[Linux-aus] Admin certificate help!

David Lloyd lloy0076 at adam.com.au
Sat Dec 31 00:35:21 EST 2011

Hi Graeme,

On 30/12/2011, at 2:41 AM, Graeme White wrote:
> 1/ Am I told old to start this as a carree (No need to be nice)

If you think you're too old then you are; otherwise you're note :)

> 2/ Shold I get a certificate such as LPI or wait for a Junior position come up and apply for it ( I read that certificates are not looked upon that well?)

Certificates are good; LPI is thorough and the RHC* exams are as well. Neither of them, alone, are likely to get you a position without some experience of some sort.

Get that by:

* fiddling about with your own systems (for no particular reason at all)
* setup servers (apache, bind, dhcp etc) from scratch, say from a Gentoo or Debian (NOT Ubuntu) base
* then experiment with Ubuntu Server and Centos 5.X/6.X
* and RedHat itself (I forget if one can get the real RedHat enterprise for nothing or not)

It would be worth seeing if there's any voluntary work. ITShare may be able to help but there'd be other places too.

Of late there haven't been many Linux related questions on LinuxSA (1) however if you scour the web for people asking questions it's worth attempting to answer them [even if you don't post the answer to the list/person etc] because that will just increase your knowledge even more.

> 3/ Perl or Python?

Make sure you learn Bash to a reasonable extent; enough to understand one or more of the more complex scripts in /etc/init.d/. Python vs. Perl is a almost flame war material, even Th.ough Perl is actually the better of the two, however to be fair both can be used in system administration. It would be wise to be able to understand, basically, how to read both. Personally, I'd choose Perl BUT I work with Perl in my professional life. For a system administrator, to be honest, either of them would do but neither of them are as essential as learning Bash, vi (WITHOUT the ) and basic emacs (2). Being able to understand see & awk could be useful however because I know Perl I can generally get away without either of them; I have had occasion to have to read scripts and even programs written in them in the past though.

I would note that none of the programming courses I'm aware of in South Australia would teach Perl or Python up front. They're more likely to target C#, Java, C or C++. Some courses will target a learning language such as Alice and then move onto one of the aforementioned but Perl, especially, tends not to be seen as a serious language [even though it is better than Python].

PS. I'd find a REAL Solaris install or a FreeBSD install OR figure out how to force any of the Linux boxes you're running (you are running more than one? If you can't be bothered setting up real hardware, use VirtualBox or VMWare or even Xen) to use real SH (not Bourne Again Shell - look it up or attempt to ask the difference here without someone telling you to look it up on the Internet somewhere and/or flaming you). One tends to get landed with just 'sh' when one doesn't expect to and it's not quite as nice as BASH. Same with vi vs. vim. Don't get me started with emacs - personally one only needs to know ctrl+G and ctrl+x ctrl+c :P


(1) I have my own thoughts on why but they're rather tangential to this question and they probably belong on Linux-talk

(2) emacs is an abomination; OK that's a little unfair. I just don't like it.

(3) Hint: Perl and Python are both Turing complete, somewhat imperative programming languages. I program Perl daily and many would consider me somewhat "odd" Whilst I maintain Perl is better than Python, there are just as many who maintain that Perl is just an unmaintainable piece of junk that they'd wish would disappear off the face of the earth or at least not resurface until Perl 6 and TWIGILS...

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