Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2

23 Replies - 1754 Views - Last Post: 12 January 2016 - 04:45 PM

#1 project21124   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 5
  • View blog
  • Posts: 62
  • Joined: 02-February 14

Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 11 January 2016 - 11:18 PM

I'm a junior in high school, and I've been programming in various languages for over two years, and in C++ for a little over a year(off and on). I've started learning assembly, and I've done some reverse-engineering in the past. I have a good background in mathematics(I'll be taking Calculus 2 in my senior year), and I love algorithmic programming and AI/machine learning.

I'm looking for a school that is known for its security/computer science programming degrees. I want to find a school that focuses its main efforts towards tech degrees, and actually has a relevant CS program.

Preferably, the program would include C/C++/x64 and other low-level programming concepts, and a focus on mathematics(Calc 3, difeq, linear algebra, etc).

Does anyone know if there even is a school that exists that will teach this sort of thing? Academically, I will have a 32+ ACT and 3.75+ GPA by graduation, if that helps you at all.

Thanks so much for your help in this search, I really do appreciate it.

Is This A Good Question/Topic? 0
  • +

Replies To: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

#2 macosxnerd101   User is offline

  • Games, Graphs, and Auctions
  • member icon




Reputation: 12688
  • View blog
  • Posts: 45,877
  • Joined: 27-December 08

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 11 January 2016 - 11:35 PM

Quote

Preferably, the program would include C/C++/x64 and other low-level programming concepts

You generally get these in your computer organization and operating systems classes. These are standard CS classes.

Quote

a focus on mathematics(Calc 3, difeq, linear algebra, etc).

Theoretical computer science is on the other end of the spectrum from the low-level security and architecture courses. Most CS programs require the math courses you mentioned. Based on your mention of ML, I'm not quite sure what your leanings are exactly. And being in high school, they have time to change. Mine certainly have fluctuated a bit since high school. From your interests, there might be a couple types of math courses relevant to you:
-Discrete Math
-Stochastic Processes

The Discrete Math consists of topics including number theory, combinatorics, graph theory, cryptography, and algebra. It's a rich subject which flirts with CS. If these topics interest you, then you should check out the math department to get a better flavor what upper-level classes in this area they offer.

ML is different than AI in that no actual learning is occurring. ML relies heavily on stochastic processes and linear algebra. It basically refines models and pulls out perceivable patterns. Stochastic processes may occur in the stats department, the math department, or the operations research/ISE department. It depends on the school.

A lot of upper level math is also about ideas, not crunching numbers. Your only experience with proofs is likely high school geometry. If you want a better feel for Math in CS, check out our Computer Science Tutorials section for a list of topics.

You'll likely get better feedback on individual schools if you can narrow down your area some. It's hard to suggest schools for undergraduate, as your expressed interests are broad and fairly well covered in standard CS programs. When you look at grad schools, then you really narrow down potential schools based on parameters such as faculty.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#3 project21124   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 5
  • View blog
  • Posts: 62
  • Joined: 02-February 14

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 07:39 AM

Ok, so maybe I should go for a double degree? One that focuses on the low-level programming, and then a different degree that has the more theoretical programming in combination with the math topics you mentioned?

And I have experience with proofs from my Calculus class, we proved at least half of the concepts that we use.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#4 modi123_1   User is offline

  • Suitor #2
  • member icon



Reputation: 15557
  • View blog
  • Posts: 62,284
  • Joined: 12-June 08

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 07:44 AM

Searching "information assurance college" tends to pull up options.. example.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#5 project21124   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 5
  • View blog
  • Posts: 62
  • Joined: 02-February 14

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 07:52 AM

That looks interesting, I'll try looking using that term.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#6 project21124   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 5
  • View blog
  • Posts: 62
  • Joined: 02-February 14

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 07:58 AM

Definitely very interesting, that degree includes low-level programming, discrete math, and number theory. I'm not sure if the program actually teaches asm though, which I would think is necessary for any self-respecting security degree.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#7 modi123_1   User is offline

  • Suitor #2
  • member icon



Reputation: 15557
  • View blog
  • Posts: 62,284
  • Joined: 12-June 08

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 08:02 AM

Quote

which I would think is necessary for any self-respecting security degree.

