IT Career Guide

Linux Admin Skills

Linux Admin Skills: Why it’s Important and How to Master It

In today’s digital world, Linux has become an indispensable tool for businesses and organizations of all sizes. From web servers to cloud computing, Linux is used to power a wide range of applications and services. As a result, the demand for Linux administrators has increased significantly in recent years. Let’s explore what Linux admin skills are, why they are important and how to master it.

Why Linux Admin Skills are Important

As mentioned earlie­r, demand grew hugely for Linux administrators re­cently. With Linux’s soaring popularity, firms need pros skille­d at managing Linux systems. The Linux Foundation’s 2020 Open Source­ Jobs Report shows Linux skills highly sought-after, with 92% of hiring managers hunting Linux tale­nt.

Linux runs devices of eve­ry size, from phones to supercompute­rs. Linux admins work across diverse projects and te­chnologies, constantly expanding knowledge­ and experience­. 

Due to the high demand for Linux administrators, the salaries for these professionals are also quite high. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a Linux administrator in the United States is $95,000 per year.

Essential Linux Admin Skills You Need to Master

Account Management for Users

One of the Linux system administrator’s (SA) main responsibilities is user account management. It is also among the duties that junior-level SAs are typically assigned. This work is assigned to junior-level SAs since it takes a lot of time and is viewed as a “lower-level” activity. Although user account management is not a crucial activity like backup and recovery, troubleshooting, or patching, for example, that categorization is not intended to be offensive to anyone. You can find topics about user account management by searching Enable Sysadmin.

Command Line Proficiency

 Advanced command line operations involve mastering text processing tools such as sed, awk, and grep, alongside understanding the nuances of shell scripting for automating intricate tasks. Customizing and configuring your shell environment (e.g., Bash, Zsh) with personalized aliases, functions, and prompts can significantly enhance workflow efficiency. This proficiency enables the execution of complex operations and customization of the command line interface to suit individual workflows, making it an invaluable skill set for any Linux administrator.

Structured Query Language (SQL)

Although learning SQL isn’t required for most SA jobs, I still advise you to do so. Knowing this is beneficial for many reasons, not the least of which is that it can help debunk the myth that any issue affecting a database server is tied to the infrastructure. It’s usually a good idea to go above your normal duties as a SA in order to advance your career and add value to an organization. Gaining new knowledge is always beneficial. 

Scripting Mastery

The ability to automate complex tasks extends beyond basic scripts to include system health checks, log analysis, and the batch processing of files. Additionally, understanding the nuances of scripting across different Linux distributions and other Unix-like systems ensures that scripts are portable and adaptable. Mastering scripting not only saves time but also ensures consistent and error-free system management, making it a critical skill for efficient system administration.

Firewalls and routers for Networks

It’s critical to have some understanding of the internal operations of your network. Learn how to use the firewall and routers on your network. In order to determine whether your system configurations adhere to Linux system security guidelines, you should run host-based firewalls. You must ascertain which systems and their ports are accessible from the internet, as well as whether or not firewall exceptions have been set up. Request a read-only account with access to all network hardware if you don’t already have it so you can track and query configurations and changes.

Network Switches

Your servers are directly connected to network switches as system administrators, therefore you should be aware of configuration specifics like your VLAN setups and who can alter them. To run queries against all network switches and switch stacks, request read-only access. Additionally, you must be aware of maintenance procedures and operating system and switch hardware vulnerabilities because all of your systems are directly connected to network switches.

Virtualization and Containerization

Proficiency in container orchestration with Kubernetes, including cluster management, service deployment, and scaling, along with advanced virtualization techniques using QEMU/KVM and Docker, enables administrators to efficiently manage and scale applications in virtual environments. These skills are vital for leveraging the full potential of virtualization and containerization technologies in modern IT infrastructures.

Configuration and Troubleshooting

Hardware system configuration, upkeep, and troubleshooting are skills that any SA must possess. It is imperative that you possess the knowledge and skills to handle hardware malfunctions such as RAM, drives, NICs, ports, peripherals, and the infrequent CPU failure. Even if all of your infrastructure is hosted or in the cloud, you still need to be aware of the hardware’s configurations, constraints, and weaknesses so that you can make sure your hosting provider or organization maintains security standards.

How to Master Linux Admin Skill

1. Learn the Basics

Before you can become a Linux administrator, you need to have a strong foundation in the basics of Linux. This includes understanding the Linux file system, command line interface, and system administration tasks. There are many online resources available that can help you learn the basics of Linux.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

To master Linux admin skill, you need to practice regularly. Set up a virtual machine or a dedicated Linux server and start working on different projects. This will not only help you gain hands-on experience but also enhance your problem-solving skills.

3. Join a Linux Community

Joining a Linux community can be a great way to learn from other Linux professionals and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. There are many online communities available, such as LinuxQuestions.org, Reddit’s r/linux, and the Linux Foundation’s Linux.com.

4. Obtain Certifications

Obtaining a Linux certification can be a great way to demonstrate your skills and knowledge to potential employers. There are many Linux certifications available, such as the Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC), Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA), and CompTIA Linux+. 

Check out Yellow Tail Tech’s RHCSA prep course and other programs that can help you with passing these certifications.

Conclusion

With the high demand for Linux administrators and the growing popularity of Linux, mastering Linux admin skills can lead to a rewarding and lucrative career. By learning the basics, practicing regularly, joining a Linux community, and obtaining certifications, you can become a skilled and successful Linux administrator.

to help you get Ready to take the next step in your career? Book a 10-minute intro call today to explore our programs and resources and take the first step towards becoming a certified Linux pro!

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Kevin Reblora

Kevin is a seasoned network engineer with a 13-year background in deploying transport network infrastructure, including IP, optical, and fiber networks. His expertise is complemented by a profound interest in DevOps, underlined by his certification as a Red Hat Certified System Administrator. Kevin excels in his roles as a Course Maintainer and DevOps Coach, where he ensures course content is current with AWS technology advancements and provides extensive coaching to students, empowering them with essential tools and best practices in DevOps.

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