May 17, 2021

What is a “home lab” ? I often hear it’s a good way to hone skills and practice?

People say having a home lab to practice computer networking skills and cyber security is very helpful. Questions:

1) what is a home lab?
2) how do you set up a home lab? What’s needed?
3) what sort of things can you practice? (Coding? Networking? Linux? Windows? Hacking?)
4) can you document your home lab practices and put them on your resume to show future employers? If so, how do you mention this on a resume?

Please explain all the benefits of a home lab thank you



A homelab is any computer, networking equipment, etc. which you use for projects. You can have a homelab as small as a Raspberry Pi or VirtualBox/Hyper-V/etc. on your general-purpose computer, or an entire rack of servers a la r/homelab.

There are no hard requirements for what your homelab has to be, but usually I’d imagine it as having virtual machines and/or containers involved so you can create, destroy, and restore stuff really easy. When I started deep diving on technology, I pilfered my parent’s old desktop and started doing projects on it – trying out Ubuntu Server, coding a bit, etc. before eventually moving up to running a hypervisor and a bunch of virtual machines for different projects.

You can practice any of those, but for networking you might also want some hardware such as a managed (layer 2) switch. This isn’t a *requirement* but I don’t learn well on network simulation tools, so… it was a requirement for me to get off my ass and learn it ;)

Anything you do in a homelab can (and if resume-worthy, should) go on your resume. But it’s what you *do* with your homelab that counts. I don’t want to see “haha I have computers and spend a lot of money on electricity” on your resume – I want to see “I build an AD environment! I infected that AD environment! I created a golden ticket and totally pwned that AD environment! Here’s a super cool blog post about all of this!” – *that’s* a differentiator.


Setting up a virtual machine is always a good idea. You will get different opinions on the best ones, but kali Linux is a good starter. Sites like hack the box and try hack me are good practice sites to help learn skills that you can practice on the virtual machine.

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