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I'm considering developing a hack for a competitive multiplayer game and putting it on my resume. Is this a good idea, or would it cause too many questions? Could I avoid this by not distributing or attempting to monetize the hack?

Edit: to clarify, I am talking about something that's legal but against the rules of the game, that modifies and reads memory.

Edit: I believe that this constitutes a different question because it's much more specific and raises other questions; is a game hack even grey or is it more black? Is it even impressive in the first place? In what contexts would this particular project be worth showing off? What is terminology one could use to reframe the ethics of the project?

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    mention of the word 'hack' is the problem here, so call it something else – Kilisi Apr 20 '16 at 6:48
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    Possible duplicate of Do you keep gray-zone material on or off a resume? – gnat Apr 20 '16 at 8:10
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    @gnat that link is the beginning of an impressive duplicate chain – UmNyobe Apr 20 '16 at 9:34
  • Is the job for a quality assurance position? – Captain Man Apr 20 '16 at 14:31
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I'll tell you it depends on how ballsy you are and exactly what sort of job seeker you are. I had a friend who for years had 'President of Humans Vs. Zombies Club' on his resume. Most recruiters probably glanced straight over this, and I know of several times his resume was binned in front of him for it (college career fairs can be brutal). He was extremely stubborn, saying he didn't want to work some place that wouldn't look favorably on that. He did wind up with a job about three weeks before graduation (my school had something like a 93% graduating employment rate), but definitely at a lower salary than both myself and many of his peers. I've not spoken to him since, so I have no idea if it's still there, but I do know it objectively hurt his chances, but he was subjectively happier for it (last I heard).

I'd keep it off the resume and bring it up in an interview if I felt the interviewer would be receptive to this sort of this and it were relevant.

TL;DR: do this only if you are sure you want to work in a place that will appreciate something like that, and be ready to lose out on other opportunities for that.

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    Was there really a "Humans vs Zombies Club" at the university, of which your friend was the president? I'll root for him harder if his position is, "I listed my genuine college hobbies/activities, take me or leave me" than if his position is, "I write whimsical garbage on my resume, take me or leave me" :-) And, while one shouldn't necessarily put formal posts in a fraternity/sorority on a resume either, they aren't always any more dignified institutions than the HvZ club... – Steve Jessop Apr 20 '16 at 10:24
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    The club was formally recognized at the university. I also know for a fact he wasn't the best interview, so a marginal plus or minus may have tilted the scales further than for someone else. Where I went, putting anything outside of formal, professional organizations, school, and work experience was highly unusual. – agentroadkill Apr 20 '16 at 10:50
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    For a long time, I had on my resume "People of the year 2006 by Time Magazine". Technically, it was true. I had many interviews, each time a question about that was asked and it was a time to explain and laught a little. – Emmanuel Apr 20 '16 at 12:12
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    @QPaysTaxes That was the year that People made "you" person of the year: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_(Time_Person_of_the_Year) – Doyle Lewis Apr 20 '16 at 13:18
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    That's definitely a personal decision, conversely, a number of recruiters at very cool places likely passed over his application because of that – agentroadkill Apr 21 '16 at 1:12
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As a hiring manager, I'd bin your CV if I saw that in it. Not even necessarily for ethic reasons (although that would possibly contribute, for the reason of hacking a commercial code base which could be a poor sign of character and a risk to my business), but because you place sufficient value within your own reportable experience on that achievement that you feel the need to include it.

All of that to me indicates a lack of any real, relevant experience and I'd skip to the next CV.

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    I'd assume that the only exception to this would be if you would be hiring for a security company, as those companies actively look for white hat hackers to strengthen their team. But this would be a VERY select market. Also it would depend as to what end this hack has been made for. – Migz Apr 20 '16 at 7:39
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    So you wouldn't consider the ability to understand application somebody else wrote "real, relevant experience"? In my experience, it's one of the most important abilities for a software developer to have (assuming the OP is applying for such a position, of course - it probably doesn't help if he's looking for an accountant's job). I'd always take a guy who took over a project after someone else successfully over a guy who made his own thing from scratch, all things equal. – Luaan Apr 20 '16 at 8:42
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    @Luaan There are far better platforms for demonstrating that capacity, such as contributing to open source software. – Jane S Apr 20 '16 at 8:45
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    I would like to understand this, for the sake of my future self. If he wrote "Participation and management of open source game cracking software" it would look great, but "Creating my own game cracking software" is lack of real experience? – MatthewRock Apr 20 '16 at 9:44
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    sufficient value within your own reportable experience -> Can you please translate this from MBA to English? – Shantnu Tiwari Apr 20 '16 at 11:05
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Reverse-engineering is a great skill. So, instead of phrasing it as "Game Aimbot", which might make it sound skeevy, phase it as "reverse-engineered Game".

