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The Admin's Guide to Secure Coding Training Success

Streamline your secure coding training initiatives with our comprehensive resource hub.

Discover best practices, strategies, and tools to empower developers, measure success, and drive a security-first culture within your organization.

What is Secure Coding Training?

Proactively Secure Your Products


Secure coding training is a type of software development training that focuses on teaching developers how to write code that is secure and less susceptible to cyberattacks. The goal of secure coding is to create software designed with security in mind rather than trying to patch vulnerabilities after they have been discovered.

The Vulnerability Patching Crisis is a severe problem that organizations must address. By addressing it, organizations can reduce their risk of cyberattacks and data breaches. With the right approach, organizations can mitigate the risks associated with the vulnerability patching crisis and ensure the security of their systems and data. 

By providing developers with secure coding training, organizations can reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents caused by vulnerable software. This type of training is essential in finance, healthcare, and government industries, where data security is a critical concern.

Popular Secure Coding Training Topics

Secure coding training can cover a wide range of topics, depending on the organization's specific needs and requirements and the software being developed.

Some of the most popular secure coding training topics include:

Common Software Vulnerabilities

This includes topics such as injection attacks, cross-site scripting (XSS), cross-site request forgery (CSRF), and others. 

Secure Coding Best Practices

This includes topics such as input validation, error handling, access control, and cryptography.

Security Architecture and Design

This covers topics such as threat modeling, secure design principles, and the use of security patterns and frameworks. 

Specific Programming Languages

This includes topics such as secure coding in Java, C++, Python, and other popular languages. 

Security Testing and Quality Assurance

This includes topics such as vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and code review techniques. 

Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

This includes topics such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and other regulations that require secure coding practices. 

Secure Software Development Lifecycle 

This covers topics such as security requirements gathering, secure design, secure coding, testing, and deployment. 


How Secure Coding Training Fits Into The Shift Left Movement

Developers must prioritize security from the beginning with Shift Left, integrating it into the planning phase of the DevOps timeline. Code should be written with security in mind and tested with security-focused unit tests. Secure coding training is imperative to avoid vulnerabilities and test for them.

Read The Full Article: How Secure Coding Training Fits Into The Shift Left Movement

Most developers are not security experts, nor do they need to be in order to do their jobs effectively. However, developers do need a certain level of knowledge about security and vulnerability management to fight against the growing number of vulnerabilities that reach production code.

Why Investing in Secure Coding Training is Important

Benefits of Secure Coding Training

Secure coding training is a proactive approach to application security that helps developers write secure code from the start. The proactive approach is all about prevention. This means training developers to write secure code from the start, identifying potential weaknesses early on, and integrating security checks throughout the development process.

By investing in secure coding training, organizations can ensure that security is integrated into the software development process from the outset, reducing the likelihood of vulnerabilities being introduced in the first place.

Key strategies in this approach include:

  • Secure coding training that educates developers on best practices and common pitfalls  
  • Threat modeling to anticipate attack surfaces and implement safeguards  
  • The integration of various security testing tools (SAST, DAST, IAST)  
  • Embracing A "security by design" philosophy where security is woven into the software's architecture from its inception  

This proactive approach significantly reduces the number of vulnerabilities that need patching, easing the burden on security teams and minimizing the window of opportunity for attackers. 

Read The Article: Proactive vs. Reactive: Why Waiting for a Breach to Invest in Secure Coding Training is a Costly Mistake

In addition, secure coding training fosters a security-conscious culture within development teams. Developers become active participants in security, not just passive recipients of vulnerability reports. This collaborative approach leads to faster issue identification and remediation, further strengthening the organization's defenses. 


Myth: Secure Coding Slows You Down. Truth: It Speeds You Up!

The notion that secure coding training hinders developer productivity is a dangerous misconception. Investing in quality training leads to robust, secure software, which can save substantial time and resources in the long run.

When calculating the cost of deploying secure coding training for your team, you also have to take into account the cost of not deploying secure coding training—the cost of insecure code in your product. Sure, your team may be able to create and push code out quickly, but a single bug found after release can trigger an entire cycle of patching, testing, and redeployment. 

