[kwlug-disc] Linux certs and employability

Digimer lists at alteeve.ca
Mon Jul 29 15:44:49 EDT 2013

On 29/07/13 15:23, Paul Nijjar wrote:
> We got a request over the website feedback form from somebody who is
> interested in getting into Linux administration. Here is part of the
> email:
> ======
> I am a Windows Admin but I always liked Linux and I really believe
> that it is  time for me to do something about this.
> Now, i would like you to tell me what courses I should take to become
> a Linux Admin.
> I use Linux on daily bases at home, I am pretty comfortable with it
> but I would like to do more than using it at home. You know what I
> mean.
> ======
> I will write back to this person, but I am not sure what advice would
> be helpful.
> Are there standard, good-quality certs that get people in the door?
> People used to recommend the Red Hat certs. Is that still the case? Do
> the LPI certs mean anything?
> Those who are in position to hire: what sorts of things are you
> looking for in sysadmins? What path would help get this person from
> where they are now (Windows admin, personal Linux experience) to a
> place where you would consider hiring them as a Linux admin?
> - Paul

I made the switch from Windows sysadmin to Linux sysadmin about ten 
years ago. The number one advice I give people is "switch your daily use 
laptop/desktop to Linux". Nothing teaches you faster than using 
something day in and day out.

I had a couple false-starts when I tried dual-booting Windows/Linux 
because inevitably, I'd run into a learning curve annoyance and I'd just 
switch back to what I knew because I just wanted to get something done. 
Only after I went 100% Linux did the learning curve feel shallower than 
an OS install and I was finally able to get over those humps.

As for how specifically to do this; That's a broader question. I don't 
have number, but I would guess that RHEL (and it's clones like CentOS) 
are the most common server distros out there, from a big-business 
perspective. Red Hat offers numerous certification options that are 
highly regarded in big business.

I would not worry about jumping into certification on day 1 though. I 
would suggest installing and using Fedora (RHEL's "upstream") distro and 
just take time to play and get used to it. RHEL 7 will introduce a *LOT* 
of changes over previous RHEL releases, and it will be based on a Fedora 
18/19 hybrid, so it's a great place to start.

After s/he's past the initial learning curve, then I would suggest 
looking at certification options. By that time, s/he will have a much 
better idea of what parts of Linux they find interesting. There are 
many, many different ways to be an admin and certifications are 
generally not super cheap. :)

My $0.02

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