Software Development vs. Cybersecurity: Which career is for you?

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    hen we’re looking to get post-secondary education or upgrade our skills, we are often certain of what industry we want to be a part of. However, what we may be uncertain of is specifically what we want to do or which job we want to have. 

    There are many exciting and emerging jobs in technology, and because some aspects of these jobs can overlap, it can be difficult to come to a decision. This is often the case for people deciding between Software Development and Cybersecurity. 

    The very first thing we need to do when it comes to this is to understand and define what both cybersecurity and software development are, because as professions, they do serve different purposes. 

    What do software development and cybersecurity entail? 

    What the software development jobs entail is being closely involved with specific project areas. They are involved with writing code, driving the software development life cycle overall, turning requirements on paper into workable features, and conducting software testing and maintenance, all while working across different functional teams. The goals of software development include creating and upkeeping the software, possibly for multiple clients. 

    While there are aspects of cybersecurity that are similar to software development, such as coding and working with programming languages, the job itself is inherently different. Cybersecurity professionals are focused on protecting systems, programs, and networks from digital or cyberattacks. The areas of these attacks are usually targeted toward changing, destroying, accessing and stealing sensitive and confidential information, extortion or simply disturbing the business targeted in general. 

    Comparing software development and cybersecurity programs

    One of the best things you can do if you’re conflicted about taking a software development course versus a cybersecurity diploma program is to go on each program’s respective course page and compare what they offer. Let’s go through some of the key components of what ABM College’s software development program offers versus the cybersecurity program. Overall, there’s not much overlap between the courses. 

    Software development: 

    • Programming Fundamentals
    • Computer Programming with C, C++, C#
    • UX and UI Design Fundamentals 
    • Java, JavaScript, and jQuery
    • Introduction to IoT (Internet of things) and Networking


    • Cisco Networking - Routing & Switching
    • Computer Science Cryptology
    • Active Directory Infrastructure
    • PC Computer Service: Software & Hardware
    • Windows Client Operating System Configuration


    • Scripting and Programming 

    If you’re conflicted about which one you should take, consider which ones fit well with your personality and what you want to do. Taking a software development diploma, for example, will give you the ability to freelance and have more input and creativity in the projects you create. With cybersecurity, you will be more focused on how to keep the systems from being hacked and taking rapid action when it happens. 

    You will also need to possess different traits according to which job you go into. Cybersecurity professionals should have logical thinking, organizational skills, mental alertness while performing routine tasks, and decisiveness, creativity, and flexibility in order to solve problems such as security challenges and breaches effectively. Meanwhile, software developers should possess and enjoy being creative, performing tasks that require precision, having a structured approach to their work, and finishing tasks by the deadline. They need to be precise in their work but not necessarily alert at all times. 

    Switching between the two careers in the future 

    If you’re in software development and want to transition to cybersecurity or vice versa, it’s definitely possible, but it may require additional training to get there. For software developers, you may have to get information on systems such as Cisco Enterprise and how to configure hardware infrastructures to transition. For cybersecurity professionals, to go into development jobs you may need to learn additional programming languages.  

    The good thing to note is that both careers require very similar non-technical soft skills and require you to be analytical, so transitioning from one to the other shouldn’t be too hard. Especially, since they have the same occupational interests of being innovative, methodical, and directive. You can learn more about these interests on the Government of Canada’s website

    Which of these careers is more in demand? 

    Currently in Canada, there’s a shortage of professionals in cybersecurity and companies are increasingly looking for someone to fill that position. Software developers are always high in demand and will be for the foreseeable future. 

    Whichever route you choose to go, you can be sure that you will have a bright future and career ahead of you, and you can always switch careers in the future if you decide to do something different. 

    So, while software development and cybersecurity may seem similar and part of the same IT industry, they are still very different in what skills they require and what goals they want to achieve. You can also explore the differences yourself by checking out ABM College’s course information pages on cybersecurity and software development and doing additional research through helpful and reliable resources like government websites. 

    For more information, contact us now to inquire about our programs or visit our blog for more industry and educational information. You can also take our college readiness quiz where we help you pick the most exciting and enjoyable program for you.

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