How to get your first job as Linux admin...?

Hello good people, :wave:

I wonder how to get my first job as a linux admin? What do I need to know from the Linux environment…? :thinking: :thinking:

Thanks :pray:

You start from the bottom, like everywhere else. Going through helpdesk, hopefully getting some useful experience and then moving up the ladder or going to another company. You need lots of knowledge about linux, besides the typical scripting and using a package manager. When things go down, you need to know how to repair them, instead of wiping and restoring, although that is an option when it would take more time to repair.


I know that, :+1:
I have already attended a Linux course and I am preparing to take the Linux certificate. Is there a good video that shows specifically how to work with the most important and advanced commands used on servers? YouTube, Udemy… :pray:

That, I don’t know. I would say most of it comes from experience. Try setting up a monitoring system, maybe zabbix in your homelab and other services, like a postgres for zabbix and other things, maybe a vaultwarden server, add an apache or nginx and a bare basic website, then set up a nginx or haproxy reverse proxy to that web server. Other things, like XMPP and an internal mail server may also be welcome as experience. Public mail server would be even better, even if you don’t use it, because it takes you through a few learning steps, like dealing with the pains of DKIM and SPF.

And if you can, probably do Linux From Scratch, or at least gentoo, to learn the inner workings of Linux, from the kernel, to the ramdisk and bootloader, to the userspace utilities. If you do a VM, gentoo is pretty easy to set up.

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In the lectures, we worked on Ubuntu and VM Rocky Linux. We’ve covered all the essentials…
But, I’m more interested in the practical part…

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Practical part is maintaining an infrastructure basically. Also, when you finish implementing some or all of the above, try doing a backup and then disaster recovery on them.

One example would be to make a PG DB, back it up, shutdown the VM, make a new one and see if you can properly restore the backup to it and use that on your services without any fuss.


Basically I would go with what Biky said, though when Biky said “helpdesk” that almost always means Windows and Android (of course Android is based on Linux but that part of Android is almost entirely irrelevant unless you’re a developer or you need to perform some deep customization on a device, otherwise it’s just the modern equivalent of a Java ME device). Of course the cloud and the Linux-based ChromeOS have changed alot of networks on the client side, but Windows is here to stay for the foreseeable future on many desktops. Device drivers alone are enough to keep people on Windows, let alone millions of applications, coupled with the emergence of WSL and the vast ecosystem of existing developer tools (not just Windows development but also development on various embedded systems, including, ironically, embedded Linux and BSD-based systems. For example, the modern Playstation may run FreeBSD but the games are still made on Windows). Even if all of the clients in an organization are running ChromeOS, the power users are still likely to be on Windows workstations, and that’s before you factor in all of the virtualized Windows servers (that are hosted on otherwise Linux-based servers) in the world that host data that needs to accessed from anywhere. Like it or not, knowledge of Windows is still the bare minimum in most places, even in places where the infrastructure is Linux-based.

My journey is a bit different. Like alot of old school IT people i’m entering the field from the more hands-on direction, ie starting out in jobs that heavily involve messing with wires and multimeters. Despite having a CompTIA A+ certification and 600 hours of IT training, i’m currently in the device repair field. I fix phones, tablets, laptops, battery packs, GPS systems, medical devices etc. At my previous job I also did alot of work on desktops and game consoles, disassembling and cleaning some of the filthiest electronics you can imagine.

Personally i’m a PC gamer and a hardware enthusiast. I care about the hardware and the applications. I don’t care about the OS in the middle as long as it works, so like you i’m also interested in the practical side of things, but my time and energy is focused on building up my resume enough just to get my foot in the door of the stereotypical IT jobs where you sit at a desk. If your concern is getting into a Linux-centric job as soon as possible, then i’ll be blunt and just say to start learning how to splice ethernet cables and to use devices like a stud finder that allow you to somewhat see into walls. In other words, the telecom field is probably the most direct way to working on Linux if that’s the OS you must work on.

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Thanks a lot everyone for the answers! I will try to learn as much as possible about Linux. :wave: :muscle:

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My apologies. I should have looked at your profile. If I had known you were already an administrator I wouldn’t have typed all of that.

I still stand by my last paragraph. The telecommunications field is still the most direct way to get to work on Linux and other Unix-like systems.