... and you would be wrong.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#8 project21124   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 5
  • View blog
  • Posts: 62
  • Joined: 02-February 14

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 08:12 AM

Well that just doesn't make sense. Coming from the other side of the security war, knowing asm is a fundamental part of being able to make hard-to-detect malicious programs. I'm just surprised that a security degree doesn't teach such an integral part of programming...the very basics of every other language.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#9 modi123_1   User is offline

  • Suitor #2
  • member icon



Reputation: 15557
  • View blog
  • Posts: 62,284
  • Joined: 12-June 08

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 08:14 AM

Information assurance is way, way larger than being some kiddie cracking games.

Broaden the mind...

... It's 'En vogue' to "free your mind"..
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#10 project21124   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 5
  • View blog
  • Posts: 62
  • Joined: 02-February 14

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 08:33 AM

View Postmodi123_1, on 12 January 2016 - 03:14 PM, said:

Information assurance is way, way larger than being some kiddie cracking games.

Broaden the mind...

... It's 'En vogue' to "free your mind"..


I'm not talking about about some kiddie cracking games...I'm talking about writing kernel drivers that leave no trace, knowing how to use the RT section in ntdll.dll, knowing how to execute your code without ever needing to place an exe on the hard drive. Using code caving techniques, dll injection, jumping your code from process to process, etc, etc.


Even from a non-security standpoint, many people don't know what happens when a new thread is created, or even how memory works in their C++ program. It's all been abstracted into libraries, and people just use them blindly without understanding the important concepts of true low level programming.

In other words, I just don't understand how learning less of the fundamentals of something, is "freeing my mind". To me it seems like an effort to generalize the degree, and make it more accessible to people who don't want to learn the literal ins and outs of real security.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#11 modi123_1   User is offline

  • Suitor #2
  • member icon



Reputation: 15557
  • View blog
  • Posts: 62,284
  • Joined: 12-June 08

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 08:45 AM

A degree is an approximate collection of knowledge bundled under a heading. Typically degrees expand one's provincial view of "how things are" and bring them into a larger, more cohesive, picture. Great, so you like cracking games and making viruses. Wunderbar. That is one small niche of the entire theater of information security and assurance. If you refuse to understand that then.. well.. that's your baggage sport.

I hate to use the example but that schlock show 'Scorpion' on CBS. Different people highlight different faucets of a larger problem solving group. If it was a show just about one guy that would be boring and worse than it currently is. A degree broadens that horizon you come in with to make you a better candidate that has a larger knowledge base on a swath of areas.

If you want to take assembly courses - well, go nuts. That's why the Good Lord created "electives".

So yes, please, junior in high school who is having issues googling a degree program, how the entire wide world of security and information assurance happens as if I don't have experience in the area.

Posted Image

(It's rare, but I'll be _that_ guy right now..)
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#12 project21124   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 5
  • View blog
  • Posts: 62
  • Joined: 02-February 14

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 08:54 AM

I'm sorry, I'm very new to the whole "college" thing, so I really don't know how degrees work, to be honest. I just want to be sure that whatever degree I choose, isn't going to teach me Python and Javascript, you know? I've spent all this time learning these languages and math, I just want to put it all into the right degree, at the right school. So, do you think that an IA degree would give me the flexibility to learn both low-level programming, and higher math + ML? In your opinion, given the parameters that I mentioned before, is an Information Assurance degree the best fit for those things?

