2016 LiFT Scholarship Winner Ahmed Alkabary: A Recent Graduate and Aspiring SysAdmin

By August 19, 2016Blog

Ahmed Alkabary is a recent graduate of the University of Regina in Canada, where he earned degrees in computer science and mathematics as an international student from Egypt. He was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced this week.   


Ahmed Alkabary

LiFT Scholarship winner Ahmed Alkabary

Ahmed began using Linux in the second year of his studies and quickly developed such a passion for it that he began extra studies outside of university to advance his skills. His enthusiasm for Linux even led him to develop a free course on Udemy to teach it to others; nearly 50,000 students have enrolled to date.

Now that he has finished his studies, Ahmed hopes to secure a job as a Linux system administrator. The scholarship will help him achieve his career goals by providing him with the additional training and certification he needs to land a position, he says.

Linux.com: Why do you want to be a Linux sysadmin?

Ahmed Alkabary: For me, I don’t just appreciate the Linux operating system but I also feel like it has become my life. Whenever I’m on a Linux based computer I feel like I’m at home. You can say it is a passion that has taken many years of cultivating to become integrated in my life the way it is today.

In 2011 I was eager to purchase a brand new computer, but to my dismay the shop had only one computer that met my requirements. Although unbeknownst to me the computer had a specific operating system that I was unfamiliar with. The operating system was pre-installed with Linux,  specifically openSuse. I was so hesitant to purchase the computer but proceeded anyway. I hoped to change the operating system once I got home, but I was unsure of what came over me to keep Linux. But to this day I feel I have yet to make a decision that would have a greater impact on my life then the day I decided to keep Linux.

Right away I started to notice the efficiency of Linux and how all my needs were met in an instant. I started to teach myself the command line and I became very proficient at it. Then I began to understand why it was developed and how it was created. This sparked a flame inside me to learn more and to research more. I was engulfed in Linux so that it started to become something that I just wanted to do for the rest of my life. This passion that I have for Linux gave me the idea to pursue a career as a Linux sysadmin.

Linux.com: What have you done so far to achieve that goal? How will the LiFT scholarship help?

Ahmed: I took many online Linux courses. I took Introduction to Linux on EdX made by The Linux Foundation. I also took Essentials of Linux System Administration on EdX. I also read many different books on Linux. I am preparing to take my LFCS certification exam next month and after that I would like to learn about the Linux kernel and how to contribute to the kernel project.

The LiFT scholarship will help cover the cost of the LFD420 Linux Kernel Internals and Development course. I want to be a Linux system administrator who has a full understanding of every aspect of Linux. Learning the Linux kernel would guarantee me that. I would also like to be a part of the open source community knowing very well about all the contributions they make to Linux. The kernel community is very supportive and knowledgeable and to become a part of that community would be an honor. In the long run, I even want to be able to write my own operating system!

Linux.com: How did you develop the Linux course on Udemy?

Ahmed: After a few years of using and learning about Linux, I began to notice that there are not so many online courses or resources presented in an approachable manner to newbies. People who want to migrate towards Linux but are afraid to make the move. That’s when it came to my mind to construct a course on Udemy explaining the basics of the Linux command line. I wanted to break the fear that newbies have towards Linux. Most users don’t understand the value and usefulness of the command line interface.

I wanted to explain everything in a simpler manner. I even added animations and graphics so users don’t get discouraged while learning. I decide to make the course completely free because Linux is free to begin with and it would go against my beliefs to charge for something that was free. My aim was never to deter people from Linux but to attract a massive audience all over the world to learn Linux and appreciate its versatility. I also realized that a majority of my students could not afford to pay for an online course.

Linux.com: What have you learned in teaching the course?

Ahmed: Making a course on Udemy and seeing all the messages that I get from the students thanking me for making the course and how I changed their lives motivates me on a daily basis. Whenever I feel like giving up and I get a positive review or a message from a student, It simply makes my day! One thing I learned also is that I am not a bad teacher after all!

Linux.com: You’re a recent graduate, what are you doing now?

Ahmed: Currently I am working as a part-time online instructor at Robertson College in Canada. I teach several computer science courses including introduction to Linux. I basically got this job because of my course on Udemy. Also I am preparing for my LFCS as I mentioned and also working on getting few other certifications (RHCSA , CCNA) to be able to get my dream job as a Linux system administrator. I have gotten numerous interviews for other jobs but I want to keep hunting for my dream to become a Linux sysadmin. I also believe that the LiFT scholarship would enormously help on achieving my dream on becoming a Linux sysadmin.


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