As the study builds up bit by bit, then,
He, who collects no bit, gets no byte!
This is a work in progress:
- 1 Survival Guide for Students of Cybersecurity Engineering (CSE)
- 2 Mindset
- 3 Before the Start of Academical Year
- 4 During
- 4.1 Problems
- 4.2 Classes
- 4.3 Semester 1
- 4.4 Semester 2
- 4.5 Semester 3
- 5 After
- 6 Resources
- 7 Contact & Feedback
Survival Guide for Students of Cybersecurity Engineering (CSE)
This is an ongoing project from the alpha tester. All suggestions are purely recommendations that I wish I knew before the beginning of the school.
Prepare to your mindset, as the first semester will be the most challenging and it should get easier once you acquire the rhythm that suits best for you. The tempo for studying is somewhat high if you haven't in a while or come from straight out of college without any previous knowledge of computers. Make mistakes, ask questions, put in some effort and you'll be fine.
Write down why you decided to apply to this school, for this curriculum. If you haven't done so far, accept your to mistakes. Nobody's perfect and that's how we learn -- by making mistakes. Putting in effort goes a long way. Here are some helpful questions that I copied from Carol S. Dweck's book "Mindset":
- What are the opportunities for learning and growth today?
- When, where and how will I embark on my plan?
- When, where and how will I act on my new plan?
Before the Start of Academical Year
In order of importance. Or not, take your pick what's important to you.
- Follow the news of the industry if you don't do so already. Get a RSS/Atom reader and follow the various news feeds.
- Familiarise yourself with Discrete Math ∨ suffer. One can find several books online, although printed ones are superior to electronic ones, unless one prefers e-readers. Second hand books in a readable state are rather cheap online. See list of math textbooks in booksellers list in resources. Bear in mind that one book is enough and I've heard that it may be even possible to find such books online in PDF format.
- Learn JAVA as much as you can before, so you can study more in class and/or do your project meanwhile. See list of learning resources for links.
- If possible, move closer to school or dormitory to cut down time on the commute.
- Learn to cook. By cooking I don't mean seasoning boiled noodles. Here's a fine example.
- In case it has been a while since one has learned anything or needs to familiarize oneself to studying, check out the infographic on the right, take the online course or read the book.
Majority of the following can be started before the beginning of school year to get in gear.
- Learn to learn. This is the most difficult part.
- Structure your time. Congrats if you're doing well with it.
- Try to keep developing the learning habit and stick to the routine or figure out what works best for you.
- There are no stupid questions. Get over the fear of asking questions. The more the merrier. How to ask good questions is another story altogether. Look it up.
- Get plenty of rest. 8 hours per night, if possible.
- Stay healthy -- invest in vitamins, especially vitamin D in winter due to lack of sun and Ginseng and/or Rhodiola extracts to keep you up and going.
- Attend the classes. Recordings are made, but they are not a substitution to attendance.
- Or if learning curve is too steep, skip the unnecessary classes and learn meanwhile, but really do it, don't imagine it doing. Prioritise classes.
- Attend hackathons. Awesome places for networking and getting some hacker-cred!
- If there is a problem, solve it or seek help. Unattended problems tend to grow out of hand.
- If the problem is in curriculum or school, go see a study counsellor. They are best informed regarding school matters.
- If the problem is of an emotional kind and/or related to depression, motivation you can seek help from the psychologist who speaks English and operates in TUT. The contact is counsellor at ttu (dot) ee. Google translated page can be found here.
- Ex unitate vires -- the strength of unity. Get to know your coursemates. Learning together and/or teaching each other is a simple solution for difficult problems.
In the beginning of first semester you have 6 courses. It's going to be mad, so do as much as possible at school. Stay late, as college building is a surprisingly good place to study. Also, if you comprehend a little Estonian, attend the weekend classes for distance learning students: if you fail to comprehend something in Java or Math then this is a good way to recap.
Cisco Networking Academy's course read by Roman Kuchin, by the end of which you'll get a CCNA certificate (if you pass). Be aware that the tempo is quite high - 2 Cisco semesters during fall semester! That is 8 weeks per Cisco semester, which consists of parts 1 and 2, so 25 labs per semester, about 50 in total, about hour to hour and a half per lab, plus chapter exams. Read, the chapter and do the chapter exam on netacad and read for the next lecture. This way you'll understand better what is said during the lecture. Also, this course is a prerequisite for Intro to CS. Again, collaborate! If in hurry, do the labs on packet tracer but nothing beats doing them IRL.
