Tetevi Placide Ekon is a graduate student studying civil engineering at the 2iE Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso. He was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced this month.   

Since receiving his bachelor’s degree in water and environmental engineering and moving onto graduate school, he has nurtured a passion for computer science, and especially open source. Tetevi has completed free courses covering Linux, Apache big data systems and more, and he plans to use this scholarship to pursue more advanced training.


Tetevi Ekon

Tetevi Placide Ekon, LiFT scholarship recipient Can you tell me more about yourself and where you are from?

Tetevi Ekon: I am 24 years old, and am studying civil engineering in Burkina-Faso (West Africa) but I am from a neighbouring country to Burkina-Faso: Togo. Both of those countries are French-speaking countries but because my father lives and works in Ghana (English-speaking country), I can speak both English and French. Why do you love IT?

Tetevi: I think from as long as I can remember I’ve always loved computers and everything that is related to them in any way. Computer science would have been my major at school but since my father is a civil engineer, that career path seemed like a better choice. How did you develop that interest/passion?

Tetevi: Although I chose civil engineering over computer science, my love for computers didn’t vanish and in December 2014, I discovered the existence of MOOCs through platforms like Coursera, Edx, Udacity …  I would have loved to do a double major in CS and Civil engineering but that option wasn’t available at my college so MOOCs seemed to be a good way to learn all the CS skills I wanted.

In addition those MOOCs were free and taught by professors from top institutions like MIT, Harvard, and Stanford. All I had to do was a bit of time management and I could actually acquire solid skills in CS while still completing my major in civil engineering. That’s how I really got into programming and all the CS stuff. How do you plan to use your LiFT scholarship?

Tetevi: I will be taking the “Developing Linux Device Drivers” course. I really am thankful for this scholarship for allowing me to take a course on such an interesting topic as device drivers; a course I never would have been able to take any other way. I have even already received the manual for the course. How will the scholarship help you achieve your dream of becoming an IT professional?

Tetevi: I am planning on completing this course and then taking the LFCE exam. I’ve taken an operating systems course from Udacity and I really enjoyed that very much. I love the idea of low-level programming and am planning on taking additional low-level programming courses after “Developing Linux Drivers.” As for jobs, I really don’t know what opportunities will come out of a Linux Certified Engineer Certification but I do hope it helps me land a very fulfilling job in the IT world. What is your experience with Linux?

Tetevi: I have Linux installed on a virtual machine on my Mac, and I use it most of the time for my online courses. I can program in all the C family programming languages and I do it through an editor, which means I use the Linux terminal to run and debug the programs I write: kind of forces you to learn the “Linux Programming Language” … plus my favorite editor is vim.

Doing my online course assignments on Linux, has made me realise the OS wasn’t that hard to use and, since some of those courses can be really intense (HW/SF Interface from Coursera, Algorithm Toolbox from Coursera, Big Data with Apache from Edx …), it really forces you to learn how the whole Linux system is organised, which is why I have done the LFS101x course through EdX; a course that greatly helped. Why did you learn Linux?

Tetevi: Linux is present almost anywhere and computer science is present in every discipline; so I think learning more about the Linux system is important for anybody’s future and I certainly am not an exception. I like programming and I am graduate student in Engineering; I think mastering the Linux system is just a must-do for me. What is your dream job?

Tetevi: I have recently discovered that one of my best qualities is my ability to learn new things very fast. For a long time, I have tried to figure out what was that one thing I can be the very best at in the world, and I really think now that if such a thing exists it must be my ability to learn at a very fast pace.  At first, that sounded a little small of a quality to me but then I realised that in the IT and software world, that was far from being a small quality. I also realised my ability to master a subject is also greatly impacted by my level of interest in the specific subject. I just love IT and anything related to it. I think what IT people are able to do is just amazing, and I am determined to become one of them and a very sharp one.


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Students and recent graduates, Linux beginners, longtime sysadmins, aspiring kernel developers, and passionate Linux users are all counted among the winners announced today who will receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship.

The LiFT Scholarship Program gives free training courses to individuals who may not otherwise have access to these opportunities.  The recipients will also receive a Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) or Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) exam.

This year, 14 LiFT scholarship recipients were chosen from more than 1,000 applicants, spanning in age from 13 to 66 and hailing from six continents.

