#### Binary numbers

Binary math powers everything a computer does, from creating and routing IP addresses to running a security client’s operating system. It’s a mathematical language that uses only the values “0” and “1” in combination.

__Computer networks__ “speak” in binary, so cybersecurity professionals need to understand how it works. Fortunately, many computer science courses introduce students to binary as part of the curriculum.

#### Boolean algebra

Boolean algebra is used extensively in __computer programming__. It’s a kind of algebra that describes logical operations using two values, “true” (represented by the digit 0) and “false” (represented by the digit 1). Boolean algebra manipulates those values using the logical function AND and OR.

Unlike other forms of algebra, Boolean doesn’t involve any numerical calculations. The answer is either “yes” or “no,” which is why it’s been so useful in computer coding.

Many cybersecurity training programs require you to have some knowledge of programming languages like __Python__ or __Java__. When you study computer science, you’ll learn the kinds of Boolean logic used in cybersecurity. While you can build that knowledge by earning a __degree in computer science__, remember that individual courses can catch you up to speed on foundational topics.

#### Complex numbers

If you studied __linear algebra__ in high school or college, you may have encountered complex numbers. A complex number is a term that includes a numeral and the letter *i, *which stands for “imaginary.” An imaginary number is the square root of -1, because the principles of math don’t allow that number to exist.

Complex numbers pop up in various cybersecurity processes, so knowing them can give you an edge. You’ll learn about them if you study college algebra. Enroll in the __DoaneX College Algebra__ course and start learning today.

#### Cryptography

__Cryptography__ is the scientific discipline that underlies all of cybersecurity, information security, and network security. It uses math to encode communications and protect computer systems from unwanted intruders, while making sure that authorized users have the access they need.

The math used in cryptography can be very simple or highly advanced. More advanced cryptography is usually the domain of high-level engineers, who design and refine the complex algorithms that keep systems safe.

Cryptography is the kind of skill that you’ll use and develop throughout your cybersecurity career. To start out, it’s enough to grasp the basics.

### Math and cybersecurity: What do you need to know and when?

An understanding of binary numbers, Boolean and linear algebra, and cryptography can help you in your pursuit of a cybersecurity career. These are also the math skills you’ll need if you want to work toward different __cybersecurity certifications__, which employers may look for from entry-level candidates.

You might eventually use more advanced skills if you become a cybersecurity scholar or higher-level cybersecurity engineer. By that point, you’ll have had plenty of time to develop your math knowledge.

You may also study advanced topics like __calculus__ if you pursue an __online master’s__ or bachelor’s degree, but doing so isn’t a requirement. Plenty of bootcamps and intensive online programs, including edX’s __Professional Certificate in Essentials of Cybersecurity__ from UWashingtonX, will teach you the skills you need to succeed.

### Getting started: Learning math in context with edX

Cybersecurity is a highly technical career field, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a math whiz to succeed. You can succeed with the math basics taught in computer science.

If you don’t have a computer science background, or if you need a refresher, edX’s __computer science courses__ can teach you the math you need in the context you’ll use it. edX also offers a variety of math courses with skills applicable across disciplines, from __algebra__ to __data analysis__. Learn more about __edX math courses__ today, and get started on your way to a cybersecurity career.