Behind the internet is a network of code that supports pages and applications; unfortunately, there are many vulnerabilities that can be manipulated by people and bots to take advantage of your most sensitive information. Web developers and cybersecurity professionals are technicians at the helm of the internet with two very different roles of equal importance for netizens; one is the builder and the other is the protector: can you guess which one is which? Let’s dive in.
What is Web Development?
As a web developer, you are working to create the foundation of applications and websites used through an internet connection. Before moving onto the roles that web developers can hold, we need to know what the building blocks of web development are.
The website and the internet
When you are browsing the internet, you interact with websites, which are files stored on a server, which is in another physical location and is connected to a huge interconnected network called, you guessed it, the internet. You can access websites through a web browser like Google Chrome or Safari.
To create these websites, web developers choose one of the following paths for their careers:
Front end development: this client-side type of development includes everything that the user interacts with directly. Everything you hear, see, and click on are created by front end web developers and this includes the visual aspects, navigation, graphics, and other elements of the pages’ aesthetics.
Back end development: all the storage and digital infrastructure in which the website is held is considered the back end, or server-side and for non-developers, the back end of a website may appear as a jumble of letters, numbers, and symbols. Back end developers normally work with different servers, APIs, operating systems, and databases.
Full stack development: simply put: front end + back end= full stack. Full stack developers have the skills to build and manage both front and back end development.
There are around 700 computer programming languages that exist, some are more frequently used than others, but front and back end development depend on different coding languages when they are building websites. For front end development, developers use:
HTML: HyperText Markup Language is the foundational language and has been used since the 1990s. It’s the bare minimum for what a website requires.
CSS: Cascading Style Sheets determines the visual aspects of the page like typography, font, colors, and is compatible with all browsers.
As for back end development, the following languages are most commonly used:
Python: Python makes the development process simpler and is a great language to link up IoT devices and embed machine learning into web applications.
Ruby: Not only is Ruby easy to learn, it can also run on almost every OS and does a fantastic job at solving different programming issues.
Java: Java is useful for programming applications on desktop systems, Android, and other applications.
PHP: Since PHP is open source and can work on almost any OS, many web developers choose PHP as their back end code.
What is Cybersecurity?
There are always cybersecurity threats on web sites and just like anything that has vulnerabilities, the internet needs cybersecurity to defend it from anyone or anything that may try to take advantage of them. Cybersecurity has three main functions in terms of threats: protection, detection, and eradication.
Cybersecurity professionals focus on protection as the most important task, since they never want any cyberattackers to reach their sensitive information. They employ many tools like firewalls, intrusion protection systems, antivirus and antimalware programs, encryption tools, multi-factor authentication and others.
If any malware does break through the protective barrier, cybersecurity professionals need to know about it. Since hackers are becoming more and more creative in how they bypass websites’ protective layers and innovating malware and viruses, they are accomplishing their goal of reaching data; it’s a case of when, not if, which is why threat detection is also a huge responsibility in cybersecurity. Some of these tools include intrusion detection systems, endpoint detection and response solutions, user and entity behavior analytics solutions, and security information and event management systems.
When the threat has been detected, it’s time to rely on the pre-prepared incident response plan, which entails gathering as much information as possible about the incident, moving the information to a safe space for users, and eliminating the problem. Practicing and understanding the incident response plan is critical for when there is a data breach because the faster you can carry it out, the sooner the data will be safe again.
Although they are not designing and building websites, cybersecurity professionals need to know programming languages to fend off cyberattacks and because hackers are using a variety of coding languages to infiltrate businesses and organizations, cybersecurity professionals must stay current and have expertise in coding languages. Here are some of the languages they may need to learn:
C and C++
All of these languages have a variety of purposes and uses and although they are not all necessary to learn, it’s important for cybersecurity professionals to be skilled at least one or two of them.
What Responsibilities do Web Developers Have?
Web developers have a variety of tasks to complete on their to-do lists and have to fill some roles at the office or in their own homes. The following are the roles:
Website creator: the creator uses their coding skills and other tools to create the foundation of a website and update the software.
Website designer: if being a creator makes the basic structure of the website, a website designer is about making those bare bones look like a million bucks. Collaborating alongside UX/UI designers, web developers write the code for their websites to make the visual and interactive elements a reality.
Tester: prior to publishing a website, web developers must ensure that their final product works smoothly and efficiently and in the case that it does have bugs, solve and eliminate the issues.
Website maintenance and support: websites sometimes will have bugs and by returning to their websites, web developers are carrying out the necessary revisions to see that everything works as it should.
Database manager: since web developers are working with a lot of data, they also need to know how to handle it and expertise in linking local data and far off databases is essential.
As you can see, web developers have a lot of hats to wear and they’re all equally important for their job.
How do Web Development and Cybersecurity Differ?
At this point, it’s evident that web development and cybersecurity share some elements and yet contrast in some ways too. Cybersecurity professionals and web developers do need to know code; however, they are applying it for different tasks. Web developers must create, design, and troubleshoot glitches and bugs, while cybersecurity professionals create security solutions including authentication and firewalls for website defenses.
Although both do include website maintenance, they focus on different aspects of it. Web developers think about cybersecurity and website vulnerabilities; however, their main focus is on designing, building, and maintaining websites. On the other hand, cybersecurity professionals are concerned with improving a website’s defense with authentication and other tools and monitoring the current status of the website.
How do Web Developers and Cybersecurity Teams Work Together?
Cybersecurity vs. web development: who will win? It’s not about their differences, but rather how they can collaborate to make the safest experience possible for all of their clients. The following are ways in which they coordinate their efforts:
Pre-creation and planning: when designing a website, web developers depend on cybersecurity professionals to guide them in how to make their website as safe as possible for their clients with front and back end solutions.
Security testing: cybersecurity professionals will help with the testing process to ensure that the website has top-notch protections.
Potential threats: in addition to testing the current safety of the website, web developers and cybersecurity professionals will create models for potential threats that may try to reach their databases.
Patches and monitoring: web development and cybersecurity teams have to monitor their websites and update their systems continuously since there will be hackers that try to infiltrate their systems.
Incident response plan: data breaches happen so they both need to be ready to enact their incident response plan. Where cybersecurity professionals normally lead these procedures of identification, analysis, and eradication of the malware, web developers will handle securing the information and making the website safe once again.
Both cybersecurity and web development are two huge parts of the tech world; as the internet continues to grow thanks to efforts of web developers to build and design more, netizens need to trust the services they use, which are fortunately under the watchful eye of cybersecurity professionals. These professions are supporting one another all in the hopes of making and maintaining a fantastic user experience.
If you are interested in either one of these fields, check out the courses page where you can start your journey in the tech world. Choosing to be a builder, designer, or protector of the internet: you can’t go wrong!