Forum Thread: Route to Becoming a Professional Hacker

I don't have a degree in CS, nor is it likely I will be able to acquire one in the near future. I do however have the desire to become a professional ethical hacker. I have been reading up on this, and it seems that many people do not consider a CS degree to be essential for achieving this goal. It is obvious though that an obscene amount of technical knowledge spanning a majority of the IT spectrum is a must. This doesn't bother me too much as I believe myself capable of attaining enough knowledge even if I have to do it at home online, which is what I do everyday anyway.

I have come across the opinion quite a few times now, that a good route to attaining this goal is through getting experience as a network administrator. Because of this I have been looking into certifications that could help with eventually getting such a position.

However, I'd like to hear some opinions from the folks here. Is it worth my while pursuing the certifications and training to become a network administrator, considering my end goal? I mean I know it certainly sounds like a logical progression, as a network admin would have intimate knowledge of networking and security(presumably), but what are some other routes that you could recommend? I'm not trying to cut corners, but I also don't want to waste any time if their is a better way.

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5 Responses

I am actually in the exact same position as you, Anna. My end game is the same, and I also do not have the option of quitting my full-time job to return to the school bench.

This is an excellent subject to bring up, and I'll be following it closely.

Hi Anna,

Comp TIA certification is a very good route to go if you do not have the ability to study full time. It's fully recognised, and very flexible due to the fact that there is no set course; you only have to sit an exam to become certified. However, with that being said, there are quite a few certifications covering a vast spectrum of skills.

Now here comes the bad part; for that particular job, you would have to be very good at your job. I mean on the level of Occupy the Web, and that can really only come with experience.

Comp TIA

Offensive Security (these are the people who developed the operating system you would use)

Please also note that technical knowledge is part of the battle. Problem solving skills is absolutely paramount to being a good hacker, as well as having a very good grasp on social interactions.

Reason being is that your technical knowledge is kind of like a coding library. It's worthless unless used correctly, and it's necessary to solve your problems. Your problem solving skills come into play because exploits that may work today may not work tomorrow.

Social interactions are handy because you have to be able to manipulate people to get what you want. As an ethical hacker, it's common practice to call someone within the company you're trying to penetrate pretending you're from I.T. asking for their login credentials.

I hope some of what I've said helps you.

To others, if some of my information is inaccurate, please let me know.


Thanks ghost, I really appreciate the input.

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