The term hacker can be used to describe two entirely different types of computer programmers. In popular media, the term is widely known to describe an expert computer programmer or engineer who cracks security systems and breaks into these systems with malicious intent. Actual programmers who can appreciate someone’s ability to hack into a system to identify the system’s weaknesses to those who may be proficient in hacking believe that hackers play a positive role in computer system development and design. If you would like to learn more about what hackers do, read on.

What Are the Qualities that Hackers Need to Possess?

According to Eric Raymond, expert programmer and author to The New Hacker’s Dictionary, hackers must have a specific set of qualities to come up with clever solutions to problems that can found in computing systems. A good hacking programmer is capable of good hacks that do not cause turmoil but instead lead programmers to solutions that will improve functionality or make confidential information more secure. In order for programmers to qualify as hackers, they must possess these specific qualities:

  • Enjoys programming
  • Enjoys learning very specific information about languages and computer systems
  • Capable of appreciating a programmer’s ability to hack
  • Picks up on programming processes quickly
  • Capable of being an expert in a specific programming language

How the Term is Being Used Wrong in Popular Media

When you hear the term hackers used in popular media, it almost always holds a negative connotation. This is because people who are not involved in programming or in computer systems do not know that hackers are getting a bad wrap by mistake. While some hackers have been guilty of breaking into a system without any intention of coming up with solution, the term for talented computer programmers who maliciously break into systems with bad intentions is cracker. A cracker will break into a system or network to breach security for profit or an altruistic purpose. The two terms are mistakenly used interchangeably, but real hackers actually hunt down crackers with their own skills.

How to Become a Hacking Expert

If you would like to hack into systems or hunt down crackers for the greater good, you might be interested in learning how to hack professionally. Having the right mind-set is key for hackers who are also an expert in programming and a wizard in networking. Once you have the mind-set where you want to solve problems with your intelligence, the next step will be to get basic hacking skills. You will need to learn how to program open-source operating systems like Unix, how to build a website, how to write programs, how to debug programs, and how to publish information. Once you have learned this, you can emerge as a hacking programmer who is dedicated to making infrastructures work.

Some individuals are capable of learning the ins and outs of hacking in their own free time, but many will go to school to learn system design and programming in a formal setting. Once they have learned the formalities of programming and system development, they can apply their technical knowledge to hacking rather than another area of the field. If you want freedom and you can be ethical in your pursuits, it might be in your interest to be a hacker.