And even if you’ve already gone over it, I think practicing and refining any knowledge you may have on text editors (such as vim and emacs), editing configuration files and compiling programs from raw source code, in addition to changing network settings through the command line in Linux are great ways to get better.

In my case, ironically, I learned more about those things using Cygwin than an actual Linux-based OS, but we all have different ways of learning.

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OK , :slightly_smiling_face:
Yes, I’m an IT admin, helpdesc, for over 13 years! :muscle: I want to work remotely as a Linux admin, that’s why I want to learn Linux, and for that reason I posted a question on this forum… :computer: :popcorn:

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Oh, helpdesk for 13 years. That’s a lot. My colleagues were not looking at anyone who had a helpdesk job for more than 5 years, usually that leads to the conclusion that the person did not have any will to improve, or was not capable. I am not implying that, but people can see it as a red flag. I only stayed helpdesk for like 2.5 years, and that was during college and a little after I graduated.

By this point, even as a windows admin, you should be familiar with the inner workings of DNS if you managed windows servers and with networking, since those are the most typical problems on Windows besides active directory.

By this point, your only salvation would be to do a home lab, emulate everything on a hypervisor: networking, vlans, router, VMs, all of them and know how to back them up and monitor them. Then start applying for jobs as a linux admin.

Without having worked with Windows DNS server and maybe with IIS, getting into linux administration is not really easy as a Linux newbie. Some concepts need to be covered.

Alright, there is not a lot of time to cover much. Here’s your homework:

  • set up bind9 DNS on a server
  • set up a secondary bind9 DNS on another and make it replicate the other one
  • set up an apache web server, can serve a basic html file that you can make
  • set up an apache reverse proxy that points to that web server and make it use a self-signed HTTPS certificate and redirect all traffic from 80 to 443
  • set up a zabbix server and a postgres DB, connect zabbix to postgres and then install the monitoring agents on the servers you made
  • learn how to back up everything on the bare basic, with rsync and pg_dump, then do some backups
  • if you have the time, do a pfsense VM and have it be the brains of your virtual network

You can do this on anything, doesn’t have to be proxmox, you can do it on hyperv or virtualbox on your own desktop. The reason I chose those is because they are the most documented. It should give you the concepts. The more popular options nowadays are nginx and traefik, but those aren’t as widely documented online, it will take a while to learn how to set those up. You can try nginx if you fancy that, it is pretty popular and you could find some good tutorial on how to set it up, but apache is definitely the easier one to get into.

Just learn as much as you can, fill out your resume and start applying for jobs. Unfortunately, helpdesk jobs do not give you much opportunity to learn new things. Some people are fine with that, but if you want to advance, you need to move on.


Thank you very much for this professional answer! This helps me a lot in my further work… I agree with you that the helpdesk is boring, but there are not many good jobs in my country. I will follow your advice and do as you explained to me…
This will be a long period of work for me, but it will surely “pay off…”
Any additional advice would be appreciated!
Thanks again!

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In addition to what others have posted, and while this is Debain based, it hits on many things you’ll face daily (or at least, I do):

The Debian Administrators Handbook

@jay also has several books out on server administration:

Mastering Ubuntu Server

You’ll find no shortage of material covering the subject of “Linux Administration”. Nailing the basics would be a good place to start, then move into specialized areas.

If you really want to dive deep into Linux, Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a really cool project

Linux from Scratch

Why Linux from Scratch (their words)

  • LFS teaches people how a Linux system works internally
  • Building LFS produces a very compact Linux system
  • LFS is extremely flexible
  • LFS offers you added security

As for “getting a job”:

  • Try to find an internship somewhere
  • Work for / Volunteer at Local College/University
  • Get involved with Open Source Projects (Docs, code, implementation, management)
  • Build on your CV
  • Find a cohort group that’s doing the same, maybe create your own project

I agree with you! :+1:
I think I will go from the beginning, LFS and study everything that is most necessary to start a Linux admin and upgrade over time. :computer:

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start by going through the courses that linuxtv has. It will be a good basis and most of what you need is there


Some great replies in here for sure.

Overall, just immerse yourself in Linux and focus on the fun. If you focus on the fun, you won’t risk getting burned out. Be patient with yourself, getting stumped is normal and happens to all of us. But just have fun with it, and you can’t go wrong!