So many people now associate hacking with cyber criminals. I could drone on and on about how the original meaning of the term "hacker" was someone who made software do something it wasn't intended to do, but I won't. What I will say, though, is that hacking is THE skill of the future and you should be working to master it now. Here's why.
First, as I have mentioned here many times before, national governments around the world are hiring hackers at an increasing pace to harass and intrude upon their enemies. Whether working for your national government or the group attempting to topple a repressive regime in your country, hacking skills are critical to any future conflict.
In addition, governments and corporations are hiring hackers to spy on their competitors. Throw in the fact that private investigators are using hackers to investigate their targets, the field of hacking is growing by leaps and bounds.
Second, the information security field is growing rapidly and those proficient in its concepts and techniques are garnering the highest salaries in the IT field. An IT security professional with an understanding of hacking is rare and valuable. A background in hacking enables the security engineers to better protect IT resources as they know what tools and techniques their enemy is using.
Third, to be a good hacker, you must have a thorough understanding of operating systems, applications, and networks—often in more intimate detail than the system administrators. By studying hacking, it will make you a MUCH better system administrator as your understanding of the systems deepens and broadens.
In my humble opinion, hacking is the IT skill of the future, and anyone interested in a career in IT should study hacking now...and this is the place to do it.