[SGVLUG] What is a Linux Admin? What should I learn/know?
mathew_2000 at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 25 16:32:23 PDT 2009
--- Question from Edgar ---
Also, for one of the next LUG meetings, I
have a topic that is of interest to me and
hopefully some others might think it's
worth discussing. I see a lot of jobs out
there that are for Linux Admins. I manage
several Linux servers here (two CentOS and
one OpenSUSE) but I don't think I'd consider
myself a Linux admin. So my question is,
what should be considered a Linux Admin?
What skillset, what specific experience
should one have, what tools should one
be familiar with.
Should they know true UNIX (AIX, Solaris,
or HP/UX)? I hope this isn't too trite for the group.
--- please feel free to add your input ---
Hi, here's my "quick" reply
What is a Linux Admin?
It's a really good question.
Many people are linux admins, and are actually
hired or have job titles which do not say
linux/unix/other OS admins.
Typically a system admin is responsible
for the availability and maintenance of
a computer system and the applications
on that system. Backups and recovery
are a part of that.
OH, and you may also be a bit of a
network admin. ( need to know about
routers their protocols and the like.. )
WOW, that's a LOT of stuff you need to know.
Normally Linux/Unix admins know some programming
skills to help them do their admin work.
( shell scripts, perl, python, etc... )
That typically differentiates linux/unix
admins from Windows Admins ( tho imho
good windows admins should know how to
program also. )
OH! You MUST know the command line.
( I almost forgot to mention this one..
as it seems like a standard expectation
for me ) AND imho "vi"/"vim".
Why "vi"/"vim"? - while you may like other
editors better, it seems that just about
every unix/linux installation has it installed.
I guess the bottom line is you know you
are a linux admin IF you get hired as a
Normally the big one employers are looking
for is EXPERIENCE. ( tho you maybe able to
find some good entry level jobs )
WHAT to know? That will depend on what your
employer needs. SAMBA? Apache? Sendmail?
Postfix? mSQL? Postgres? SANs? VMs? Wireless?
PHP? .. the list goes on..
The best way to get an idea is to look at
the job listings for the positions you
are interested in.
I would recommend also to do the course
work for the various certifications out
there, and perhaps even taking the tests.
What about other Unixes/*nixes?
Well, if you KNOW all the variants of Linux
that's ALREADY a lot! Seriously.
However some employers also want you to
know HP-UX, solaris, Open-Solaris, BSD,
AIX,... ( hint checkout uuasc.org )
Personally I think we should see Linux
and the other open source OSes do better
in the long term vs the closed versions.
WAIT what about Windows?
Well, you should know those systems well
enough also, as some admin jobs require
you to at least work with window clients.
( i.e. SAMBA, email clients - outlook, .. )
Well, honestly the more you know the
better it is.
OF course the problem is that things
are always changing a bit and that you
have limited TIME.
What about Certification?
Well, that's another good question...
in general depends on the employer,
some require certification. Others don't.
Again watch the job postings.
In general the Cisco ones are more valued
than say the Microsoft ones.
League of Professional System Admins
SAGE, a USENIX Special Interest Group
look around they should have a good
descript of different levels of system
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