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rootaccess 12-26-2012 02:31 PM

Wasted 2 years of my life for Linux
Hi all. Some of you may have read some posts that I wanted to become an administrator. I even took official Red Hat classes in a Red Hat Academy. I started linux 2 years ago, I learned some security/hacking stuff, then learned Debian and fell in love with it. I had nothing going for me so I thought it would be wise to become an admin. I put myself through so much stress, sacrificed so much, spent 12-16 hours a day on the computer learning all I could and in the end, I just have to say that I can't take it anymore because its too DYNAMIC. Everything keeps changing, the commands change, the syntax. I even had to email the Red Hat instructor telling him that the commands listed in the Red Hat PDF's are not working and after spending 2 full days on ACL's, I finally found a workaround.

The problem is that what I just learned will be obsolete again soon and even if it won't for a while, is just 0.000000000001% of all the things I am going to have to deal with. I should have never made the decision to become an admin and as much as I know or think I know in this game, it is never enough. I cannot seem to ever learn enough to get a job as the requirements are absolutely insane, let alone have 0 experience or any certs yet, either. I like to be active and workout and this just seems very dehumanizing to me.

Today just seems like reality check after I got off the phone with someone who told me that life is too short and time is too crucial to waste and that is what I feel like happened. I'm currently not working and haven't been for a long time as I wanted to devote all my time to Linux and in the end realized that its an endless cycle of death. The system is tough on its own to trouble shoot. repositories are not what I consider a problem, its the commands, the syntaxes, the way everything evolves just really sucks.

Maybe if the commands were to stay put for the rest of my life, I could learn this stuff and actually just do my job. But after reading countless admin stories, I just don't think this is for me. Anyone else feel like this?


rootaccess 12-26-2012 03:25 PM

And to make matters worse, companies expect you to not only know Redhat, but Debian/Ubuntu, SUSE, Solaris, BSD, and whatever else they think is necessary as well as 5 scripting languages. I don't even know how people are admins, please let me know how much free time there really is in your life. If it was JUST BSD or RH, I could still complain but at least I could focus on 1 system and after having learned that, I could move on the scripting stuff. It doesn't help that the VM world changes, and new technologies come in putting everything at a halt until those are fully learned.

Kustom42 12-26-2012 03:29 PM

Well this sounds like a lot of frustration.

Understand what you are working with, you are dealing with free open source products licensed under the GPL(GNU Public License). This means that it is going to be constantly contributed to by the community and moving forward. Now to get to your post, I do not understand why you are dealing with changing commands and syntax issues this much.

If you are working with RedHat they maintain separate documentation guides for each major release which includes the changes made documented in the first few pages. You don't need to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest and the majority of big companies are going to be atleast a year or two behind the latest releases. I used to work for a web host company that was selling and supported Fedora 7 when Fedora 14 had already hit the market. This doesn't make it wrong, just different.

If you focus on learning the basics of bash and the fundamentals of the OS you should have no problem adapting to the changes from one version to another, bash is always going to be there and that hasn't changed much in quite some time.

Take some advice and learn the fundamentals and basics, a great resource I've referred people to is Read the book provided there, free of charge, by Bill Shotts who created Gentoo. This is non-distrubtion specific and will teach the fundamentals of Bash and the Linux OS and you can take those to debian, redhat, etc..

I have 100% confidence that if you take the time to read that book or another resource like it you will have no problem becoming a great linux admin. I say this because I used similar resources, never attended a day of schooling for system administration, and am now a well versed system admin.

The most important thing is do not get discouraged, if you have questions.. ask. This forum, like others, is a great resource to get these frustrating questions answered.

If you're hurting for work and want to get your feet wet with linux admin work there are plenty of quick and one-off freelance jobs you could take on. There are thousands of folks out there running wordpress sites that have no idea how a server works and need their PHP or MySQL upgraded.

Kustom42 12-26-2012 03:32 PM

To address your second posting, most companies job listings are written by an HR rep who is simply stringing together technical jargon that they have heard. I've gotten jobs where the job description was written as if they were looking for a kernel programmer and it was just simple web admin work.

At the end of the day, if a job was fun they wouldn't pay us to do it. I spend only a few hours a week reading up on new things and when I'm bored I'll play around with a new application or language to check it out. I installed a trial copy of EMC's Networker software just to test it out yesterday.

rootaccess 12-26-2012 03:40 PM

Thanks for the site but I actually know all those commands. When I said commands change, I didn't necessarily mean bash commands. I learned those in a jiffy the first month. I meant redhat/centos specific commands. Or even just regular command on a RH system work differently than they do on a debian system or other. 'setfacl' changed WHILE I was still in class! I had the PDF right in front of me and had to email the instructor to tell him what I found out. He said I found out what they will learn in class today. So what is redhat support for?

