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The Ropper's Guide to Breaking Into Tech

Roppers How to Break into Tech

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of resources on the subject of breaking into tech.

There are even more on what it takes to be a hacker, how to get a job, what to learn, where to learn it, how to learn it….

So here I am, contributing my two cents to the pile. What makes my opinion on this worth reading? Well, I’m giving you an actionable plan, rather than a list of resources and some general ideas of what you should try to learn.

If you are reading this you are interested in learning the skills required to get a job and make a living in a computing related field. I can teach you those skills, and help you prove them to future employers, and I’ll do it for free, you just need to put the work in. This guide is focused on computing fundamentals, if you’ve already mastered those, check out the Roppers How to Break into Security guide here.

Here’s the plan:

  • You start the Ropper’s Computing Fundamentals Course
  • You dig deep into the assignments so you fully understand the material, and create high quality writeups that demonstrate your knowledge and passion
  • Anything you find interesting throughout the course, you dig into, find some answers, and write up a brief post on it
  • You build a professional looking website to serve as your digital portfolio
  • Host the things you’ve already written on it, only adding a few sentences in the front to turn them into blog posts
  • When you write longer programs, host them on Github and write a brief blog post with code snippets in it to highlight your projects
  • You finish the course and update your resume with all the things you’ve accomplished, I look it over and provide feedback
  • You start applying for jobs and list me as a teacher who can speak to the quality of your work
  • You have begin working on your next steps of the Roppers Roadmap because you have the skill and confidence required to teach yourself anything

Sounds good? Time to go more in depth on the different subjects I just mentioned.


I don’t know what your resume looks like, and honestly, I don’t think it matters. People who are hiring you are hiring you for proven skills, and Roppers is here to help you with them.

By the time you finish the Computing Fundamentals course your resume will list that you are:

  • Proficient with the Linux Operating System as demonstrated by your high quality writeups and
  • Multiple Python Projects
  • A Custom Build Website

When you are done with the course you will update your resume with everything you have done in this course and make sure to add links to your git repos. Once you have it done and formatted, you will email it to me and, I’ll look it over and give you some feedback. I also strongly encourage you to turn a few assignments into blogposts, and do writeups on some of the programs you wrote and things you learned. Fill out that personal website to show that you are a professional and have the ability to do technical writing. As much as I wish it was all hacking, most jobs care about your reading and writing ability just as much.


You are able to earn free certificates on Roppers, whether you are in the free or instructor-led courses. I’m never going to charge for them; they’re for you, and maybe your future employer.

You can earn three certificates by completing this course: The first is for completing our Virtualization and Linux sections, which will require you to install a VM and become proficient in the use of Linux, as well as complete a beginner CTF.

Ropper's Linux Basics

The second certificate is for completing our Programming section, which will have you build a website with HTML, CSS, and Javascript, learn how to use git properly, and complete a variety of projects in Python.

The final certificate is for completing the entire course and states that you know enough to be considered dangerous. There aren’t many of these badges in the wild yet, so don’t expect your future employers to know what they represent. What will impress them is what your resume will look like once you are done with this course. Additionally, if you have this certificate you can list me as a contact in your interview forms so I can tell potential employers about the quality of your work.

Portfolio Website

Unlike basically every other course out there you can’t just sit here and watch videos to earn these certs. This is a practical, hands-on curriculum that will fill out as many of the weak spots on your resume as we can.

This course has you do a lot of technical writing, but I want to see more:

  1. Take those assignments you already wrote and turn them into blog posts
  2. Take the Python projects you complete, write up a blog post on them and link to the code you have written
  3. When you finish a CTF problem, do a writeup and post it on your site
  4. Continue adding to this site any time you do something you want to write about
  5. Even document your process of learning if you want to

By the time you complete this course you will have a large, publicly accessible, constantly growing portfolio of work that says that you know what is going on. All of this will prove to potential employers you have what it takes to get things done AND write well about it.

Get Yourself Out There

I talk a big game about all of this being about what you know and what you can do, but there is something I have to tell you.

If you do not prepare the way you present yourself, put yourself out there, and be willing to fail, or be ignored, or be turned down, you’re never going to be able to put the skills and knowledge to work.

You have to be willing to enter the arena, especially if you are not feeling “ready” for it. By the time you finish this you will have learned (really taught yourself) VMs, Linux, hardware basics, how to build a website, and wrote some complicated Python programs. Every single thing in computing and security derives from these things. The next steps are harder to choose where to go, but hopefully the Roppers Roadmap can assist.

I’m here to educate you, but I’m really here to try and help you figure it out for yourself.

Actually Doing the Work

Does all of the sound good? Already thinking about what your future resume will look like? Good! Go start the course!

Ropper’s Computing Fundamentals Course

If you have any thoughts, questions, or comments, hit me at or on the Slack.

Stay stoked, Dennis