Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to learn hacking for beginners.

Are you tired of reading stories about ethical hacking over and over again, without really knowing what it means? Let's change that!

This post is for absolute beginners who qualify for these below:

  • No experience with Cybersecurity (hacking)
  • Limited experience
  • Those that just can't catch a break

I've had my good share of Hats. Black, white or sometimes a blackish shade of grey. The darker it is, the more fun you have – MakMan

First off, let's start by saying that a career in cybersecurity is kind of like a career in banking. It's an umbrella term that incorporates lots of niches within the industry.

In Cybersecurity we can talk about:

  1. Digital forensics as a career
  2. Malware/software detecting
  3. Auditing
  4. Pentesting
  5. Social engineering
  6. And other career tracks

Each of those fields deserves a blog on their own, but let's focus solely on the most important generic requirements to embark on a successful career in IT security.

If you've zero experience, don't worry. We all have to start somewhere, and we all need help to get to our goal. Since you have no experience at all, I highly suggest that you teach yourself some basics and fundamentals.

What is hacking?

In essence, hacking is identifying weaknesses and vulnerabilities of a system and gain access using it. 

There are two types of hackers: Ethical and black-hat hackers. The black-hat gets unauthorized access by targeting systems. On the other hand, the ethical hacker has official permission in a lawful, legitimate manner to assess the security posture of a target system.

Let's get to know the terminology.

  • White hat – ethical hacker
  • Black hat – classical hacker, the opposite of the ethical one
  • Grey hat – a mix of the two above, get's unauthorized access but also reveals the weakness to the company
  • Script kiddie – a hacker with no technical skills who just uses pre-made tools
  • Hacktivist – a person who hacks for some idea and leaves a message

Feeling overwhelming? No worries here is our top recommendation on courses that will take you from absolute beginner to a real hacker in no time:

Top courses to learn hacking 2020:

Introduction to Cybersecurity Tools & Cyber Attacks From IBM

Beginner hacking course
  • Free trial
  • Offered by IBM, one of the biggest Technology and Software companies in the world
  • Courses with diplomas available

This course will grant you fundamental knowledge about Cybersecurity, which is a massive subject in today's programming world. It's an area with a lot of demand, which means you'll have a higher chance of finding a job in this industry.

Skills gained throughout this course:

  • Information Security (INFOSEC)
  • IBM New Collar
  • Malware
  • Cybersecurity
  • Cyber Attacks

Network Hacking Diploma Level 3 Online Course

  • Certificate available
  • More in-depth network hacking
  • You take the course on your own timeframe

This course from John Academy is perfect for those that have some knowledge within the area to brighten their understanding further and push your career forward. It's also an excellent course for those that have no experience with programming but has the drive and interest to learn professional skills to land your first job in a relevant market.

Computer Security and Networks – Coursera [FREE]

  • Free beginners course
  • Course offered by the University of Maryland, which grants you higher credibility

By enrolling in this course from Coursera, you'll learn the basics of Software Security and will be able to apply for junior jobs within the area. The instructor is Michael Hicks, a professor from the University of Maryland. If you want to be in the Software Security market, enrolling in this course is a significant first step.

What you'll have basic knowledge of by enrolling this course:

  • Fuzz Testing
  • Buffer Overflow
  • SQL Injection
  • Penetration Test

Learn Ethical Hacking Course at [50% OFF] – John Academy

  • No previous experience needed
  • A cheap training course to provide you with the most important fundamentals

As an ethical hacker, you'll be helping companies to gain more security in their computer systems and help the organization protect their data further. This Ethical Hacking course will kick-start your career or further improve your knowledge to raise your income or land a job in the field.


In essence, the goal of an ethical hacker is to reveal system weaknesses and show it to the company in order to fix it. Also, he documents everything he did.

ethical hacking programming

Skills required

The primary skill that is required is to be willing to learn new things on the fly continually or quickly at home. This is essential to be good at hacking.

Second, you need a strong foundational understanding of at least one coding or scripting language. Also, you're required to have well-understanding of Network and Web security.

