What tech career should I persue

So as I eluded to in my intro for a variety of reasons I am done teaching and looking to move in to some tech career.

Like many of us I have been a tech tinkerer since I was a teen, but master of none. I will need more study to get where I want to go.

I think I am tossing up between software development and InfoSec. I kind of like the idea of penatration testing but I only know a small bit about it in practice.

Recently I have been working on my coding building on my skills to teach my year 8 - 10 the basics of coding and to make basic games and robotics. I do enjoy coding, I just would like to know some other options before I commit to that.

Because we have many people in the tech field just thought I could ask y’all’s experience’s

All I can tell you about penetration testing, and infosec in general, id that it needs a certain mindset. Which is generally exactly opposite to that of a programmer. A programmer wants to build things. A hacker wants to tear them down. Sounds simple, but if you don’t have an inbuilt instinct to try and break any system the first time you play with it, I don’t think you’ll be got a penetration testing.

There are people who play a video game and basically try to intuit the rules the designers are trying to impart and then stick with them. And then there are those who always try to mess with the systems to speedrun the game or cheese its AI and thus win by being cleverer than the designer. The second category of people are born pentesters.

I’m not, BTW. I rather build things than destroy them so I was always much better at creating than at hacking.

I’m not saying you can’t learn to think like that. But from my own experience it can be very hard, especially if you are a creative type. And it might not actually be something you enjoy.

I kind of do often find myself thinking about how to break systems. Often IRL, it’s not something I do that often with tech but it could be fun. But I do get what you are saying. There is a certain satisfaction to building things.

Sounds like pentesting might be something you’d enjoy. I’d say read up on it online and then dip your toe in the water by hunting some easy bug bounties. Maybe in web apps or something.

And please take care and protect yourself. Get an alias and some secure communications. Because you will most certainly do things that could be considered illegal. The best protection against not getting indicted is if they don’t know who you are.

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I’d further sub-divide the “tinkerers” (hackers) into more categories. There’s also the “academic hackers” that do it purely for understanding (once they understand something, they’d just lose interest and move to something else. Probably right after sharing the discovery), and those that want to use the understanding to “extend” the system, or make it do something completely different (rather than using the discovery to “bend the rules”). In gaming, those would be modders. These are somewhat closer to the non-hacker “builders” (“architects”), but “builders” typically prefer to build their own product from scratch than to extend other systems (in construction: architects tend to prefer tearing down the building and construct a new one instead, than to extend and improve existing structures).

One thing I find worth mentioning is that software development positions in modern companies almost always imply extending an existing system rather than building a new one from scratch (maybe unless you are among the “first generation” of a newly founded startup), and even if you are tasked with something new, you will have to work within an existing framework, using and extending internal and third party libraries. There is far more code-reading and experimentation than outsiders would expect from the job description. This is always a source of frustration for the “architect” types, but may be actually a benefit for the hacker types (especially the “extender” kind).


I think this is why the gaming industry appeals to so many. Even when you’re using existing engines and tools, you’re building something completely new, in most cases. Even if you are working on a sequel.

Not that I would suggest anyone to get into the gaming industry. The fact that so many people have a passion for it means there is bad exploitation everywhere. It’s bad in journalism, but gaming seems to be much, much worse from everything I’ve seen of it…

Yeah I am not getting in to that position again. I had the same experience as an outdoor education instructor. It is fun but you are not paid anywhere near what you should be.

If you are thinking about pentesting, check out “The Pentester Blueprint”. The book itself is small and cheap, and will not teach you much about pentesting. What it will do is show you where you need to focus and where to find the resources you will need to get to your end goal.