Introduction to Careers in Linux Administration
Linux family of the Operating System was first released in 1991 by Linus Torvalds. Since then it has become an integral part of the IT and Computer Science community. Initially released as a Kernel to speak with the hardware and translate it to the software, Linux has found its place in home-based desktop systems to powering of Web servers, from huge Data Centers to Mainframes, from Android mobiles to Smartwatches, Linux is everywhere!
Linux family of OS comes with numerous open-source distributions namely – CentOS, Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, etc. There are some commercial distributions of Linux servers that are prominent across the industry – Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), SUSE Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu Enterprise, etc. In this article, we will discuss the possibility and promises of careers in Linux Administration.
In the current IT market, Linux skill is one of the most sought-after job prospects. Especially, Careers in Linux Administration are in huge demand. The industry seeks qualified professionals to tackle their server administration tasks. With the advent of Big Data and cloud computing technologies, demands of Linux System Administrators have seen several folds growth every year. Although, there are many training courses, tutorials, and videos available both in open source as well as in the commercial platforms, yet having a professional certification always keeps you ahead in the job race. Professional certifications are provided by RHEL, HP, Oracle, and LPI while the online course can be taken from e-learning platforms that can help you in cracking the certification exams.
Learning Platforms: There are more than just sufficient online training institutions and portals that offer beginner to professional level courses. Below are a few of the many institutes. Feel free to visit their respective websites for checking out the batch, fee, etc.
Professional Certification: Linux System Administration Certification is offered by several institutes, many of those are treated as a benchmark and sometimes mandatory by different organizations. RHEL, HP-AIX, Oracle Solaris, and BSD do provide their own certification that is recognized by most companies and organizations across the globe. Below certifications can be targeted by the aspirants –
o Red Hat Certified System Administration (RHCSA)
o LPIC-1 Linux Administrator (LPI)
o Novell Certified Linux Administrator
o Oracle Solaris System Administrator
o IBM Certified System Administrator – AIX
o CSA – HP -UX
Career Path in Linux Administration
Like every technology, Careers in Linux Administration has a well-defined career path. It starts with the Beginner level and goes on to the Senior/Chief System Admin level. We will discuss the responsibilities of each of these roles.
1. Beginner (Trainee Engineer)
a. The engineer is aware of installing Linux
b. It can also install applications on OS
c. Major interaction is GUI based
2. Enthusiast (Engineer)
a. Can set up a home server
b. Works on Command line or terminal
c. Aware of LAMP stack
d. Knows basic networking
e. Is aware of virtualization
3. Beginner System Admin
a. Knows Navigation of filesystem
b. Can Edit File system with precision
c. It is aware of basic utils and commands
d. Can install system-wide software
e. Can create a user and set permission
- Course on XML and Java
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4. Junior System Admin
a. Is familiar with configuration management
b. Adept in resource sharing
c. Aware of basic networking
d. Also, aware of basic Linux sysadmin tools
e. Can mount remote file systems
5. Intermediate (Adv.) System Admin
a. Manages processes and services
b. Takes care of application installation and configuration
c. Is aware of basic security
d. Can write python and Perl/shell scripts
e. Is responsible for role-based system access
6. Senior (Chief) System Admin
a. Works as a problem solver and takes care of task distribution
b. Troubleshoots difficult scenario’s
c. Responsible for automation of processes
d. Knows to swap inter-process communication
e. It is aware of device drivers and their function
f. Does swapping and paging
g. Performance tuning and distributed computing
Job Positions or Application Areas
Almost all small to large tier industries who either use their own Linux servers rented out servers, cloud-based or shared servers require a System Administrator. A Linux system administrator may also be required to fulfil different responsibilities but not limited to –
1. Nodes and grids
2. Applying Enterprise-wide patches
3. Security and antivirus update
4. User access and permission
5. System storage and device access definition
6. Implementation of System policy
7. Audit and configuration management
8. System availability and reliability
9. Backups etc.
Salary (US data and not India specific figures)
A career as a Linux Admin has its benefit both in the form of learning and monetary gain. Below is a generic distribution of employee salary for different roles. This varies from company to company and we have tried to display the average salaries offered at different grades.
(Source – www.payscale.com/)
Conclusion or Career Outlook
The current Big data and service-oriented era have put the service providers under a lot of pressure. Linux as an operating system has been of prime interest due to the features and promises it has shown. The role of Linux System Administrators has been of utmost importance and organizations are queued up for hunting the best and certified Linux administrators. The coming 10 years will see a many-fold increase in the requirement of these resources. These positions come with handsome perks and growth opportunities. The aspirants in this area will have an ocean of opportunities and in case you aspire to grab one, it’s not too late to start.
That is all!