The training provides recipients with the tools they need to advance their career or get started in one of the most lucrative jobs in IT. According to the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report, 65 percent of hiring managers say open source hiring will increase more than any other part of their business over the next six months, and 79 percent of hiring managers have increased incentives to hold on to their current open source professionals.

“I am currently seeking a full-time position as a Linux kernel developer, preferably in open source,” said Ksenija Stanojevic, 29, an engineer and former Outreachy intern from Serbia who is a LiFT scholarship recipient in the Kernel Guru category. “This scholarship will directly help me achieve my goals. Apart from giving more job opportunities it will allow me to work in a field that I love and am passionate about.”

Over the past six years, The Linux Foundation has awarded 48 scholarships worth more than $130,000 to current and aspiring IT professionals.

“Providing scholarships for advanced training helps those individuals who directly benefit from it to then contribute to existing open source projects and even start new ones, as well as pass their knowledge along to their communities,” said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin.  “We hope these scholarships serve as a catalyst for helping open source continue to grow and thrive.”

This year’s winners across seven categories include:

Academic Aces

Ahmed Alkabary, 23, Canada. A recent graduate of the University of Regina, where he earned degrees in computer science and mathematics.

Tetevi Placide Ekon, 24, Burkina Faso. A graduate student studying civil engineering at the 2iE Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering.

Developer Do Gooder

Luis Camacho Caballero, 42, Peru. A Linux user since 1998 who started a project to preserve endangered South American languages using Linux.

Kurt Kremitzki, 28, United States. Studying biological and agricultural engineering at Texas A&M and working with a university in Mexico to design irrigation systems for a Mayan community in the Yucatan.

Linux Kernel Guru

Alexander Popov, 28, Russia. A Linux kernel developer who has had 14 patches accepted into the mainline kernel to date.

Ksenija Stanojevic, 29, Serbia. An Outreachy intern who has worked on splitting the existing IIO driver into MFD with ADC and touchscreen parts and has contributed to the Year 2038 project.

Linux Newbies

Yasin Sekabira, 27, Uganda. A graduate of the computer science program at Makerere University.

Lorien Smyer, 52, United States. A former bookkeeper who decided she wanted to start a new career in computer science.

SysAdmin Super Star

Jacob Neyer, 20, United States. Deployed with the United States Air Force, where he administers Linux servers.

Sumilang Plucena, 33, Philippines. A systems analyst at the largest hospital in the Philippines, which runs Linux on all its servers.


Sarah Burney, 13, United States. An eighth grader at her middle school in Maryland, who has already completed a data science course at Johns Hopkins, as well as several coding programs.

Florian Vamosi, 15, Hungary. A grammar school student who has been using Linux since age 10, who is working on a color recognition system to categorize stars in astronomical research.

Women in Linux

Shivani Bhardwaj, 22, India. A recent computer science graduate and Outreachy intern who has already had more than 75 patches accepted to the staging driver of the Linux kernel.

Farlonn Mutasa, 21, South Africa. Passed the CompTIA Linux+ certification exam, which opened the door to a sysadmin internship.

The Linux Foundation aims to increase diversity in technology and the open source community and support career development opportunities for the next generation, especially those who have traditionally been underrepresented in open source and technology.

Get more information on The Linux Foundation Community Giving Programs.


Open source is the new normal for startups and large enterprises looking to stay competitive in the digital economy. That means that open source is now also a viable long-term career path.

“It is important to start thinking about the career road map, and the pathway that you can take and how Linux and open source in general can help you meet your career goals,” said Clyde Seepersad, general manager of training at The Linux Foundation, in a recent webinar.

Certification is one clear path with real career benefits. Forty-four percent of hiring managers in our recent 2016 Open Source Jobs Report said they’re more likely to hire certified candidates. And 76 percent of open source pros surveyed believe certifications lead to a career boost.

The Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) and Certified Engineer (LFCE) exams are great opportunities for sysadmins to polish and prove their skills. The exams are available online to anyone in the world at any time. They’re also performance based, working within a Linux server terminal and overseen by a proctor. Because the format is not multiple choice, even seasoned pros will need some preparation in order to avoid common mistakes and complete the exam within the time limit.

To help you prepare for the certification exam, and a long and successful sysadmin career, we’ve gathered some tips, below, from Linux Foundation certified sysadmins who have completed the LFCS or LFCE exams.