Grading: Online exams and practical labs must be done before the exam date (preferably by Christmas), to be admitted to the exam, which is in late January.
Which is Java and is read by Mikk Mangus. If I would take this again, I'd skip the classes and study the book & practice more on my own. Practicums are sometimes interesting. There is no homework, sometimes lecturer remembers to remind to read a chapter from the book. The pace is a chapter per week.
Grading: Two tests in November, your own project by the beginning of December and exam in January. Own project can be anything but has to have several classes and have a git repository.
You know math or are good at it? Help others out. Seriously, this is the most difficult subject. It is read by the professor Jaan Penjam from Institute of Cybernetics, TUT. Recommend getting a textbook.
Grading: Ongoing quizzes (9*2%) in practicum, after lecture. Midterm test (20%) and a final test (20%) before exam (42%) in January.
The basics of computers with some in-depth stuff, like debugging VHDL. Read by Lauri Võsandi.
Grading: Ongoing assessment in practicums and exam in January.
Social, Ethical and Professional Issues in IT
Rather interesting lectures read by Kaido Kikkas on computer and hacker history and related topics.
Grading: A quiz in the first practicum about computer related history and trivia in a computer lab where you'll be using the Web to find the answers. Practicum attendance is a must, max 3 total non-attendances allowed. 1-2 written essays (2k words) with presentations.
Oral and Written Communication Skills
Valuable English language taught by Kärt Rummel. Be prepared to get over stage fright as you will have to present your writings (letters of motivation, informative and persuasive arguments etc) in front of your class.
Grading: Ongoing assessment - do your homework, attend your classes and you'll be fine. >=51% rate of attendance and participation in final round-table is necessary to pass.
Networking is a pre-requisite.
Security is not a state but a process. Make sure your network is more secure than your neighbour's. Don't trust technology - it does not solve the problem, it moves the problem to some other place. Test your security. DevOps + enemy's tools.
As with a good graphic designer, your work (probably) will not be noticed or commended unless something goes (horribly) wrong. Paraphrased from Erowid's Sysadmin article.
Never stop being curious. There is a Calvin and Hobbes comic that (maybe) illustrates this perfectly but I spent too much time searching it and got distracted by imgur so maybe it will be here by the end of my studies.
Textbooks for Discrete Math
As recommended by math professor on his homepage.
- Susanna S. Epp's book is supposedly easier to follow, although with any book time and practice are prerequisites to gain knowledge on the subject.
- Kenneth H. Rosen's 'Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications' is suggested by Disc. Math professor. If you go with this one, also get the 'Student Solutions Guide For Discrete Mathematics And Its Applications' as well. At the time of writing, the newest version is 7th edition but new ones cost in multiples more. The difference is probably minimal errata.
- 'Schaum's Outline of Discrete Mathematics' by S.Lipschutz and M.Lipson is another recommendation as well as 'Discrete mathematics: elementary and beyond' by L. Lovász, J. Pelikán and K. Vesztergombi.
List of booksellers
In order of personal preference.
Amazon in £. Listing update is slow. Had one book refunded due to it. Although, as the prices for books might be cheaper than in EU, it is a hassle to get all the necessary books from one seller because of the (relatively) pricey shipping fees. On the other hand, if you're lucky, then the courier will bring the order to your doorstep.
eBay in €! Usually mail order, prices and shipping costs are varied. Any parcel bigger than A4 envelope and 20 mm thickness will be kept at your local postal branch and you'll get a notification by snail mail or an SMS if there's a phone number on address slip.
AbeBooks in £. Lists European booksellers as well. Pricey shipping. €8 per book from UK?!
Book Deposiory in €.
ThriftBooks in $. Unfortunately no personal experience with the last three.
- Codingbat is an awesome place for Java problems.
- David Eck's book Java Notes is well put together book introducing Java. Homework in class.
- Git courses on Codecademy will get you kickstarted.
Contact & Feedback
If you have any further questions or comments, then you are free to contact me at artur at kerge (dot) eu or for non-urgent things, start a discussion on the page and/or edit it straight away. Also you can check out my awesome homepage!