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Old 01-30-2014, 03:26 PM   #1
Ryanms3030
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Career changes-worth paying for classes/certs?


I am sort of interested in moving toward doing Linux admin work one day.

I have been working in technology in audio/video and media world for about 10 years and I am getting burned out and want to do something different.

I would say I have admin level experience on Win and Mac OSX and basic corporate networking knowledge. I have had to configure and set up lan and fiber switches, NAS nad SAN,video conferencing, set up SQL databases, IIS, apache, build and configure desktops etc throughout the years. I don't have formal training or certs in any of those things just learned on the job as needed.

If I wanted to make a career change to do Linux admin work would it be worth spending my own money on classes and certs or just continue to learn on my own?

Realistically I am giving myself a two year window to get out of my current career and I expect that I would initially take a step back into a more junior role than what my current job is.
 
Old 01-30-2014, 05:11 PM   #2
MensaWater
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Most employers look for experience over training.

However, these days many jobs require both Windows and Linux administration. If you emphasized your knowledge of Windows and your knowledge of open source tools such as Apache you might be able to talk yourself into a job that would let you spend more time on Linux as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. (And heck, who knows, such a job might be enough of a change for you to get over the burn out factor.)
 
Old 01-30-2014, 05:32 PM   #3
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Never hurts to get good training.
 
Old 01-30-2014, 05:34 PM   #4
Ryanms3030
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MensaWater View Post
Most employers look for experience over training.

However, these days many jobs require both Windows and Linux administration. If you emphasized your knowledge of Windows and your knowledge of open source tools such as Apache you might be able to talk yourself into a job that would let you spend more time on Linux as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. (And heck, who knows, such a job might be enough of a change for you to get over the burn out factor.)
Thanks for the info. From most research I've done, the common answer is it's not worth it unless it's one of the Red Hat certs. The funny thing is I work for a very large company that has Red Hat subscriptions and pay for training but since it's not directly related to my current job my boss isn't going to let me take the classes on his dime. Which I guess makes sense because they think I'll get certifications and then leave for another job...which I probably would
 
Old 01-31-2014, 03:28 PM   #5
MensaWater
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So maybe you should try to get to the boss that uses the RHEL stuff and let him know you're interested. It is often easier to get in house moves for things you aren't fully qualified for than to go to new jobs. Most of what I learned about computers initially including UNIX before I made the switch to IT was because I worked on it as an adjunct to my Accounting career. I've been doing SysAdmin professionally since around 1991 but didn't take my first actual UNIX training class until around 1996.
 
Old 01-31-2014, 04:07 PM   #6
Ryanms3030
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Originally Posted by MensaWater View Post
So maybe you should try to get to the boss that uses the RHEL stuff and let him know you're interested. It is often easier to get in house moves for things you aren't fully qualified for than to go to new jobs. Most of what I learned about computers initially including UNIX before I made the switch to IT was because I worked on it as an adjunct to my Accounting career. I've been doing SysAdmin professionally since around 1991 but didn't take my first actual UNIX training class until around 1996.
Thanks. That is how I feel. If I can get my way into the department that would be my best shot. I know it would be hard to get a job in the field without at least professional experience.
 
Old 03-25-2014, 02:20 PM   #7
Ryanms3030
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I finally had the opportunity to sit down and talk to my boss about this. He is the VP of technology where I work so it's hard to get time with him. We have 4 system engineers that deal with systems now and what he basically told me is that the most junior person on the team has about 7 years of experience. In other words, don't hold my breath ;-). So I guess any career change into Linux admin world would involve a job change and probably about a 50% pay cut to work an entry level position at 37 years old. Probably not a realistic option
 
Old 03-25-2014, 03:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryanms3030 View Post
I finally had the opportunity to sit down and talk to my boss about this. He is the VP of technology where I work so it's hard to get time with him. We have 4 system engineers that deal with systems now and what he basically told me is that the most junior person on the team has about 7 years of experience. In other words, don't hold my breath ;-). So I guess any career change into Linux admin world would involve a job change and probably about a 50% pay cut to work an entry level position at 37 years old. Probably not a realistic option
The "VP of technology" may only be parroting back what someone told them. Chances are, the view from the trenches is a bit different than what they think it is.

