When people say “I want to be a Hacker” a lot of people don’t know where to start. Google is a good option but there’s a lot of dead ends, if you try to find “How to hack my friend’s Facebook account” you’re more likely to find a way to get a virus then to actually find a way to get into Facebook.
Step 1 to becoming a Hacker:
Find communities both online and local. Now, Hacker is the buzz word here, but most of the information security professionals have more “proper” names such as: Penetration tester, Incident Responder, or Forensic Analyst.
Find a title a little more specific that you want to become, and you’ll find a more reliable answer. For instance, if you want to break into companies code, then you should look at penetration testing. If you want to do the opposite of that, look at incident response. These will help you find the right group to help you learn.
There are forums, IRC chats, and tutorials online that are very beneficial to learning information security. Finding experienced people willing to help you along the way is also an amazing advantage. It all depends on how you want to learn. There’s a lot of different kinds of communities. Do not be afraid to find a few to find your favorite.
Joining local communities are the fastest and possibly the most fun way to get into hacking. There are hackerspaces, groups, and classes; where you can learn quite a lot. It’s the same group of people, and there is a massive amount of experience pooled between everyone, it’s harder to not learn anything then to learn something. But one of the most important opportunities are the conventions!
Why go to Conventions if you have a community?
There was a convention in Washington DC that covered three tracks: “Build it, Belay it, Bring it on”. This convention was so popular that their tickets sold out in 5 minutes. Going to conventions is important because it’s a way to meet other people who really know their field. You are learning from the best when you go to conventions like Shmoocon or Defcon.