In a 2024 Study on Secure Coding Training, 54 percent of respondents suffered a security incident due to an unpatched vulnerability, and only 11 percent of organizations believe they can effectively patch vulnerabilities in a timely manner.

Security vulnerabilities aren't just a theoretical risk. They lead to real-world problems:

  • Decrease Consumer Trust - High-profile breaches erode customer trust and inflict lasting reputational harm, potentially affecting the bottom line.
  • Compliance Oversight—Regulatory bodies enforcing GDPR or HIPAA can levy hefty fines for data protection failures caused by insecure code.

  • Additional Costs - These costs add up far faster than the supposed slowdown from secure coding training. 

By shifting left and prioritizing secure coding practices, vulnerabilities are addressed proactively, reducing costly rework and the negative consequences of potential security incidents. Modern secure coding training, when designed and delivered effectively, empowers developers to write more secure code and do so with greater efficiency.

How Effective is Secure Coding Training?


Secure Coding Training vs. Bug Bounty Programs

Bug bounty programs and secure coding training are both crucial for application security. However, while bug bounty programs are reactive, secure coding training is a proactive approach that helps prevent vulnerabilities.

Ultimately, a comprehensive approach that combines secure coding training and bug bounty programs can help organizations improve application security. 

Read The Full Article

Secure Coding Training vs. Code Scanning Tools

Tools are helpful but can't fix the root cause of vulnerabilities. Developers should write secure code initially, and code scanning tools should only supplement secure coding efforts. 

After reviewing the data, EMA believes the best approach to secure software development is a combination of code reviews, code scanning tools, and a stronger emphasis on continuous, third-party training.

Read The Full Article
Wave Decoration

Building and Facilitating a Secure Coding Training Program

Your Step-By-Step Guide

Navigating the world of application security can be complex and challenging. That's why we have gathered some key insights from our customers and experts at Security Journey to create a guide to help you get started with your secure coding training program.  

Remember that every organization is different, and you can adapt these recommendations to meet your specific needs. This article will talk you through the key steps of building the ideal secure coding training program, for more detailed advice, you can download the guide here. 


Step 1: Start By Planning Your Secure Coding Training Program

Focusing on one or two program goals can help you measure key performance indicators and better determine the success of your program.

We usually see three main program goals from our clients:


Step 2: Pulling Secure Coding Baseline Data

If you don’t collect data before starting your secure coding training program, you won’t be able to measure the success of your program accurately.

Key Metrics to Collect:

  • Total Vulnerabilities  
  • Critical and High Vulnerabilities  
  • Types of Security Tickets
  • Number of Security Tickets  
  • Remediation Time on Security Tickets  
  • Severity of Tickets (Critical vs Low) 
  • Cost to Remediate Vulnerabilities 


Step 3: Internal Communications for Your Secure Coding Training Program

Open and thorough communications will help you achieve internal buy-in for your new program and keep your learners engaged throughout the training process: 

  • Create and Deliver an Executive Presentation to the Leadership Team
  • Share a Summary of this Presentation at Your Company Town Hall
  • Announce the Training Program in a Live Discussion with Learners
  • Program Kick-Off Event
  • Keep Up with Email and Slack Notifications 

When you’re ready to start your secure coding training program, start with a fun kick-off event to spark interest, identify potential champions, and leave everyone buzzing about security. 


Step 4: Selecting Your Training Paths

Security Journey offers a wide array of training content for everyone within your SDLC. Through video and hands-on lesson modalities, you can find content based on language, topic, role, compliance, and more.

  • Meeting Regulatory Compliance - Start with a compliance content refresh every year, then focus on progressive language-specific content and critical threats to your product in the second half of the year.
  • Creating a Proactive Program—Focus on moving from foundational through advanced training content that is role-specific or language-specific for the learner. Then, include content covering the OWASP Top 10 and critical threats to your product.
  • Recovering from an Incident or Vulnerability—Focus on your product's top threats and vulnerabilities while broadening your developer's skillsets through progressive learning.

With continuous secure coding training paths, you can meet your organization's immediate needs and broaden your team's skills for long-term benefits to product security. 


