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When I hear the word hacker, the first word that comes to mind is disruption. I did not grow up wanting to work with computers, I never spent much time on online forums such as Reddit, and I do not keep up with all of the latest advancements in technology. Up until I declared my major, I considered myself competent yet fairly insulated when it came to the world technology. That is why to me, a hacker has always meant someone who has gone rogue and whose main purpose is to disrupt a system and create chaos. After 3 years of studies, I’ve come to learn that the word ‘hacker’ has a much deeper connotation within the computer science community. While hackers do have a disdain towards systems and structures, they aren’t merely setting out to destroy these institutions. Hackers seek to explore and create outside of the mainstream establishment. They aim to break barriers that they believe should not exist, and they look to push the boundaries of any experiment or system. Hackers are complex yet brilliant individuals who are viewed negatively thanks to society. The media will label anyone who breaks through a computer security system as a ‘hacker’, which in this case is synonymous with criminal. However, through the gentrification of hacker culture that is happening today, we are seeing more and more ‘good hackers’ join the technology entrepreneur class. They have kept their core rebel attitude by doing things their own way and having an aversion to typical business models, yet their unmatched curiosity and thirst for innovation can be quenched in a safe space that is the startup culture. Here they are free to be their true selves, which often leads to products and technology with a positive impact. We know that hackers suffer from an unfair negative perception when in reality they can be morally good or bad. But in the words of Mark Zuckerberg, hacking simply means ‘ building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done’. Looking at this definition, I would loosely consider myself to be a hacker. I don’t like to plan too much before I begin working, rather I jump in headfirst and iterate without ceasing until I am pleased with my product. I am also constantly looking for ways to improve the systems I interact with everyday, yet I don’t always act upon what I discover. While there are several institutions that present barriers in this world that I do not agree with, I am not the kind of person to take initiative and implement my own solution unless it is simple and accessible to me. I don’t feel the need to fix every problem in the world, so long as I can take note of them all. Lastly, I believe I am someone who does his best work when inspired by the subject matter. Since I am not always fond of school assignments, I would rather work on a project that I am passionate about and create a solution that I can be proud of.

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