How do I become a hacker?
With the frequency of this question being asked we decided to create this document. Although a hacker can be many different things, we believe most people want to know the malicious side of hacking. Computer Hope does not help with how to crack, steal, break, or otherwise hack into something illegally. However, a hacker can also define someone with an advanced understanding of computers and programming. If you want to learn more about this type of hacker, see the suggestions below.
Learn more about computers
Computer basics - Having a good understanding of a computer, its components, and how it works is essential.
Books - Make it a goal to read computer books that cover your interest or visit popular online bookstores such as Amazon, and browse through the top 100 books to get an understanding of what others are reading.
- What computer books would you recommend reading?
- See our e-book definition for a list of dozens of places to find electronics books online.
Know the jargon - The computer industry has millions of acronyms and terms, visit the Computer Hope dictionary to find the ones you are most likely to run across.
Online news - Visit online Computer News pages at least a few times weekly to keep up with all the latest computer news. Visit our computer news links for a list of great news sites.
Participate in forums - The Internet is full of online forums, where hundreds and thousands of other users participate with each other in answering questions or talking about what they love to do. Participating on one or more of these forums will not only allow you to test your understanding of the subject, but also learn from others. A great example of an online computer help forum is the Computer help forums.
Build a computer - If you want to learn more about the hardware aspects of a computer, there is nothing more educational than putting together your own computer. Not only will this help broaden your knowledge of computer hardware, but can help with diagnosing hardware problems, and teach you more about how computers work.
Pick up a programming language
Learning how software works by learning a programming language is an invaluable tool. Learning a language helps teach you how to create your own programs and tools, can help with debugging, give you a better understanding of why a program may not work, and can help with getting a program or script to do what you want it to do. A listing of many of the more popular programming languages is on our programming language definition.
In addition to learning more about how to program, learning scripting languages such as Perl and PHP and even the basics of HTML web design, are a necessity for anyone who is wanting to know about setting up and tweaking websites.
If you need more experience with programming, creating your own open source project or helping with another open project can be an invaluable learning experience. Creating your own website can also be another great learning experience in the details behind website design and setup. Especially if you setup your own web server to host the page.
Learn alternative operating system
Many people today run some version of Microsoft Windows, which is fine for home and office use, but it is also a good idea to learn alternative operating systems such as Linux. Learning a Linux distro not only helps broaden your experience with computers, but is a necessity when wanting to navigate many of the Linux based servers running many websites and other web services.
Tip: If you have access to a server that is hosting your website you may have access to SSH, which would allow you to connect remotely to the server and is another good way to learn the Linux command line.
If you are new to Linux, Ubuntu is a good distro for new users to try. This distro of Linux can also be run by booting off a CD. Although it is easier to boot from a CD and play with Linux, if you want a full experience install Ubuntu or another distro on the computer.
Once you have access to a Linux computer or shell, having a good understanding of the Linux command line commands is also a must. See our Linux page for a full listing of commands and the syntax for those commands.
Learn more on networking
Networks are what run the Internet, and what connect home or office computers together. Knowing as much as you can about how networks operate, including basics such as what an IP address, OSI, port, protocol, router, subnet mask, and the thousands of other networking definitions is yet another vital thing to learn.
In addition to reading about networking, setting up your own home network, especially a network with multiple computers with different operating systems, can be a fantastic learning experience.
Will you teach me to hack?
Everything you need to know is mentioned above.
How old do you have to be to hack?
There is no age requirement for someone to become a hacker. It often comes down to that individual's overall knowledge of computers, networking, and programming.
Who are some famous hackers?
See our list of computer hackers for a list of some of the good and bad hackers.
How will I know when I am a hacker?
If you are doing or have already done all of the above, it would be safe to consider yourself a hacker.
How do I know if someone else is a hacker?
As far as someone else, if they are good with computer, programming, and networking they could be considered a hacker. However, trying to determine if someone is a malicious hacker or if they have hacked into your computer can be difficult since it usually requires another hacker or computer expert to detect malicious activity.