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How to become a Linux system administrator

Link to this post 24 May 11

I have heard a few suggestions, but I would like a few more. After all it will be quite an investment in time and money.
So far I have these:

Online school
Study on my own
Go to college
Fast paced training courses (all day for 5 days)

My problems with online school is that can they really be trusted and has anyone ever done online school? Is it worth it?

When I study on my own there are many things I don't know already and I am becoming very confused.

Going to college....I don't drive and there is no college close to me that offers Linux courses.

Fast paced training courses sound good, but can someone really retain all that knowledge in that short of time?

Keep in mind that I am completely new to this.

-Thanks in advance everyone

Link to this post 24 May 11

The best thing you can do is dig in and get some experience, you can't just come out of school to be a Linux admin as you can with windows, this is because much more knowledge is expected of Linux and Unix admins.

Online schools basically just asks you questions that you can answer with a quick google search, in most cases you don't need proof of skills, that combined with the lack Unix and Linux curriculums may make that a waste of money.

The fast-paced training courses are there for experienced users, if you do not have some familiarity with the subject then the data will go over your head.

My general recommendation is to setup virtual machines and implement various network services including dummy users to test capabilities, then once you are familiar with those skill get out there are volunteer to help non-profit organizations and companies with their tech issues. This will give you real-world experience with the technology and some references that you can use to start your resume.

You can also frequent forums and irc channels as I do seeking questions from others that you can try to answer, that is a good way to learn setup various services and resolve many issues that you generally would not experience on your own systems.

Link to this post 30 May 11

There's a lot of ground to cover to become a good Linux systems administrator and there are not really any short-cuts.
I would start by studying on your own for something like the LPI exams or the RHCT/RHCE.
I would not rush to sit the exams but use the syllabus to help you plan your studies.

The good thing about studying based on the syllabus for a certification program is that it will encourage you to spend time on the areas that perhaps you are not yet familiar with and/or haven't any direct experiences with

Take the time to really understand how the pieces all fit together for a working system.
Also get very comfortable with the command line, the VI editor and the man pages
Get into the habit of keeping good documentation and appropriately commenting config files too.
Develop a logical approach to problem solving.

I would also try lots of things out. By using virtual machines you can build lots of test boxes to experiment with and break things (and you will need to break things if you strive to get good at fixing things..)
Centos is a good choice to practice on as it's a very popular server distro but I would also spend time on Debian as it's also an excellent server platform.


I found the Linux systems administration handbook very helpful in the beginning, my copy dates from 2002 but there is a much more up to date edition.

Good Luck with your endeavours
.brendan

Link to this post 30 May 11

I'm on the same quest. First I tried some books. I collected as many as 24 of them (my entire shelve above a computer). Eventually I found that pdf documentation that comes with Centos (same as red hat) is better than any book I tried. It is very well written with clear instructions. I can follow their guidance even on subjects that I do not understand completely.
The real problem is the basics, not the advanced stuff. In every document they assume that you know some "minimal" Linux. The best training for this that I found is by unix academy DVDs for beginners. It is far from been Hollywood presentation, but it teaches you the right stuff in one week. I was following every lesson and example on the video for a week and it pays back as I passed first two unix academy exams. Now I can do all the essential stuff in command line and I'm reading red hat documentation. Next step for me is to pass two other exams with unix academy and than I'll be learning for Solaris certification.

Link to this post 12 Jun 11

If your goal is to learn linux then you can do it by yourself.
First install Gentoo on a virual machine from minimal CD, then configure everything that just fits your needs. After that configure one of the most popular linux server applications like Samba, Bind, Apache with PHP and MySQL (ot maybe PostgreSQL or FIreBird or even better - MongoDB), any FTP server or anything like that. Also don't forget about IPTables. Forget about XServer, use only the terminal. Start learning shell scripting (bash).
If you get confused about anything you can aways ask in the forums or in the IRC channels. Linux have very strong community support, so feel free to ask about the things that you dont understand.


If you want to get a document that will help you on finding a job - then go to the college.
Actually I engourage you to go to the college with no matter what you want, except that you dont want to go the college. There you will develop your skills in IT. You will learn a lot of cool stuff. Working with Linux is only one part of that IT speciallist should know. Its not bad to learn more.

So if the distance is a problem then go to a college near you and learn Linux at home - that is the best you can do. Learn more and more!

Link to this post 06 Aug 11

If money and time isn't a barrier, why not surround yourself with as many things as you possibly can relating to Linux? Study on your own whilst doing a fast paced training course, get an online course like the ones CBT Nuggets or Learnkey provide and have a look at any college courses that could benefit you. Make sure you use Linux at home and whenever you feel the need to go back to Windows to do something you dont, stick around and find a solution to all your problems, which, you will have plenty of.

Give yourself a set of tasks for administration and do them, research on the forums, google, whatever. It wont be a fast process but you can speed it up by surrounding yourself with it.

MatthewFarmer47 wrote:

I have heard a few suggestions, but I would like a few more. After all it will be quite an investment in time and money.
So far I have these:

Online school
Study on my own
Go to college
Fast paced training courses (all day for 5 days)

My problems with online school is that can they really be trusted and has anyone ever done online school? Is it worth it?

When I study on my own there are many things I don't know already and I am becoming very confused.

Going to college....I don't drive and there is no college close to me that offers Linux courses.

Fast paced training courses sound good, but can someone really retain all that knowledge in that short of time?

Keep in mind that I am completely new to this.

-Thanks in advance everyone

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