This post has been edited by macosxnerd101: 12 January 2016 - 09:00 AM
Reason for edit:: No need to quote the post above yours. There is a Reply button at the bottom of the page

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#13 macosxnerd101   User is offline

  • Games, Graphs, and Auctions
  • member icon




Reputation: 12688
  • View blog
  • Posts: 45,877
  • Joined: 27-December 08

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 08:59 AM

Quote

And I have experience with proofs from my Calculus class, we proved at least half of the concepts that we use.

This is good experience, but not indicative of how the rigor in upper level math and CS theory courses.

Quote

Well that just doesn't make sense. Coming from the other side of the security war, knowing asm is a fundamental part of being able to make hard-to-detect malicious programs. I'm just surprised that a security degree doesn't teach such an integral part of programming...the very basics of every other language.

Security degrees usually fall under the heading of Information Systems- more business and practical than as technical as you are describing. Lots of CS programs offer security specializations and minors. That's more up your alley.

And before you start shredding CS programs, get through the operating systems course. After that, there are upper division and graduate level security, organization, and architecture courses for which you will be better prepared.

Quote

I just want to be sure that whatever degree I choose, isn't going to teach me Python and Javascript, you know?

Any decent CS program does not do this.

Quote

I've spent all this time learning these languages and math, I just want to put it all into the right degree, at the right school.

It'll likely be a year or two before you get to take interesting classes. You'll spend freshman year working through prereqs, even if you have boatloads of AP credits up front. I'll clue you in on something else- most schools are good schools. Your choice of school becomes the right school once you start taking advantage of the opportunities available. My undergraduate school was my last choice when I was your age. However, in my four years, I got one hell of an education and met lots of great folks. My undergraduate program prepared me quite well for graduate studies in my area.

Quote

So, do you think that an IA degree would give me the flexibility to learn both low-level programming, and higher math + ML? In your opinion, given the parameters that I mentioned before, is an Information Assurance degree the best fit for those things?

Different schools have different names for things. Again, narrow down some schools, visit, talk to students there, and talk to an adviser in the CS department. These people are in the best position to answer your questions.
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#14 jon.kiparsky   User is online

  • Beginner
  • member icon


Reputation: 11821
  • View blog
  • Posts: 20,031
  • Joined: 19-March 11

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 09:01 AM

View Postproject21124, on 12 January 2016 - 10:12 AM, said:

Well that just doesn't make sense. Coming from the other side of the security war, knowing asm is a fundamental part of being able to make hard-to-detect malicious programs. I'm just surprised that a security degree doesn't teach such an integral part of programming...the very basics of every other language.


I'm not going to have much to say about what should and should not be included in a particular degree program, but you're certainly wrong to think that assembly is the "basics" of other languages. It happens to be the case that C translates very transparently into assembly, but most languages in use today are high-level languages, and as such do not translate directly into machine representation.
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#15 modi123_1   User is offline

  • Suitor #2
  • member icon



Reputation: 15557
  • View blog
  • Posts: 62,284
  • Joined: 12-June 08

Re: Looking for colleges with their main focus being Software/Security

Posted 12 January 2016 - 09:06 AM

Quote

so I really don't know how degrees work, to be honest.

Then talk to your school guidance counselor. Really.. do. That's what they get paid the big bucks for.

Quote

I've spent all this time learning these languages and math, I just want to put it all into the right degree, at the right school.

Then do your darn research. Every school with a program shows you the graduation requirements for their degree... online.. it is not that hard to filter and see what folks are doing.

Quote

So, do you think that an IA degree would give me the flexibility to learn both low-level programming, and higher math + ML?

Look at the degree requirements.

Quote

given the parameters that I mentioned before, is an Information Assurance degree the best fit for those things?

It's your life you make the choice. If you don't start making choices then you have zero personal accountability because you can easily blame "that guy on the internet told me wrong" or "Suzie didn't say it would be like this". Welcome to being a semi adult. Gather your data, firmly grasp your proverbial pair, and be the captain of your own destiny.
Was This Post Helpful? 2
  • +
  • -

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2