Frankly, hackers these days have a poor reputation with the rest of the world. The group that is emerging to replace the term “hackers” are Makers! There was a time when being a hacker was interesting and smart. Now most non-software types view “hackers” as fat, trolls who don’t shower very often, an incorrect view, but there it is. If you want to be a “white hat” hacker, you might consider moving your identity over to being a “Maker”. Makers are much more positive, they investigate proprietary software for their own use, but don’t attempt to profit off of their findings. Employers view the Maker philosophy as a “Can Do” attitude, hiring managers often view “hackers” as untrustworthy.
Why? When the term Hacker went from being the cute high school hacker who broke into the defense system and nearly caused a nuclear war to someone who is basically doing everything they can to steal your ID or intellectual property.
The term Maker is a much sweeter term and is represented in the Maker’s Faires that are held throughout the country.
Hackers and Makers are similar in some ways. Good hackers want to find out how software works and feels that if it is running on their machine, they should be able to use it. Makers agree with this concept, makers also want to be able to change batteries in their systems, to be able to open the containers and then successfully close them. However, the difference: Makers have a philosophy that what they own they should be able to fix or understand. Hackers unfortunately have a very bad component, so if you are a good hacker, it might be a good time to change to being a Maker.
Why? Many people think that they can describe themselves as hackers to a general audience and assume that the general audience thinks that is a positive term. Wrong assumption. Hackers are viewed negatively by most non-Computer Science audiences, which is most of the world. Sure, you can pull in the WikiPedia definition, etc. but I think that the time to make a switch to a new term, like Maker is now.
What about Makers? O’Reilly Books one of the motivators for the Maker movement, take a look at: http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596101886/
So be a Maker, not a hacker!
I took my own crack at the term hackers on my blog at blogs.msdn.com/.../to-hack-or-not-to-hack.aspx FWIW.