Chris van Horn

Chris van Horn, LFCS

1. Practice

“Experience is key. Spin up a VM, take a fresh snapshot of it and go to work applying all the requirements of the exam in practice. When you feel you have satisfied all the exam topics thoroughly, apply that fresh snapshot to revert changes and begin again until it is second nature. Also, feel comfortable with man pages; they are your best friend when Google is not an option.”

Chris Van Horn, Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) and a “Debian guy.”


Dashamir Hoxha

Dashamir Hoxha, LFCS

2. Give it time

“The best preparation is your experience. If you feel that you have enough experience with the topics required by the exam, you can give it a try. Otherwise, you have to work hard to get those skills.

Don’t think that in a short time you can learn everything.”

Dashamir Hoxha, LFCS, an Ubuntu user and open source contributor.


William Brawner

William Brawner, LFCS

3. Learn how to use man pages

“If you haven’t already, get familiar with the man pages. Know what they are and how to use them efficiently.

No matter how much you study, you can’t learn everything, and if you could, you wouldn’t retain it all anyway. The man pages will fill in the gaps.”

William Brawner, LFCS, and Arch Linux user who plans to take the LFCE exam next.


Francisco Tsao

Francisco Tsao, LFCE

4. Understand the material, don’t just memorize it

“Forget recipes, it’s not about memorization. Understand what are you doing by reading some books and documentation that give you a deep background of the tasks you’ll perform at the exam and in real life.

Imagine real problems and try to solve them.”

Francisco Tsao, LFCE, self-professed Debian fanboy and Fedora contributor.


George Doumas

George Doumas, LFCS

5. The boring stuff is still important

“Do not rely on one book only! Study and practice…even the stuff that you find mundane.

A portion of the tasks are boring, but you cannot avoid them.”

George Doumas, LFCS, and a fan of Scientific Linux, openSUSE, and Linux Mint.

6. Follow the instructions


Jorge Tudela Gonzalez de Riancho

Jorge Tudela Gonzalez de Riancho, LFCS

“For experienced professionals, I recommend that they prepare the environment for the exam, and follow the instructions. It’s not a difficult exam if you work daily with Linux.

On the other hand, for newcomers, apart from having a look to open/free resources, I just encourage them to set up a Linux environment at home and get their hands dirty!!”

Jorge Tudela Gonzalez de Riancho, LFCS, Debian user and Raspberry Pi enthusiast.

7. Have fun!


Gabriel Canepa

Gabriel Canepa, LFCS

“Make sure you love what you are doing, and do not forget to have fun, to experiment, and then to do it all over again and again, and make sure you learn something new each time.”

Gabriel Canepa, LFCS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux admin and technical writer.

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Each year for the past six years, The Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarship Program has given away free training courses to individuals who may not otherwise have access to these opportunities.  

This year the 14 recipients chosen for a LiFT Scholarship will also receive a Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) or Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) exam, allowing them to clearly verify their skills to potential employers.

The 2016 program is open to individuals who demonstrate a passion for Linux or open source software and an interest in advancing their skills.  Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. PST on June 30, 2016 and will be reviewed by a panel at The Linux Foundation. Recipients will be notified in mid-July and an announcement will be made in August.  

Submissions will be accepted in seven categories:

  • Linux Newbies: Individuals who are new to Linux but have learned the basics by completing the Intro to Linux online course (LFS101x) are invited to apply. Recipients in this category will be awarded a scholarship specifically for the next course in this career-focused series (LFS201 – Essentials of System Administration) as well as the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) exam.

  • Teens-in-Training: Students 13 – 18 years of age who have already started using Linux and/or open source software and want to get a head start on a career in the field.

  • Academic Aces: 2016 high school or college grads already familiar with Linux and/or open source software but who want to prepare for their career with extra training. Applicants must be 18 years or older.

  • Women in Open Source: We invite women who have demonstrated leadership or want to take initiative in creating opportunity for themselves or other women in the Linux and open source community to submit applications in this category.

  • SysAdmin Super Stars: These applicants should have already begun using Linux or open source software in their workplace but want to take their work to the next level with additional training.

  • Developer Do-Gooder: We invite developers who are using Linux and open source software to advance their communities to submit applications, so they might expand that good work while enhancing their skills.