Step 5: Incorporating Tournaments For Engagement

We recommend running tournaments at least every 6 months to keep your learners engaged. You can use tournaments for many functions, including: 

  • To kick off a new program 
  • To assess learners’ knowledge 
  • To help learners apply their knowledge 
  • In support of Cybersecurity Awareness Month 

Helpful Blog Post: Driving Engagement with Secure Coding Training Tournaments: 3 Tips for Success 


Step 6: Appoint Your Security Champions

A Security Champion helps raise awareness and promote security best practices within their team or organization. They don't necessarily need to be security experts themselves, but they play a crucial role in bridging the gap between security professionals and development teams. 

Helpful Podcast: The Recipe for Success with Security Champions Programs 


Step 7: Measuring Your Secure Coding Training Program

Accurately measuring your program's success is crucial to its long-term success. Admins should be able to track critical metrics easily through advanced reporting features on the secure coding training platform.

Measurable knowledge gain is one way to prove your program’s effectiveness and value. At Security Journey, we call this knowledge gain learning swing. The Security Journey learning swing is measured by “before and after” learner self-assessment on an individual lesson basis. Using a five-point scale, learners rate their knowledge of the topic before and after they complete each lesson. The difference between the before and after ratings is the learning swing. Learning swing can be expressed numerically or as a percentage increase. 

Compare this data to your initial baseline measurements every six months to evaluate the program's overall impact. This analysis will highlight trends, inform necessary adjustments, and demonstrate the program's value to stakeholders. 

Security Journey Secure Coding Training Annual

Is Annual Secure Coding Training Enough?

Continuous secure coding training is essential for consistent and robust security. It should be ongoing throughout the year to keep developers updated with the latest security practices and ingrains secure coding as a natural part of their workflow, enhancing the organization's overall security posture.

This proactive approach empowers developers to embed security directly into the development workflow, preventing common vulnerabilities. It minimizes errors caused by oversight or tight deadlines by consistently reinforcing best practices, making secure coding a core habit rather than a disruptive afterthought.

By taking a proactive stance, this approach dramatically reduces the likelihood and impact of software vulnerabilities, ultimately saving substantial costs associated with post-deployment remediation.

Security Journey Secure Coding Training Keys

3 Keys to Successful Secure Coding Training

Secure coding training is vital in secure software development. Traditional methods don't engage developers, leading to poor security understanding, so let's look at 3 keys to successful secure coding training:

Gamification - Make learning fun and engaging with gamification. Think points, badges, and leaderboards to turn security training into a friendly competition amongst developers.  

Microlearning - Developers are more likely to retain information when it's presented in microlearning approaches, where developers can consume short bursts of security training throughout the day ensure regular knowledge reinforcement.  

Realistic Environments - Since developers live and breathe code, give them the opportunity to practice with hands-on, realistic environments. This way, developers can see how secure coding directly protects your applications.   

Security Journey Secure Coding Training Online

Can You Facilitate Secure Coding Training Online?

Online secure coding training provides powerful advantages for truly embedding security within your SDLC because it goes far beyond the simple delivery of information.  

It's particularly effective because it offers scalability, enabling organizations to train a large, geographically dispersed developer workforce without logistical hurdles.  

The self-paced nature of online learning empowers developers to integrate training into their busy schedules, revisiting concepts as needed for deeper understanding.
Gamification and interactive modules transform training from a chore into an engaging experience, leading to better knowledge retention. Hands-on labs and simulated environments let developers safely experiment with attacks and defenses, solidifying security principles in ways lectures alone can't. 

Security Journey Secure Coding Training Gain

Measuring Knowledge Gain in Secure Coding Training Programs

A measurable increase in a learner’s knowledge after completing training is an essential component of any successful education program. After all, the point of investing time and resources into employee education is to make a positive shift towards improved performance. Measurable knowledge gain is one way to prove your program’s effectiveness and value. 

At Security Journey, we call this knowledge gain learning swing. 

Read The Full Article: Learning Swing: Measuring Knowledge Gain in Secure Coding Training Programs

The Security Journey learning swing is measured by “before and after” learner self-assessment on an individual lesson basis. Using a five-point scale, learners rate their knowledge of the topic before and after they complete each lesson. The difference between the before and after ratings is the learning swing. Learning swing can be expressed numerically or as a percentage increase. 