I learned everything I did before any class, I only took it for my credits and just to see if I missed anything. I have doused myself in Linux for 2 years so I know all about permissions, iptables, redirection. I have a great trick to do incremental backups with tar or rsync and only backing up files that changed in the last 10 min or 24 hours if I want. I have all these commands and examples written by my own hand saved in a dir called commands on my system. As of now I have 355 files of commands or "section" as I sometimes group networking altogether. I even took the time to study BSD for a bit but now backing off as I don't see any jobs for it and the people that use it are just using it for themselves because they hate the world and the corporate system. I get it. I'm trying to get work in this field. I do like linux but if its not for work, I'm done with it, Ive learned enough to set up my own site, i know DNS, DHCP, ssh, ftp, telnet, its endless but just seems like you can never know enough or are ever good enough for any of these corporations. Maybe now I can see why BSD is in a league of their own against corporatism, as most companies use Linux and not UNIX.

Kustom42 12-26-2012 03:45 PM

Sounds like you have plenty of knowledge to get a great job, maybe just need to tune you resume up a bit.

When I was applying for positions I would walk in with things like a completed red-hat pre-assesment and a few example scripts showing my documentation abilities.

I know for a fact that Rackspace is recruiting like crazy for level 1 and level 2 linux admins and will pay to relocate you. All you need to do is be able to do a simple tech test asking you the same things you stated you already know, what port DNS runs on, how to modify file perms, how to debug linux services, etc..

As far as things changing, I still don't understand your frustration. Unless you did a yum upgrade or apt-get upgrade your local ACL commands would not have changed. Its not like a magic wand that as soon as a contribution is made your system is changed.

rootaccess 12-26-2012 03:47 PM

And I know you mentioned the most important thing is not to get discouraged. Sadly, I am. As much as I know or think I know (I had a linux guy call me an expert and am ready for work), I just don't feel good enough for these bastards. At heart, Im anti-corporate and just hate the thought of slaving away for a company that doesn't give 2 sh!ts about you anyway and being on some 24/7 on call rotation. Im guessing I am sleeping and I get a call because there is an issue at work? Not to mention I see a lot of these jobs as contracts! Such as 6 months or 12 months. Sure, let me just work for 6 months, I don't need to live after that! I think it would just be easier to lay brick and call it a day.

Kustom42 12-26-2012 03:50 PM

Well everything you said is true, but again if it was Disneyland everyday we showed up at work they wouldn't pay us.

Just do your research before you work for a company, any well-run enterprise level shop is going to have good change management and QA processes to prevent that phone from going off at 2:00 A.M. because some developer rolled code out to production without QA'ing it first.

I worked for a financial services company and was on-call and the phone didnt ring once outside of business hours for the entire two or so years I was there.

rootaccess 12-26-2012 03:52 PM


Originally Posted by Kustom42 (Post 4857303)
Sounds like you have plenty of knowledge to get a great job, maybe just need to tune you resume up a bit.

When I was applying for positions I would walk in with things like a completed red-hat pre-assesment and a few example scripts showing my documentation abilities.

I know for a fact that Rackspace is recruiting like crazy for level 1 and level 2 linux admins and will pay to relocate you. All you need to do is be able to do a simple tech test asking you the same things you stated you already know, what port DNS runs on, how to modify file perms, how to debug linux services, etc..

As far as things changing, I still don't understand your frustration. Unless you did a yum upgrade or apt-get upgrade your local ACL commands would not have changed. Its not like a magic wand that as soon as a contribution is made your system is changed.

I'm telling you. I swear to the GOD you believe in. The ACL commands listed in the RedHat PDF did NOT do what it said it would do. I had to set X on the directory because when I set r-x or rx, all files would turn executable. Its just RedHat. A system made for profits. They offer support yet don't really offer it. They leave it to people like me to have to figure it all out for themselves.

I just have to really think if I want to do this. I don't really know that many scripting languages, just bash and writing a bash shell script is not easy. Anyone can stick an rsync command in a shell script and call it a script but a real script is a program. One that does specific things based on conditions and just seems extremely complex. I know I can do it, and call myself a hero. But if thats the case, there are other things in life I can do, too that would probably not be as abstract and dehumanizing. It just doesnt seem like a job to me. They should pay no less than a million dollars a year to be a linux admin because you literally have no life and all you do is deal with headaches.

rootaccess 12-26-2012 03:57 PM

Its true what you say about it not being Disneyland. I see most of these linux jobs at 70-130k, most of them around 80-100k a year. I live in LA and 100k a year is nothing here. I also have fear that soon enough this job will be replaced by coolies when even more technologies choke our world. That means all admins will be Chinese or Indian far away making $8 per hour, just like our Bank reps on the phone...sad world we live in.