How to learn hacking

Simplifying it, here are some steps to start from now:

  1. Take a course is a great way to get started: Network Hacking Diploma Level 3 Online Course [50% OFF]
  2. Learn how to code/programming
  3. Understand basic concepts of OS (Operating system)
  4. Basics of Networking and Security
  5. Markup and as many technologies as you can!

Resource to get you started

To “complete” this article and make it easy for you to advance, I'd like to share some resources I found best in learning from scratch.

Husainfareed created a Github repository with a lot of resources you can learn from. Check it out here.

You can always join Slack Community for hackers listed below:

You should really consider practicing your skills on these website below:

  1. http://www.itsecgames.com/
  2. http://www.dvwa.co.uk/
  3. http://www.vulnerablewebapps.org/
  4. http://hackyourselffirst.troyhunt.com/
  5. https://github.com/s4n7h0/xvwa
  6. http://zero.webappsecurity.com/
  7. http://crackme.cenzic.com/kelev/view/home.php
  8. http://demo.testfire.net
  9. https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Category:OWASP_WebGoat_Project

Bonus advice: Follow regularly http://h1.nobbd.de/ to be updated with HackerOne public bug reports. You will learn a lot from them. 

What is the best way to learn hacking for beginners?

Since most of the books and resources are for more advanced people in the subject, we're focusing solely on beginners.

This will give you useful information to kick start your journey to become a hacker.

Begin with basics/fundamentals

Fort beginners who lack experience in the field, it's best to start from the basics. Instead of learning directly how to hack, you have to begin to explore topics such as:

  • Computer networks
  • Network ports
  • Firewalls
  • Common network protocols like IP addresses
  • HTTP, FTP, DNS, SMTP

You can also start to learn more alternate operating systems like Linux. This allows you to gain knowledge on pretty much everything essential in the field of hacking.

The more you learn about basics, the easier it is to find vulnerabilities and device exploits. Once you develop a fundamental understanding of the basic concepts, you will be in a position to understand various hacking techniques that are currently in practice.

Find a good source to teach you hack

Once you develop a fair amount of experience in the field, there are so many books and resources to learn from. This usually includes the latest technical information on the latest vulnerabilities, along with the possible way to exploit them.

However, as a beginner, it's tough to find resources that teach hacking from the basics in a simple manner.

That's why I've listed three best books which demand no prior knowledge of the topic.

Hacking secrets exposed – I've listed this book because it has a lot of useful information to which doesn't require you to have prior knowledge on the topic. This book also comes packed with a lot of fundamental concepts to allow the reader to find them all in one place.

Hacking for beginners: Your guide to learning the basics of hacking – This book teaches you how other hackers think. By reading this, you will learn how they're attacking computers, as well as how they're doing it. You will also be able to understand how they can and gain access to your computer.

Hacking for beginners' guide on how to hack –  Using this book, you'll learn everything you need to know to enter the secretive world of hacking. It will teach you some fundamental hacking techniques, as well as how to protect yourself and your information.

Learn programming

If you really want to become great at hacking, you have to learn to program. This is a part you can't skip. Even though there are a lot of tools and programs that make it all easy for you, but you also need to know programming.

You're required to have knowledge in languages like:

  • HTML
  • PHP
  • JavaScript
  • Other relevant languages

This will lead you to a better position to figure out how they work and what's going on in the background of each language.

Needless to say, you can be great at hacking without knowing how to program at all! But learning it makes it way easier for you to succeed.

cybersecurity hacking

How long does it take to master hacking?

This question is rather hard to answer, considering that hacking can't be taught overnight.

Don't focus on duration, because every talent in this world has no limit. Start working on it, and don't waste your time in calculating time. It all depends on how bad you want it.

Some people on one of the Quora questions responded with a simple, yet good answer: “It takes a lifetime because things constantly change.” The great, super-hacker of 90 would be lost today because things change.

It requires knowledge, skills, creativity, and dedication, as well as your time. An excellent tip for your hack attempts to be successful, you should adapt to a successful hacker's mind and start thinking like him.

Everyone can master it and hack like a pro, once you learn it from the fundamentals and build a solid foundation.

So, in order to become a hacker you will need

  1. Passion to learn
  2. Preseverance
  3. Good resource knowledge
  4. Hard and dedicated work

Don't focus on how long it takes for it to master hacking, just trust the progress.