Improved security knowledge across all SDLC roles means safer, more secure applications are delivered the first time around, with less developer time devoted to fixing critical code errors after the fact. 

Cost of Secure Coding Training

Measuring the ROI of Secure Coding Training

We are currently in an application security dilemma that stems from growing security concerns, pressure on development teams, and a lack of structured security training. This dilemma is affecting organizations and is why application security has not improved over the last decade.

This video will review the business impact of an application security risk and the cost of secure coding training and show how you can calculate the ROI of secure coding training.

How Secure Coding Training Can Save Your Budget

Budgeting can be a dreaded task when it comes to determining how invested your organization is in your application security. While some may perceive secure coding training as an expense, it's actually an investment that can save your organization money in the long run.

  • Improve The Quality of Your Code - When developers are trained in writing secure code, they also learn about the best practices for software development, such as using proper coding standards, documenting the code, and performing code reviews. These practices can improve code quality overall, saving you considerable money in terms of maintenance and support costs.  
  • Reduce The Cost of Fixing Security Vulnerabilities - A developer who has been trained in secure coding is more likely to be able to identify and fix vulnerabilities early in the development cycle. This is much cheaper than fixing vulnerabilities after the code has been released to production, when the cost of fixing them can be much higher. 
  • Reduce The Risk of Data Breaches and Other Security Incidents - Reducing the risk of security incidents and preventing costly remediation efforts later. This training can also help developers stay up-to-date with the latest security best practices and regulations, ensuring that your organization is always compliant.


Is Free Secure Coding Training Effective? 

These resources come in a variety of formats, including online tutorials that break down complex concepts into manageable steps, basic guides that provide a foundational understanding of secure coding principles, and open-source tools that allow developers to experiment with secure coding techniques in a practical setting.

While these free resources may not offer the in-depth coverage provided by comprehensive paid programs, they can be a valuable starting point. By introducing developers to core secure coding concepts, such as input validation and memory management, these resources can help build a strong foundation of security awareness.

Overall, while free resources can be a helpful starting point for learning about secure coding, they should not be relied upon as the sole source of training. For a more comprehensive and effective learning experience, it's recommended to supplement free resources with paid training programs and support from experienced professionals.

Security Journey's Pricing Structure

The pricing structure for our secure coding training is transparent and flexible, allowing for customization based on the number of licenses required.

Here's an overview of the pricing:

  • Essentials Package - For customers who have significant budgetary constraints, a compliance need, or want to provide basic security training to developers as a starting point 
  • Enterprise Package - For customers who want a full educational program that drives behavior change and drives a security culture in the SDLC  

Contact our team to explore the available secure coding training options and pricing plans. Our team can assist you in selecting the training program that best suits your organization's requirements and budget. 

Secure Coding Training for Compliance

With cybersecurity regularly getting the spotlight, focusing on securing our systems and data has become essential. One of the most efficient ways to start this is with threat modeling. This comprehensive process helps identify a system's possible security risks and vulnerabilities and develop effective strategies to mitigate them. 


Security Journey Secure Coding Training OWASP 10

Aligning Your Secure Coding Training with the OWASP Top 10

To build truly secure applications, it's crucial to align secure coding training with the vulnerabilities outlined in the OWASP Top 10. Doing so ensures developers have the knowledge to prevent potential security breaches, ultimately leading to a more robust and protected web landscape. 

This way, organizations can strategically allocate resources and focus training efforts on the most significant risk areas. Aligning training with the OWASP Top 10 leads to a multitude of benefits. 

This way, organizations can strategically allocate resources and focus training efforts on the most significant risk areas. Aligning training with the OWASP Top 10 leads to a multitude of benefits.

  • Optimizes Efficiency - ensuring developers gain targeted knowledge of the most high-impact security flaws. This eliminates wasted time spent on less common vulnerabilities and ensures developers are well-equipped to address the most pressing threats. 
  • Easier Risk Assessment - By understanding the specific vulnerabilities outlined in the list, teams can streamline pinpointing potential weaknesses in their applications. This proactive approach allows for the implementation of mitigation strategies early in the development lifecycle, ultimately leading to more robust and secure applications. 

The best way to ensure you are covering OWASP Top 10 topics is to create a document mapping the OWASP threat with the training topics to address those threats. 