Habitual 12-26-2012 04:27 PM

What is sad is that you now label something you loved for 2 years as "wasted".

This too shall pass.

rootaccess 12-26-2012 04:45 PM

Well unfortunately that is what the "system" does to you. I did love it but they force you to learn an astronimical amount of stuff in a short period of time because, well lets face it, I dont plan to stay young forever, or live to a thousand years. I need to get to work and make money so I can enjoy my life. By the time I learn to be a expert programmer and Linux engineer, everything will be obsolete by then. I don't even need to repeat your last line. It definitely WILL pass.

onebuck 12-26-2012 06:16 PM

Member Response

2 years and you feel that everything is already known thus nothing to achieve or learn. I wake up every day and learn something new, hoping that will never change. Maybe you are not cut out to work in this career field. Patience!

Since you say that command line knowledge is complete then what's stopping you from getting a job or creating one of your own.

Personally, I have been working with systems since my days in the Air Force. Moved to mainframes in the early 70s', never boring to me since I was always learning something every day. One thing to have confidence and the other is to prove one self.

Food for thought;

"Knowledge is of two kinds. We Know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."- Samuel Johnson

A tool is but the extension of a man's hand and a machine is but a complex tool. He that invents a machine augments the power of man and the well being of mankind. - Henry Ward Beecher
I have been puzzled before with some topics but always able to over come the situation by learning and digging even deeper. Achievement is earned but knowledge is gained. :)

Maybe your issue is that personal reflection is steered by others or you have doubts in your abilities to work at the next level. You will not know until the first step is taken. Computers are tools that man is always changing or evolving to the next generation. So if you keep learning then hopefully the pathway will be a interesting venture.

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.- Elbert Hubbard

rootaccess 12-26-2012 09:16 PM

Hi onebuck, nice post. A few things. I would have loved to have been born when you were...because in the 70s, UNIX was new and pretty basic. There wasnt all this stuff thats out there today. Aside from networking, all these weird applications, virtualization, SAN, NAS, XEN, and a thousand other things I havent bothered reading into yet since Ive been so swamped with learning other things I need. So you worked through the entire evolution of UNIX and Linux so that was easier than for someone like me who comes in 2010 and has to learn EVERYTHING.

Don't get me wrong, I dont know all the commands or everything, absolutely not. I learn all the time and actually I love learning. I was learning BSD for about a week reading the doc all day and realized I am wasting my time even though I'd love to learn it, I dont have time for it since Linux is the main player in the corporate/nix world anyway. Everything seems to be moving towards RedHat, or so my RedHat instructor claims. He mentions BSD is ok to learn, wont hurt but its better to focus on one system. That makes sense but there are also other linux systems. I know Debian but not SUSE or Solaris which is UNIX anyway. BSD has 3 firewalls that don't resemble iptables in any way. I think the problem is once I know I have to learn all this stuff, it no longer is fun and makes me want to throw my computer in the trash. Because they just expect so damn much!

If I do this, I just want a job working with 1 Linux system. Not 10. Either RH or if it is UNIX, then BSD ONLY. But why can't I get a job? Because I have ZERO experience, in fact, I haven't even been working ANY job for a while now..because I wanted to devote all my time to linux and plus I have other things going on. I think being physically fit is more important to me than any job so that comes first. I don't exercise for hours but I do buy healthy food and cook so that takes up a little bit of my time. So basically to HR I am pretty much a useless bag of sh!t to them as they think anyone who hasn't been working does not deserve a job. So that is pretty much my problem. Not sure what the solution is, maybe I need to intern for 10 years before I get work?

Ztcoracat 12-26-2012 11:17 PM

I assure you that you have not wasted the last 2 years of your life.

There are plenty of folks walking this planet that in no way shape or form could even be able to do what you have done. If anything you need to sit back and examine what you do have because in a second it couldall be taken away.

Regardless of the fact that you have zero experience; you have an education and skill far more greater than the average Joe. (Something to think about) There are folks in this country w/o a degree that barely make it one day at a time and don't even know where the next meal is coming from.

I fully get the demands that were expected of you; but to reach the top of the mountain (theoretically speaking)your going to stumble over a few boulders on your way up. Life is sometimes all about the climb.

I strongly encourage you not to give up.;)
You have come to far to give up or throw in the towel.

If you are experiencing extreme depression or drudgery than it's possible this may not be for you.

You mentioned that you have other things going on-
Here's a few questions that may help you to help yourself:
Are those other things that are going on wrecking/preventing your potential to move on with Linux?
After all that I have accomplished do I really want to continue?
Am I willing to except a starting salary that's less than what is anticipated?

If it helps any it took me 14 years to make top dollar in my field of expertise; I had to prove my skill and start from somewhere. Perhaps this may be the case for you-

I sincerely hope that all will be well for you and soon!

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