How to become a hacker
Although hacker has many definitions, we believe most people asking this question are interested in malicious coding. Computer Hope does not teach or condone cracking, stealing, breaking, or otherwise illegal cyber activity. However, a hacker may also be defined as someone with an advanced understanding of computers and programming. If you want to learn more about this side 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 for anyone, not just hackers.
Books - Make it a goal to read computer books that cover your interests. Visiting popular online bookstores, such as Amazon, and browse through the top 100 books on your subject is a great place to start. Audible has an enormous selection of e-books, if you prefer that method of 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 thousands of acronyms and terms, visit the Computer Hope dictionary to find the ones you are most likely to run across.
Online news - Visit the 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 thousands of other users participate with each other in answering questions or talking about what they love to do. Participating in 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 forum would be the Computer help forums.
Build a computer - If you want to learn more about the hardware aspect of a computer, there is nothing more educational than putting one together. 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. There are plenty of websites with instructions on how to build your own machine.
Pick up a programming language
Learning how software works by studying a programming language is an invaluable tool. It teaches you how to create your own programs, and how to debug them. It also gives you a better understanding of how programs work. Our programming language definition lists many of the more popular programming languages.
If you need more experience with programming, creating your own open source project or helping with another open project can be a helpful learning experience. Creating your own website can also be another great learning experience as it shows the details behind website design and setup.
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, but is a necessity when wanting to navigate Linux based servers running 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 allows you to connect to a 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 it off of a CD. However, if you want a full experience, it is better to install Ubuntu or another distro on the computer.
Also, 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 run the Internet and connect home or office computers together. It is important to know as much as you can on how networks operate, including basics like an IP address, OSI, port, protocol, router, and subnet mask.
Also, setting up your own home network, especially a network with multiple computers and different operating systems, can be a very helpful.
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 drive and 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?
Anyone who is good with computer, programming, and networking may be considered a hacker. However, trying to determine if a malicious hacker hacked into your computer is difficult, since it usually requires a hacker or computer expert to detect malicious activity.