This approach minimizes errors caused by oversight or tight deadlines by consistently reinforcing best practices. Developers integrate secure coding into their natural workflow, transforming it into a core habit rather than a disruptive afterthought. 

Security Journey Secure Coding Training PCI

What You Need To Know About Secure Coding Training for PCI DSS v4.0 Requirements

The PCI DSS is a set of security requirements that organizations must meet when storing, processing, or transmitting cardholder data. The PCI DSS is designed to help organizations protect cardholder data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification, or destruction.  Many updates and new requirements in PCI DSS v4.0 can be met with continuous secure coding training for your SDLC. 

Secure coding training typically covers topics such as common software vulnerabilities, secure coding best practices, and how to use security tools and techniques to find and fix software vulnerabilities. It may also cover specific programming languages and frameworks and how to write secure code in those contexts. 

PCI DSS v4.0 6.2.2 states: 

“Software development personnel remain knowledgeable about secure development practices; software security; and attacks against the languages, frameworks, or applications they develop. Personnel are able to access assistance and guidance when required.” 

This means that software development personnel are trained annually on: 

  • Software security relevant to their job function and development languages 
  • Secure software design and secure coding techniques 
  • How to use the tools for detailed vulnerabilities in software 

More specific guidelines have been given in PCI DSS v4.0 on how developers should be trained. The training guidelines (stated above) can be easily achieved when you partner with a secure coding training partner for a continuous secure coding training program. 

Wave Decoration

Getting Started with Secure Coding Training

With cybersecurity regularly getting the spotlight, focusing on securing our systems and data has become essential. One of the most efficient ways to start this is with threat modeling. This comprehensive process helps identify a system's possible security risks and vulnerabilities and develop effective strategies to mitigate them. 
Security Journey Secure Coding Training Vendor

In-House or Secure Coding Training Vendor?

In-house secure coding training consists of training content developed and deployed by internal company employees. This can be done by creating content from scratch or pulling individual modules from learning platforms across the internet. 

There are some benefits for organizations that are building their secure coding training in-house, including: 

  • Content Customization—In-house training can be customized to meet the organization's specific needs, including the programming languages and frameworks used, the particular security concerns the organization faces, and the learning style of the employees. 
  • Program and Content Control - When organizations create their secure coding training, they have complete control over the content and delivery of the training. Administrators can deploy training in a modality, timing, and format that aligns with their security culture and goals. 

While having in-house training professionals for secure coding can be useful, creating training content internally has drawbacks. Internal trainers may lack expertise in secure coding, leading to missing content or requiring assistance from security experts. Additionally, creating training without security experts can result in an incomplete curriculum and inconsistent delivery quality that's challenging to maintain.

Read the Full Article: 3 Reasons Why Homegrown Secure Coding Training Falls Short



A secure coding training vendor is a company that provides training content on secure coding practices to developers and other software professionals. Most secure coding training vendors have a library of content on their own platform that organizations pay to have access to.  

There are some benefits for organizations that hire a secure coding training vendor, including: 

  • Quality of Content - Vendors that specialize in secure coding training have the opportunity to employ a team of experts on the security side and the training side to ensure content is accurate and follows generally accepted learning science principles. 
  • Amount of Resources - Secure coding training vendors have the resources to develop and deliver high-quality training materials. This includes developing hands-on exercises and labs, as well as creating engaging and informative presentations. 
  • Convenience for Employees - Hiring a secure coding training vendor is convenient for organizations. The vendor will take care of all aspects of the training, from developing the training materials to delivering the training to the employees. This frees up the organization's time and resources to focus on other priorities. 