  • Linux Kernel Guru: This category will recognize an individual who has already worked with the Linux kernel community and who can become a more valuable contributor.

The LiFT Scholarship Program has awarded 34 scholarships worth more than $100,000 over the life of the program. The training provides recipients with the tools they need to advance their career or get started in one of the most lucrative jobs in IT. According to the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report, 65 percent of hiring managers say open source hiring will increase more than any other part of their business over the next six months, and 79 percent of hiring managers have increased incentives to hold on to their current open source professionals.

The Linux Foundation aims to increase diversity in technology and the open source community and support career development opportunities for the next generation, especially those who have traditionally been underrepresented in open source and technology.

Submit your scholarship application today!


Dice and The Linux Foundation recently released an updated Open Source Jobs Report that examines trends in open source recruiting and job seeking. The report clearly shows that open source professionals are in demand and that those with open source experience have a strong advantage when seeking jobs in the tech industry. Additionally, 87 percent of hiring managers say it’s hard to find open source talent.

The Linux Foundation offers many training courses to help you take advantage of these growing job opportunities. The courses range from basic to advanced and offer essential open source knowledge that you can learn at your own pace or through instructor-led classes.

This article looks at some of the available training courses and other resources that can provide the skills needed to stay competitive in this hot open source job market.  

Networking Courses            

The Open Source Jobs Report highlighted networking as a leading emergent technology — with 21 percent of hiring managers saying that networking has the biggest impact on open source hiring. To build these required networking skills, here are some courses to consider.

Essentials of System Administration

This introductory course will teach you how to administer, configure, and upgrade Linux systems. You’ll learn all the tools and concepts necessary to efficiently build and manage a production Linux infrastructure including networking, file system management, system monitoring, and performance tuning. This comprehensive, online, self-paced course also forms the basis for the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator skillset.

Advanced Linux System Administration and Networking

The need for sys admins with advanced administration and networking skills has never been greater. This course is designed for system administrators and IT professionals who need to gain a hands-on knowledge of Linux network configuration and services as well as related topics such as basic security and performance.

Software Defined Networking with OpenDaylight

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a rapidly emerging technology that abstracts networking infrastructure away from the actual physical equipment. This course is designed for experienced network administrators who are either migrating to or already using SDN and/or OpenDaylight, and it provides an overview of the principles and methods upon which this technology is built.

Cloud Courses

Cloud technology experience is even more sought after than networking skills — with 51 percent of hiring managers stating that knowledge of OpenStack and CloudStack has a big impact on open source hiring decisions.

Introduction to Cloud Infrastructure Technologies

As companies increasingly rely on cloud products and services, it can be overwhelming to keep up with all the technologies that are available. This free, self-paced course will give you a fundamental understanding of today’s top open source cloud technology options.

Essentials of OpenStack Administration

OpenStack adoption is expanding rapidly, and there is high demand for individuals with experience managing this cloud platform. This instructor-led course will teach you everything you need to know to create and manage private and public clouds with OpenStack.

OpenStack Administration Fundamentals

This online, self-paced course will teach you what you need to know to administer private and public clouds with OpenStack. This course is also excellent preparation for the Certified OpenStack Administrator exam from the OpenStack Foundation.

Open Source Licensing and Compliance

A good working knowledge of open source licensing and compliance is critical when contributing to open source projects or integrating open source software into other projects. The Compliance Basics for Developers course teaches software developers why copyrights and licenses are important and explains how to add this information appropriately. This course also provides an overview of the various types of licenses to consider.    

Along with these — and many other — training courses, the Linux Foundation also offers free webinars and ebooks on various topics. The free resources listed below can help you get started building your career in open source:



The Linux Foundation has launched a new self-paced, online course to help senior Linux sysadmins prepare for the advanced Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) exam.

The Linux Networking and Administration (LFS211) course gives students access to 40-50 hours of coursework, and more than 50 hands-on labs — practical experience that translates to real-world situations. Students who complete the course will come away with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed as a senior Linux sysadmin and pass the LFCE  exam, which is included in the cost of the course.

The LFCE exam builds on the domains and competencies tested in the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) exam. Sysadmins who pass the LFCE exam have a wider range and greater depth of skill than the LFCS. Linux Foundation Certified Engineers are responsible for the design and implementation of system architecture and serve as subject matter experts and mentors for the next generation of system administration professionals.

