A hauler alt is a character trained with just the basic skills to fly industrial ships and use cargo expanders. It can often be helpful to have a hauler character in another region of space. For example, a Jita market alt could be trained to fly a hauler to convert it into a shopping alt with home delivery! Other instances where a separate hauler alt may be required include bringing in supplies during a war or refueling POS while you're away on a wormhole expedition. The skills required to fly something big like a freighter are extensive but if you just train the basics, you can have a functional hauler alt in less than a day.
Skills required: Your race's Frigate III, Spaceship Command III, Your race's Industrial I, Hull Upgrades II
Training time: 1 day
Astrometrics alts are very useful for wormhole operations. Rather than fitting a probe launcher to every ship you use in wormhole space, you can send an alt ahead in a specialised astrometrics frigate. If you get trapped inside, you can then log in the alt and scan a new way out. Information on the location of the new wormhole can be transferred by jettisoning bookmarks at a planet or moon for your main character to collect. Under the new scanning system, only moderate skills are required to find most things. With the introduction of small rigs, it's also incredibly cheap to outfit a probe alt with a rigged astrometrics frigate. The Gallente ship of choice is the Imicus, the Caldari ship is the Heron, the Amarr ship is the Magnate and the Minmatar astrometrics frigate is the Probe. You'll be able to fit an expanded probe launcher and two Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I rigs on the ship with minimal skills.
Skills required: Your race's Frigate II, Science III, Astrometrics III, Astrometric Pinpointing III, Astrometric Rangefinding III, Mechanic III, Jury Rigging I
Training time: 5-7 days
Suicide gank alt:
I covered the act of suicide ganking in an article a long time ago and not much has changed since then. Thanks to new characters getting a 100% skill training speed bonus, you can have a character combat ready in a basic destroyer within a few days. It's very important that you don't delete your suicide characters when they become low on security status and make new ones. Recycling characters to avoid the repercussions in any way is considered an exploit and will get your account banned. To be safe, you should keep the character around as a market alt once its security status becomes too low or move him into low security space to become a sort of budget pirate.
Skills required: Your race's Frigate III, Destroyers I, assorted weapons skills
Training time: 2 days+
There are those that say you need a second account to really make the most of EVE. I've found that while a second account is useful, it's a luxury most people don't need. There are plenty of useful ways those two unused slots on your main account can be put to good use without signing up a second account. I've covered a few of the things I've found alts useful for but there are many other uses, from corporate infiltration and piracy to delivering anonymous tipoffs or even just posting on the forum with a funny name.
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at massively.com. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you want to message him, send him an e-mail at brendan.drain AT weblogsinc DOT com.