[kwlug-disc] Linux certs and employability

Digimer lists at alteeve.ca
Mon Jul 29 22:28:24 EDT 2013

You have to learn to walk before you learn to run.

You are right; A lot of the tools you will need to use on a day to day 
basis as a *nix sysadmin are not common in the home. What is common 
though is the comfort level and familiarity with the fundamental system.

"Linux on the desktop" does not matter in this case because Paul wants 
to be a Linux sysadmin, not take over the world. You can very handily 
live day to day with Linux as your primary OS. I've been doing it for a 
decade solid and I am lacking nothing but some modern games.

I do have to disagree with the "familiarity on windows has you most of 
the way to understanding Linux" argument. They are very, very different 
beasts. Take any application and look at how they are configured on 
Windows vs. Linux; dhcp, web, firewall, dns, etc... Look at how you 
setup a bonded network interface vs a teamed interface.... so on and so on.

At it's most fundamental; POSIX's idea of "everything is a file" makes 
it drastically different from the Windows environment. Once you start to 
get a feel for piping commands, command-line parsing and text 
manipulation, logic and variables... you can hardly compare it to MS 
command prompt or even power shell.

I'm not interested in arguing which is better, that's an argument for 
another day and several beers. My point is that Paul will have a lot to 
learn to become a Linux sysadmin and the first step is to get 
comfortable with the basics. To that end, nothing compares to switching 
your daily computer to Linux only. You need to jump into the deep end to 
force yourself through the learning curve.

Linux is not hard, at all, but it is different.


On 29/07/13 20:41, unsolicited wrote:
> Get a 2nd computer. Run Linux. Make it your main computer. None of the
> dual-booting nonsense. (Doesn't mean running a vm or wine on it doesn't
> have its place. PIMs come to mind.) Become VERY comfortable with the
> command line.
> I too would like to hear from people like John and Cedric. What's being
> used out there? Moreover, what's the larger segment of jobs - user
> support, or infrastructure support? Which do you (the 'employee') want
> to focus on?
> Not to start a flamewar (1), but my sense from this list is that linux
> on the desktop still isn't.
> Not to start a flamewar (2), but running at home vs in an enterprise,
> are vastly different beasties, particularly if your home desktop isn't
> the work desktop. (Home trouble tickets?)
> multi-premise management, RAID, disk arrays, blades, server farms,
> routing, firewalls, nic bonding, user maintenance (LDAP), server uptime,
> web (CMS?) & e-mail admin, backups, bootp, are all hard to live at home.
> I expect, largely, the principles are the same, regardless of the OS. Be
> comfortable at the keyboard, understand the principles underlying I.T.
> environments. If you understand the above at a Windows level, you're
> well on the way to doing so at a Linux level. Terminology and app
> specifics may change, but that's largely semantics.
> Don't mean to be a damper, but you rather have to live it than learn it.
> The OP's question is a good one - how to home prep oneself to get in the
> door to be able to live it?
> On 13-07-29 06:31 PM, CrankyOldBugger wrote:
>> I'm in the process of making the switch now.  I'm a Windows
>> MCSE/MCSA/MCITP/MCwhoknowswhatelse, and I'm trying to learn Linux.
>> I'm doing the CompTIA Linux+ route, because passing that cert will
>> also get
>> you your LPIC and Novell certs in one shot.  They're all Junior level
>> certs
>> but I think it's a good starting point.
>> I agree that you should run Linux on your main desktop as part of the
>> learning experience, but I also agree that it's hard to stay there
>> when you
>> know you could do something much more quickly in Windows.  I'm guilty of
>> booting to Windows fairly regularly, I have to discipline myself more.
>> On 29 July 2013 15:44, Digimer <lists at alteeve.ca> wrote:
>>> 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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