, many exciting career paths will open up to you. Here are some of the top jobs in this fast-growing field:

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. They monitor networks for security breaches and investigate a violation when it occurs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth for information security analysts is projected to be 28% between 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The median pay for information security analysts in 2019 was over $99,000 per year.

Cybersecurity Engineer

Cybersecurity engineers are in high demand to help prevent cyber attacks and protect sensitive data. They analyze systems to find vulnerabilities, install security controls, and fix breaches. Many cybersecurity engineers work for technology and computer design firms, earning a median salary of over $116,000. The job outlook is excellent, with an expected growth of 32% between 2018 and 2028.

Penetration Tester

Penetration testers, also known as ethical hackers, attempt to break into computer systems and uncover vulnerabilities before malicious hackers can exploit them. They identify weaknesses in systems and recommend solutions to improve security. According to PayScale, the average salary for an entry-level penetration tester in the United States is over $91,000. The job growth is expected to be 28% between 2016 to 2026.

Cybersecurity Consultant

Cybersecurity consultants advise organizations on how to prevent and mitigate cyber attacks. They assess information security risks, design solutions, and recommend strategies to strengthen security controls and compliance procedures. The salary range is typically between $80,000 to $200,000 per year or more, depending on experience and credentials. The demand for cybersecurity consultants is growing rapidly.

High School for Cyber Security FAQs

High School for Cyber Security FAQs

Are you interested in cyber security? Do you want to learn more about this exciting and growing field? Here are some frequently asked questions about preparing for a career in cyber security in high school:

  • What classes should I take? Take classes in computer science, information technology, and computer programming. Useful courses include:
  • Introduction to Information Technology: Learn about systems, hardware, software, and security.
  • Computer Programming: Learn languages like Python, Java, and C++ to build technical skills.
  • Computer Networking: Understand network systems, routers, servers, and security protocols.
  • What extracurricular activities will help? Join technology and computer clubs to gain experience. Compete in cyber security competitions like the National Cyber League to build skills.
  • Should I get certified? Yes, certifications like the CompTIA Security+ demonstrate your knowledge and interest to colleges. You can study for and take certification exams while still in high school.
  • What colleges offer cyber security degrees? Many colleges offer degrees and certifications in cyber security. Some top schools include:
  • Carnegie Mellon University: Offers degree programs in Information Systems and Information Security.
  • MIT: Has a degree in Computer Science and Engineering with a focus on cyber security.
  • University of Texas at San Antonio: Provides a Bachelor’s in Information Assurance and Cyber Security.
  • Can I get an internship? Yes, many companies offer high school internships and apprenticeships in cyber security. Apply to technology companies like IBM, Cisco, and Lockheed Martin. Government agencies like the NSA also have programs for students.
  • What jobs can I get? With the right education and experience, you can become an information security analyst, cyber security engineer, security architect, or penetration tester. The demand for cyber security professionals is growing, so job opportunities will be plentiful.

Starting your education in high school is the best way to prepare for an exciting career in the fast-growing field of cyber security. Take the right classes, get certified, apply to college programs, and gain practical experience through internships. The future of cyber security is yours to shape.


Bottom line: take as many computer, technology, and math classes as you can in high school. Cybersecurity is a growing field with great career prospects. Focusing your studies, getting hands-on experience, and participating in cyber competitions will set you up for success. We covered some key classes to take, but also make sure to pursue independent learning opportunities outside of school. If you have a passion for technology and security, a career in cybersecurity could be very rewarding. Just remember – knowledge is power, so feed your curiosity. You got this!


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