I'd recommend releasing the exploit under an open-source license, and posting it on Github, Gitlab, or an equivalent service. Write a good README, and make it accessible! Add Travis CI, and unit tests. All of these things make you look more competent, and they're uncommon in the sketchy for-profit "game exploit" world.

For example, Apple has hired numerous people because of their work in the iOS jailbreak community, an ecosystem that is based entirely on iOS exploits - they recognize that people who can do this work are incredibly talented, and many of them have knowledge of the iOS internals that approaches that of Apple employees.

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    This was exactly my thought. If the job the OP is targeting values those skills then this would be a great thing to have on his resume. The OP needs to be careful about how they do this though if there are legal implications to the "hack" they want to reference. – Erik Apr 20 '16 at 20:40
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    Don't forget "Experience with Game Engines". – Ave Apr 20 '16 at 20:58
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    Any evidence for Apple hiring from the jailbreak community? – gnasher729 Apr 21 '16 at 9:30
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    techcrunch.com/2011/08/26/… – JHZ Apr 21 '16 at 15:04
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    @JHZ I suggest editing that citation into your answer. – pydsigner Apr 21 '16 at 15:20
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I think you need to define what you mean by "hack".

I'd say any hack that might result in a ban from that game world when detected would probably be something you kept to yourself. I'm with @Jane S in that I'd bin the resume for the exact same reasons she mentioned, plus the ethical ones.

However, if by "hack" you are talking about something allowable by the ToS (exa: skinning a MMO client) then I'd only mention it if that skill were relevant to the job you are seeking.

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    If that "hack" modifies the game or adds content without giving unfair advantage, then it should be called a "mod" or "addon" instead. – Trang Oul Apr 20 '16 at 10:33
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    Do you understand that ToS is not law? – Oleg V. Volkov Apr 20 '16 at 20:24
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    @OlegV.Volkov:the legality of the "hack" isn't in question. Rather, breaking the ToS shows a disregard for agreements they make. I wouldn't want a programmer working for me that knowingly, and willfully, broke software licensing agreements. That type of attitude could land my company in very hot water. – NotMe Apr 20 '16 at 21:36
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    @AmaniKilumanga Open source games tend to not have terms of service. – immibis Apr 21 '16 at 3:22
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    @NotMe, you sound like like adhering to arbitrary "agreement" slapped on product by some random nobody is a good thing. Why? By reading this comment you're agreeing to give me 10000$. Could you please follow on your policy then? – Oleg V. Volkov Apr 21 '16 at 10:32
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Personally, I wouldn't do this. Some people might see this on your resume and react positively, while others would react very negatively. The strong negative reactions would be more important to any hiring decisions than the vaguely positive ones -- unless, of course, you were looking for a job writing hacks for networked games.

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I think it depends on what job you are applying for. There are jobs in the security sector where that kind of thing might be looked at favorably. But if that isn't a field you want to get into, then leave it off your resume. Your resume is what gets you in the door at a company, so design it for the widest appeal. Once you get in, you can mention your hack in interviews if you want.

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    What would be an example of a project with a broad appeal? – Daniel Paczuski Bak Apr 20 '16 at 11:48
  • @DanielPaczuskiBak What projects have you done that haven't involved hacking??? My point is that your resume is what gets you an interview. Don't put anything on it that would make a lot of people throw it out. For some jobs, your hack shows desirable skills. For most, it could be a red flag. Save your hack for the interview, where you can read the room, and give a detailed explanation. – Mohair Apr 20 '16 at 12:18
  • "Your resume is what gets you in the door at a company, so design it for the widest appeal." When posting a resume to a place like LinkedIn I agree this is good, but in general I think this is a bad idea. You can have more than one resume. I'd highly recommend tailoring each resume to each position you apply for. – Captain Man Apr 20 '16 at 14:33
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You should not put it in your CV, at least not without endorement.

By hacking a multiplayer game you're proving that the game has security flaws, and that you've discovered and managed to break into their (suposedly) secure code.

While that is impressive, it's also quite possibly that it will be frowned upon. But there is one exception:

Contact the Company you hacked. Seriously. The game company would be more than interested in fixing the security flaw you found, and as such, you could quite easily help them fix it.

Aaaaaand, since you've helped find and fix a security flaw, you wouldn't need to say that you hacked someone, but that you correctly found and fixed a security flaw for Company X.

In the end, you get the experience of cracking a company, and you help that company become safer. On top of that, you get to put on your CV that you have experience with Online Security, without it looking bad on your resume.

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It highly depends. I wrote my senior thesis on hacking a large MMO. I contacted the company before hand about what I thought and they said it was okay since I had no interest in manipulating the system. It had worked and I wrote an amazing paper. They had made a patch for it the next day to fix it. About 2 years later I worked for that company. It was a great experience.
However, for most other jobs, I wouldn't recommend taking pride if you arbitrarily hacked a game. As a developer and designer, it is really upsetting when someone breaks my app "because they can" especially when it affects sales and other users' experience. In most cases, I would probably also shelve the offender's CV.

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