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This course is part of the Network Security and Defence ExpertTrack

Network Security and Defence: A History of IT

Delve into IT infrastructure and explore the history of information technology (IT), information systems (IS), and cyber security.

  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    5 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Included in an ExpertTrack

    Course 2 of 5
  • Get full ExpertTrack access

    $39/monthFind out more

Develop your understanding of the IT industry and network security

This two-week course delves into five generations of IT and IS to provide you with a historical perspective on the development of technologies and better understanding of the emerging digital opportunities for organisations today.

Discover the history of IT, from vacuum tubes to AI

Stepping back 80 years to vacuum tubes in the first generation of computers, this course will walk you through five generations of innovation. You’ll explore the invention of transistors, integrated circuits, microprocessors, and artificial intelligence. You’ll discover the history of computers and see just how far the IT industry has come.

Apply history to modern cyber security

Through a historical lens, you’ll have a chance to explore IT infrastructure, web servers, intranet, extranet, URLs, domain names, web systems, languages, application infrastructure and media standards. Understanding the history means you can better assess the vulnerabilities, historically and today.

Explore real-world cyber threats and cloud security

In the second week of this course, you’ll look at evolving technologies such as cloud security, and evaluate common types of cyber threats. You’ll think about where they come from and how they’ve evolved, as well as non-web-based attacks.

By the end of the course, you should have a clearer understanding of network management and how it relates to cyber threats.


  • Week 1

    Historical Context

    • Welcome to Network Defence Management: A History of IT

      Welcome to a new week of Network Defence Management.

    • A history of Information Technology (IT) and Information Systems (IS)

      In this activity, we guide you through the five generations of computers and networks.

    • Computer networks

      In this activity, we introduce you to the technical aspects of a computer network and ask you to consider the implications of legacy technology.

    • Summary

      Reflect on the activities that you have done this week and find out what is coming up next week.

  • Week 2

    Technology Changes and Cyber Threats

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Introduction to Week 2.

    • Cloud technology

      In this activity, we introduce you to cloud technology and consider some of the security risks.

    • Cyber threats

      In this activity, we examine the range of cyber attacks, where they originate from and how they have evolved over recent years.

    • A summary of the course

      Review what you have learned during this short course and look at what's coming up next.

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the history of IT
  • Explore IT infrastructure
  • Explore network management and cyber threats

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone looking to build their understanding of cyber security and network defence management.

Who developed the course?

Coventry University

Coventry secured 5 QS Stars for Teaching and Online Learning in the QS World University Ranking 2020 and has received No. 1 in the world for Massive Open Online Courses in MoocLab’s World University Ranking 2021.

  • Established

  • Location


About this ExpertTrack

Develop the essential cyber security knowledge and skills you need to prevent, detect and recover from network security incidents.

Start learning today - free 2-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
  • Keep access to the content of courses you complete even after your subscription ends

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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