Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator: William Brawner


The Linux Foundation offers many resources for developers, users, and administrators of Linux systems. One of the most important offerings is its Linux Certification Program. The program is designed to give you a way to differentiate yourself in a job market that’s hungry for your skills.

How well does this certification prepare you for the real world? To illustrate that, the Linux Foundation is featuring some of those who have recently passed the certification examinations. These testimonials should help you decide if either the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) or the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) certification is right for you. In this installment of the series, we talk with LFCS William Brawner.

How did you become interested in Linux and open source?

About a year ago, I started teaching myself to program. I’ve pretty much grown up on Windows so I had a Windows laptop at the time. I constantly saw recommendations from various online tutorials and lessons to either use Linux or Mac, since Unix systems are easier to work with when it comes to coding. I didn’t have money for a Mac, so I looked into Linux. I decided to give it a go since it was free and then fell in love with it.

LFCS William Brawner

What Linux Foundation course did you achieve certification in? Why did you select that particular course?

I achieved the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) course certification. I chose that because I felt that I was ready to take the next step in my studies, and I wanted to have a firm foundation before moving on to more advanced topics related to system administration.

What are your career goals? How do you see Linux Foundation certification helping you achieve those goals and benefiting your career?

I have a varied set of experiences and skills. In 6 months of working as a web developer, I’ve learned PHP, WordPress, Magento, Shopify, Ruby on Rails, jQuery, AngularJS, and nodeJS, to name a few. I truly enjoy coding, just as much as I do system administration. DevOps has caught my attention, as a result, and I’d like to learn more about it. Having an advanced knowledge of Linux systems would absolutely be beneficial, considering its distribution and use on the web.

What other hobbies or projects are you involved in? Do you participate in any open source projects at this time?

I’m always trying to learn something new. I have a few open source projects on my GitHub account that have been experiments for me to learn new technologies or languages, but I haven’t truly gotten around to contributing to any major open source projects, unfortunately. Since I’m relatively new to development and Linux, I mostly help out around the IRC channels and on the forums, but not directly to the code. I’m hoping to change that soon, however.

Do you plan to take future Linux Foundation courses? If so, which ones?

I plan on taking the Certified Engineer course next. It seems like the next step for me.

In what ways do you think the certification will help you as a systems administrator in today’s market?

Having some sort of proof of knowledge is always beneficial when it comes to looking for work. Building a systems administrator portfolio isn’t quite as straightforward as building a web development portfolio, so it helps to have different types of evidence.

What Linux distribution do you prefer and why?

For personal use, I prefer Arch Linux, due to its openness and ability to be completely shaped into what I need it to be. I’ve also used it to learn more about the deeper workings of Linux and teach myself more by reading through documentation and writing configuration files. For work, though, I need a more stable environment that has more options for software, so I use Ubuntu.

Are you currently working as a Linux systems administrator? If so, what role does Linux play?

My primary job title is Web Developer, but part of development includes deploying the code somewhere, so I am responsible for any systems administration tasks that come through as well. All of the code I work with ends up on an Ubuntu server whether it be a DigitalOcean droplet or an Amazon EC2 instance, and I am responsible for spinning up the server, configuring it, and transferring the code to it. My desktop operating system is also Linux, so Linux is at the core of everything I do.

Where do you see the Linux job market growing the most in the coming years?

I see Linux taking an even larger share of the web servers than it already has, but I also see it being crucial for the Internet of Things and in embedded systems. Being as secure and open as it is, it only makes sense to use it.

What advice would you give those considering certification for their preparation?

If you haven’t already, get familiar with the man pages. Know what they are and how to use them efficiently. No matter how much you study, you can’t learn everything, and if you could, you wouldn’t retain it all anyway. The man pages will fill in the gaps.

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