October 20, 2015

Linux Foundation Scholarship Recipient: Yashdeep Saini

logo lf newThe Linux Foundation regularly awards scholarships as part of its Linux Training Scholarship Program. In the five years that the Linux Foundation has hosted this program, it has awarded a total of 34 scholarships totalling more than $100,000 in free training to students and professionals who may not otherwise have access to these opportunities. In conjunction with this scholarship program, we are starting a series to tell you more about these scholarship recipients. We would like to share their stories in the hope that they will inspire others.

Yashdeep Saini, a scholarship recipient in the Developer Do-Gooder category, lives in India and conducts workshops to spread awareness of Linux to others. His primary interest is in cybersecurity and, through working with different attack vectors, he has come to understand the need for addressing security features from the ground up and for open source development and code review. He says his Linux journey has taught him a lot about debugging problems through step-by-step analysis.

How did you become interested in Linux and open source?

Having a low-end system at home in the initial days led to many decisions focusing on storage and optimal usage. Being stuck on a Windows PC was pretty much the barrier. When I started using Linux, the only resources at hand were just a magazine called Linux For You and a CD of Ubuntu -- no Internet. After 5 to 6 times of crashing the system and failing to install because of no knowledge of Linux, I had success. A sudden difference in throughput from the same hardware made me more interested in its usage. At this stage, I was still not aware of open source exactly and the meaning of open source itself.

SainiIn a course on C/C++ programming, I faced a challenge of doing everything on a PC with Borland Turbo C and then coming back home to do it again in gcc. This constant searching led to further understanding of the difference in academic learning and industry standards. The next step was definitely a dive into learning about the true power of open source technologies. At each step, there was some documentation or another person online to guide me.

In between these stages, getting addicted to the automation provided by Linux was something which kept me involved at another level. Knowing what a shell is capable of was an eye opener, as I could modify or control the system the way I wanted. Just like any other newbie to Linux, pipes and filters were hot stuff for me and changed my view about the command line. I remember showing off my script of an alarm clock -- a shell script that checks the time and plays vlc through its command-line interface or says a text through text-to-speech system -- at a festival to Windows users.

What Linux Foundation course are you planning to take with your new scholarship?

LFD320 -- Linux Kernel Internals and Debugging

How do you expect to use the knowledge you gain from the course?

My personal interest is in the field of security. Pretty much all of my time is spent on learning various platforms and languages and developing the knowledge that industry requires for being an experienced security engineer.

A handful of students and I started a Linux user group called mpstme.glug in our college. This scholarship was bonus news to us. We mostly conduct workshops in our college and sometimes outside to spread more awareness about Linux and open source tools and languages.

Our last workshop was for people who are good programmers and want to start in another language as a side enhancement. So we conducted a workshop on Python programming; we got a really good response from students as well as faculty members who joined in to brush up their skills. In the same manner, I plan to further conduct minor dedicated events from sections of my course that I will be learning thanks to the Linux Foundation.

What are your career goals? How do you see a Linux Foundation course helping you achieve those goals and benefitting your career?

At some point, I want to work as a product security engineer or security systems auditor. My interest is in operating systems and low-level security, which is why I chose the Linux Kernel Internals and Debugging course. When working in systems and low-level security, this level of knowledge about a system is a must. This course is something that will help me fast-track my learning process even though each topic requires a detailed study.

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

I do freelance development and consultancy related to the same field. Currently, I’m not part of any community project but certain in-house projects are being developed by a tightly coupled group of people with similar interests. The whole project is still in incubation; I certainly plan to make it open source at a mature stage.

In terms of hobbies, I love playing soccer; it’s the best way for me to stay in shape and let go of steam when tired of work. I represented my high school in district level tournaments.

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