Can A Web Developer Become A Hacker?

So, you want to know if a web developer can become a hacker? Well, that’s a good question. Ethical questions put aside, web developers and hackers actually have a lot of skill sets in common. However, that does not mean that a web developer can automatically become a hacker or vice versa.

While both might have overlapping skill sets, they also have many differences. In this article, we are going to break down the similarities and differences and explain why a web developer may have an easier transition period to become a hacker, but there is still a lot to learn.

So without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Knowledge of Networking and Programming

One of the major similarities between web developers and hackers is that they both have a wide range of knowledge in the fields of networking and programming.

Hackers are individuals that use computers, networking, and programming to gain unauthorized access to servers and other systems in order to utilize this privately held software for criminal activity. You would obviously find it very difficult to become a hacker if you had no knowledge of networking or programming.

On the contrary, web developers learn about networking and programming because these are the two main tools that programmers have in order to create and maintain web applications.

In a way, you can think of it as two sides to the same coin. A web developer creates and secures a web application, while a hacker tries to find a way to infiltrate it.

Here is a simple diagram to help illustrate the idea. While both hackers and developers are programmers, developers are playing defense, while hackers are playing offense.

Level of Competency Required

Here is where things start to diverge between web developers and hackers. In general, the entry-level requirements to become a web developer are significantly lower than becoming a hacker. Which is a major reason why a web developer cannot simply become a hacker.

While almost anyone can plan a coding project and build a sloppy, barely functioning, simple piece of software, not everyone can become a hacker.

To become a hacker, you don’t only need to understand what your code is doing, but what someone else’s code is doing. Then finding vulnerabilities in their code. Which, as any programmer would attest to, is significantly more difficult.

Different Viewpoints

Although I touched on this above, it makes sense to go into more detail here. The other major reason why web developers cannot simply become hackers is that it takes time and effort to think of the code you write from the other perspective.

Developers are generally thinking, “how can I build this software to be as maintainable as possible”. On the other hand, hackers are usually thinking, “what is the easiest point of entry to gain access to this codebase from the code already written”.

The developer’s role is focused more on efficient algorithms, design patterns, and clean code. While the hacker’s role is focused more on programming language design and vulnerabilities. Both of which are extremely broad subjects that take a long time to master and become proficient in.

Summary

So, can a web developer become a hacker? Definitely, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to practice the skills or learn the things a hacker needs to know. It just means that have built a similar baseline of knowledge to make the transition easier.

While both might have a knowledge of programming and networking, a web developer might still need to learn more about specific languages or networking protocols to be a successful hacker. In addition, they need to be very skillful programmers. Finally, a web developer will also have to practice the act of hacking in order to get better at it.

Without these three things, a web developer cannot become a hacker.

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