Security Journey Secure Coding Training Checklist

Decision-Maker's Checklist for Evaluating Secure Coding Training Platforms 

Choosing the right secure coding training platform requires careful consideration.  To help you with this critical decision, here's a breakdown of the most essential factors to evaluate:

  • Content and Curriculum - Depth, breadth, and alignment with needs
  • Delivery Format and Engagement - Modalities offered, content engagement, and customization options
  • Management and Assessment - Learning path creation, progress tracking, and reporting
  • Features and Support - Ease of use, integrations, support options

Do you want specific questions for decision-makers to ask? Read the full article: Finding the Right Secure Coding Training Platform: A Checklist for Decision-Makers

Security Journey Secure Coding Training Checklist

Admin's Checklist for Evaluating Secure Coding Training Platforms 

While we know that the training content itself is incredibly important, enterprise vendor selection processes are often looking for features that are about more than just the content:

  • Accessibility - WCAG, Section 508, and EN 301 549
  • Integrations - SCIM and SSO/SAML 
  • Security  - SOC 2 Type 2 

Do you want to learn more about accessibility, integrations, and security? Read the full article: Essential Features for Your Secure Coding Training Platform: A Checklist for Admins

Security Journey Secure Coding Training Checklist

Learner's Checklist for Evaluating Secure Coding Training Platforms 

Choosing the right secure coding training provider is crucial to ensure that your learners are engaged and meeting their goals. This checklist includes: 

  • Learner Support with Lessons - In-Platform chat, FAQ, knowledge base
  • Downloadable Resources - Cheat sheets, webinars, industry blogs, and studies
  • Variety of Learning Modalities  - Video lessons, hands-on activities, assessments, and tournaments
  • Gamified Elements - Points, badges, and leaderboards 

Do you want to learn more about essential functionalities for secure coding training learners? Read the full article: Essential Learner Features for Your Secure Coding Training Platform

Tips for Secure Coding Training Success

Drive Engagement and Increase Results


Top 4 Ways To Increase Completion Rates for Secure Coding Training

Security team leaders have told us that a successful rollout of Secure Coding Training software reflects positively on the team overseeing the operation. One of the main metrics by which they're measured is the completion rate. So how do you get developers to not only login but also take and complete their training, which ultimately helps reduce vulnerabilities in your code?

The insights we’ve gained from working with hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of developers can be distilled into the following list of approaches:

  • Accountability - To ensure developers complete their training, some organizations use accountability, such as preventing code check-ins until training is complete. A milder approach is issuing reminders. Communicating the risk of working on production code without security training can motivate developers to complete the training.
  • Offensive Approach - Offensive training is a security methodology that teaches developers how attackers think. It helps them understand the underlying principles of vulnerabilities. This approach enables developers to write more secure code and challenges them with new skills. It's more effective than a defensive approach and helps tap into their problem-solving abilities.
  • Hands-On - Passive training, such as video, slide, or multiple-choice questions, is not effective in engaging developers. Hands-on training, where developers actually write code, is much more engaging and effective for learning.
  • Incentives - Swag is a powerful motivational tool.  Companies have used shirts, coins, and gift cards to encourage developers to complete training. Some people believe incentives aren't necessary, but developers have many priorities. Swag can be an investment to improve product security and is worth the return.

How Tournaments Drive Engagement for Secure Coding Training 

As a program administrator, how do you drive engagement for your learners? You make fun, relevant activities that allow learners to interact with each other… and a great way to accomplish all of that is with secure coding training tournaments. 

Here are three tips to ensure your tournament is successful:

Make Sure the Challenges Are Relevant to Your Developers

To maximize the effectiveness of challenges, it's important to ensure they are targeted toward the actual vulnerabilities that your developers face. The challenges should be based on real-world vulnerabilities and relevant to the languages and frameworks your developers use. This approach will help to ensure that the challenges are productive and valuable for your team. 

Set Clear Goals and Expectations 

Provide your developers with clear expectations regarding the skills they should aim to acquire and the objectives they should strive towards in the tournament. This will help them better understand their role in the competition and work towards achieving the desired outcomes. 

Celebrate Success 

When your developers successfully complete a challenge, be sure to celebrate their success. You can offer different reward levels, from local gift cards to paid time off and even cash prizes. You can also announce winners on internal platforms and social media. 


Empower Your Developers With Customized Secure Coding Training

Security Journey provides a range of secure coding training materials that meet SOC2, WCAG accessibility, and SCIM user management standards. Our training program includes more than 1,000 lessons covering 45 programming languages, top technologies, and frameworks.

We engage your team with podcast-style videos and five different types of interactive lessons. Our content is designed to be technically thorough and aims to develop security champions. By incorporating our coding lessons, development teams can increase their knowledge by up to 85%.