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  1. #1

    Requirements for a Linux Administrator?

    Alright, Hello everyone first of all. I am a undergraduate majoring in IT science at Wayne State university in southeast michigan, however, I am starting to want to change my degree.

    I have been taking the introduction to linux class at my community college which transfers and I love it so much. Its a great OS that has a lot of potential. I am starting to get interested in majoring in a Linux Administrator or something similar. However, the school only provides the basic terminal and command line classes.

    And after doing some research online, I have found out people arent even really certified in linux. What I want to know is, will someone tell me what it takes to get a decent job in the IT field for Linux? I am interested in hearing your opinions and other stuff.

    Thanks, and as always, have a nice day.

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Virginia, USA
    The best part about Linux is that it's not really taught in most colleges or universities. This keeps the labor pool relatively low, which keeps salaries high.

    The best thing you can do if you want to have a career in Linux is to use it every day. Use it as your primary operating system on your personal computer. Simple tasks like installing new software, compiling source code, reading log files, and starting and stopping services (all via the command line) are great skills to have. I also recommend installing CentOS in a VM or on bare metal and get Wordpress (free CMS software) up and running on it.

    Certifications: People will tell you a lot of things regarding this. Is it absolutely necessary? Nope, it's not. Is it a HUGE advantage? Yes, yes it is. I urge you to look into getting Red Hat Certified. This will put you on the Linux career fast track. Currently, here are hundreds of jobs on matching the keyword "RHCE" which is Red Hat Certified Engineer. The next lower level cert is RHCSA, which is Red Hat Certified System Administrator, which is also high in demand. Rhce Jobs, Employment |

    You can study for the Red Hat exams in a variety of ways. Many successful cert holders (including myself) use the study books written by Michael Jang, available on amazon. Just search RHCE on amazon, and you'll see it.

    What does it take to get a Linux job? Ambition. Linux shops are typically small, passionate groups of people. We like people that take initiative and want to learn on their own. I landed my first Linux job by having Windows Desktop support experience, and put on my resume "Daily Linux User and Enthusiast." In fact, that's still on my Resume after a few years in the field now because I think it speaks greatly to what Linux shops are looking for.

    Take some time and check out the major job boards like Career Builder and see what skills and technology firms are looking for. Put together a resume and apply to any and all open linux positions you find. The sooner you get experience, the more valuable you will become. Don't delay, apply today (seriously, if you're comfortable install the OS and have already taken some classes, apply now). The degree requirements listed in job postings are almost never actually required for Linux professionals, even if it's listed under the 'must haves.' Lots of companies use internships, so look through your school and online job boards for those opportunities as well. Upload your resume to career builder, and put a small listing about yourself in the 'resumes' section on craigslist.

  3. #3
    Linux Engineer docbop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Woodshed, CA
    Certifications are only good for beginners trying to get a foot in the door. I've worked computer industry over thirty years and as SysAdmin about half of that time. I have been involve with the interview process for hiring IT people. What matters is experinece and being able to answer questions about your experience that shows your thought process. If you are a noob get experince either with home lab, volenteering, going to user groups or meetups, basicly experiment, make mistakes and work your way out.

    Now and then a noob would be presented and would have a notebook full of cert's, but as soon as you ask them a basic troubleshooting questions they gave you the trout look. If you don't know something, don't say "look it up on the internet" you just shot yourself in the foot. I got into SysAdmin almost by accident. I got an interview for a major ISP and they wanted a programmer for some admin tool, and do some SysAdmin. I go to the interview and they mainly wanted a SysAdmin who could program. So they gave me a IT interview, they asked me questions on things I had never done, but my answers were "never done that, but isn't it like this and works like this?" So instead say I don't know I showed them my thought process. So even with no experince you can show your thought process into looking at a issue or topic.

    So take Linux SysAdmin class, take networking classes, take classes in Python or other scripting type classes. Find others to talk to about this stuff and experiment, break things and fix them, understand why something is an answer not just it is an answer.
    A lion does not lose sleep, over the opinion of sheep.

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  5. #4
    Thanks for the response guys. I do agree, it seems the IT field is more about the knowledge, and thought process, rather than the Certifications itself. I think what I am going to do now is finish up all my major scripting and linux classes, attend local linux events in the area, and go from there. Someone is coming in to my college later to teach us about the BeagleBoard, I think he would be a good contact to start with about information with that.

    Edit: Also dual booting CentOS as my primary OS.. Ill play games on Windows when I need it.

    I'll keep this posted. I appreciate it.


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