If you have a decent footing with Linux/Unix now, and can perform basics, why don't you approach it from a different angle at your company? Spin up a Linux box from some old hardware, and ask the current *nix admins what they suggest, and let them know you want to learn. Maybe they would like to implement Nagios/Zabbix, but don't have the time...which is where YOU come in. Installing/configuring it would teach you a lot, as would the upkeep. It would also get you in good with the *nix admins, and make any move that way much easier. They would KNOW you work well with them, have at least a good bit of knowledge, have performed a tangible task that's helped the company, etc. If a position comes up, you'd be the first in line.

I have NEVER given a 'certification' much weight at all. I've known too many who have been 'certified', and can't perform basics.
 
Old 03-25-2014, 04:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TB0ne View Post
Spin up a Linux box from some old hardware, and ask the current *nix admins what they suggest, and let them know you want to learn. Maybe they would like to implement Nagios/Zabbix, but don't have the time...which is where YOU come in.
I generally agree with what you say here but I don't on this one. There's pretty much no chance any *nix admin would let someone who isn't on their team spin something important up. Especially something that keeps info on the network.

My suggestion would be to use it at home. Buy yourself a physical firewall and configure it. Create your own DNS and DHCP servers. Use virtual machines. Set your network up like a business would, and then talk about your experiences when being interviewed.
 
Old 03-25-2014, 08:58 PM   #10
Ryanms3030
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Originally Posted by YankeePride13 View Post
I generally agree with what you say here but I don't on this one. There's pretty much no chance any *nix admin would let someone who isn't on their team spin something important up. Especially something that keeps info on the network.

My suggestion would be to use it at home. Buy yourself a physical firewall and configure it. Create your own DNS and DHCP servers. Use virtual machines. Set your network up like a business would, and then talk about your experiences when being interviewed.
Thanks. That's pretty much what I have been doing minus the physical firewall so far. And yeah, I work for a very large and very corporate company with lots of procedures and I would never be allowed to play around with any production systems
 
Old 03-26-2014, 09:51 AM   #11
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YankeePride13 View Post
I generally agree with what you say here but I don't on this one. There's pretty much no chance any *nix admin would let someone who isn't on their team spin something important up. Especially something that keeps info on the network.
The teams I've worked with over the years have all played together nicely. And if it's something they need/want, and don't have time to do it, why not let another admin (from the same company), do something to help? Especially since it's something not working now..what would be the harm? Even if the guy totally botches it, who cares? It's not done ANY damage, since it wasn't working to start with. Zero risk, with the potential to help folks out. Especially since, as I said first, he does this on old hardware at his desk. I've never turned down offers of help (depending on what the offer was, of course) for something like this.
Quote:
My suggestion would be to use it at home. Buy yourself a physical firewall and configure it. Create your own DNS and DHCP servers. Use virtual machines. Set your network up like a business would, and then talk about your experiences when being interviewed.
All good things to do, especially with DNS and DHCP (OP take note). You DO NOT want to bring up those services at the office, unless you are ABSOLUTELY SURE things won't get pear shaped. Having a whole team get competing/invalid DHCP addresses from the workstation under your desk will cause a good deal of havoc.
 
Old 03-26-2014, 11:19 AM   #12
aristocratic
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Outstanding advice here. It is always good to hear what folks working with Linux in industry have to say about breaking into Linux careers.
 
Old 03-26-2014, 11:26 AM   #13
Ryanms3030
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Originally Posted by YankeePride13 View Post
My suggestion would be to use it at home. Buy yourself a physical firewall and configure it. Create your own DNS and DHCP servers. Use virtual machines. Set your network up like a business would, and then talk about your experiences when being interviewed.
Any suggestions on physical firewall? Is that something I could do cheaply on raspberry pi?
 
Old 03-26-2014, 11:29 AM   #14
szboardstretcher
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If you mean physical: Juniper ssg5

Otherwise: OpenBSD
 
Old 03-26-2014, 01:33 PM   #15
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I just made a job change as drastic as the one you are talking about and I did the exact way TB0ne said. I started a couple years ago by going to the guy wo was doing the job and told him what I was looking to do and said I'd do some of his lighter work, that eventully lead to me filling in for him when he was on vacation, then when he left I moved into his job temporarily and was finally offered the job on the 11th of March. In my case it was a pay raise but that was just a side benefit. My natural inclination is always keep things at the lowest level possible this time it worked out because it was a "natural" transition that was years in making.
 
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