Some people think that security researchers need to be ex-hackers to be effective.
Other people think that you can train a person to become a security researcher and they will be able to do their job just fine.
But the simple truth is that no matter if you are a natural hacker or a trained security researcher, you will need to know the inner workings of the computer in order to become exceptional at your job.
Sure, you might be able to get away with just knowing the basics, but if you really want to make a name for yourself and excel in the industry then you will need to know computers and networks inside and out.
You should be able to take that information and use it to your advantage.
Start With Operating Systems
The first class that you should take to be a computer researcher is an intro to operating systems class.
No matter if you are going to be working on desktop security or maintaining the security for your company’s network, you will still have to deal with the desktop.
Even on a server, the operating system is still the thing that rules all.
Most hacker attacks will result in them finding some way that they are able to exploit the operating system.
They can do this because they have studied the operating system and how it works.
If you want to be able to counteract an attack such as this, you will need to be able to know the moving parts of an operating system as well.
This is not something that should be taken lightly.
If your opponent, who is the black hat hacker, knows more than you do, then they have already half way won the game.
The next thing that you should study if you go to college is how networks work.
Most hacks are delivered over the internet so knowing how the internet and smaller networks work is essential for being able to stop an attack.
You need to know the theories behind the seven layers of the network and what certain protocols such TCP, HTTP, UDP and others mean.
What is more important is that you should know how these protocols interact with each other.
This way, if need be, you will be able to read an attack and counteract it on the fly.
The last class that you should take in school to get ready for your career in computer security is a business course.
Computer security these days is more than just trying to find and stop exploits from happening on the network.
You must also be able to interact with the people who work in these businesses as well.
Knowing how to speak their language is a big advantage in doing this.
You don’t have to minor in business to accomplish this but taking one or two classes would not hurt.
If you are going to college and want to get into a career of computer security, then these classes will definitely help you along.