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Learn OAuth with online courses and programs

If you’re interested in how to learn OAuth, explore courses delivered through edX. Learn how developers implement the authorization framework in real-world projects and how to get the most out of its security features.

What is OAuth?

OAuth is an open authorization framework that allows one platform to access resources on a different platform without the need for users to hand over their credentials.Footnote 1 It's billed as a secure alternative to traditional authenticators and works over HTTPS to authorize access to other applications and APIs.

OAuth is commonly used to create a new account on a service, with an existing account from a different platform, and to grant special permissions to a third party. In both cases, OAuth can grant restricted access without your username or password. It keeps user authentication out of the equation to reduce the amount of information exchanged between platforms that can identify you.Footnote 2

OAuth works through access tokens that function like hotel keycards or valet keys; they grant the holder restricted access to do only what's approved from a short list.

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OAuth tutorial curriculum

As you learn about how OAuth works and why authorization is necessary, some of the topics you might come across in an OAuth tutorial or course that covers the framework include:

  • Authorization server configuration

  • Access token generation and validation

  • OAuth flows

  • OAuth grant types

  • Methods for determining scope of access for the client application

  • Best practices in various authorization scenarios

  • Comparisons to other security protocols

Those who are interested in delving deeper into authorization tokens may also explore:

  • How to identify the client application that makes the token request

  • How to determine the scope parameter of the initial request

  • How to respond to an access token request

If you are interested in learning about cybersecurity or computer science, explore the educational opportunities made available through edX. A boot camp can provide flexible, hands-on learning for those who want to upskill quickly, while executive education courses are designed for busy professionals. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program. Find the right learning path for you. 

Explore jobs that use OAuth

Knowledge of OAuth can come in handy in a variety of professional roles, such as:

  • Web developer: These professionals tend to be in charge of the construction of server-side architecture.Footnote 3 Web developer jobs include back-end and full-stack roles.

  • Software engineer: These professionals write code for a platform, mobile or desktop applications, or other services that can integrate an authorization service to make user credential management easier.Footnote 4

  • Identity and access management (IAM) specialist: These professionals manage system access for the company's personnel (e.g. by seniority levels or departments).Footnote 5 In this field, you can be a manager or analyst. 

  • Enterprise architect: These professionals oversee the design and implementation of business systems, both in hardware and software, which includes cybersecurity.Footnote 6

In any of these roles, it may be useful to familiarize yourself with the technology used to power OAuth. One way to do this could be enrolling in a coding boot camp. For example, the study of how Javascript frameworks integrate OAuth is important for web developers. If you’re more interested in cybersecurity OAuth jobs, a cybersecurity boot camp might be more appropriate. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research potential roles you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your professional aspirations. 

How to use OAuth in your career

When you work on a product with functionality that relies heavily on user sign-in, OAuth can be a helpful  tool to get them through the door with minimal hassle. 

For web developers, software engineers, and anyone whose job involves the construction of digital infrastructure, you can use an open framework like OAuth. It may help in speeding up the development process, so you can focus on other areas of the product. For new products, it can help to give users the option to enter through a trusted service.

If you can build a well-integrated REST API, you can add OAuth to your system and safely hand over many security and data management tasks.

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