Advance your career

With the tremendous growth in open source adoption across technology sectors, it is more important than ever for IT professionals to be proficient in Linux. Every major cloud platform, including OpenStack and Microsoft Azure, is now based on or runs on Linux. The type of training provided in this new course confers the knowledge and skills necessary to manage these systems.

Certification also carries an opportunity for career advancement, as more recruiters and employers seek certified job candidates and often verify job candidates’ skills with certification exams.

The 2016 Open Source Jobs Report, produced by The Linux Foundation and Dice, finds that 51 percent of hiring managers say hiring certified professionals is a priority for them, and 47 percent of open source professionals plan to take at least once certification exam this year.

Certifications are increasingly becoming the best way for professionals to differentiate from other job candidates and to demonstrate their ability to perform critical technical functions.

“More individuals and more employers are seeing the tremendous value in certifications, but it can be time-consuming and cost-prohibitive to prepare for them,” said Clyde Seepersad, Linux Foundation General Manager for Training. “The Linux Foundation strives to increase accessibility to quality training and certification for anyone, and offering advanced system administration training and certification that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, for a lower price than the industry standard helps to achieve that.”

Register now for LFS211 at the introductory price of $349, includes one year of course access and a voucher to take the LFCE certification exam with one free re-take. For more information on Linux Foundation training and certification programs, visit


Starting an open source program office is a growing trend among companies that leverage open source software in their business strategies.

Led by an open source program officer, open source offices can range in size from one or two advocates on an engineering team to an entirely separate R&D division. But the goal is the same: to strategically address common challenges companies face when adopting open source software.

“An open source office whether centralized or by division can bring multiple best practices on how a company can manage consumption, compliance and contribution to open source” says Nithya Ruff, the head of SanDisk’s Open Source Strategy office, in the Q&A below. “It can create a proactive plan for driving more strategic involvement in projects important to the company’s roadmap and drive clear and common messages.”

The TODO group, which became a Linux Foundation project in March, is a cross-industry effort that brings together open source program managers to help establish open source best practices, tools and programs and support corporate open source engagement.

Open source program managers from Twitter, Box, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and SanDisk will be on hand at OSCON May 18-19, 2016, in Austin, Texas, to discuss why they started open source offices at their companies and the lessons they learned along the way.

We caught up with Nithya Ruff for a preview of their panel discussion, “Open source lessons from the TODO Group.”

Be sure to attend the TODO Group talk from 1:50 p.m.–2:30pm on Wednesday, May 18 in Meeting Room 9C.

And visit The Linux Foundation booth #109-2 to collect a wooden Linus Torvalds token for the OSCON open source history game for attendees. What are some of the common challenges companies face when they start adopting open source?

Nithya Ruff: Companies that have not grown up with open source in their DNA face a number of challenges when they first adopt open source or look at adopting an open source strategy.

a.       They don’t completely understand the licenses and legal obligations and often see it as a single license which would force them to open their intellectual property or trade secrets.  Once they start understanding it more deeply they realize that one can consume without creating obligations and that there are a number of different licenses each with their own obligations.   So legal education is the first challenge.

b.      The second is to create awareness of the need to engage with open source and the need to have a strategy around how the company needs to work with open source communities. This is a strategy and a business discussion with executives and business leaders so that they support the need to have a plan and investment in this effort.  These are the top 2 areas of challenge. How does creating an in-house open source office help companies maximize their open source involvement?

Ruff: One can continue to engage with open source in an ad hoc and distributed manner but this often creates issues and challenges with messaging, unintended consequences, multiple processes and confusion in the market on company intent.  It could also inadvertently expose a company to compliance risks.  An open source office whether centralized or by division can bring multiple best practices on how a company can manage consumption, compliance and contribution to open source. It can create a proactive plan for driving more strategic involvement in projects important to the company’s roadmap and drive clear and common messages. What is one of the key lessons SanDisk has learned about corporate open source participation since starting its open source office two years ago?

Ruff: The biggest lesson has been learning about how much open source activity there already was in the company and how we would not have any knowledge of this and support it without starting this initiative.  Knowing consumption and dependencies has allowed us to shape our compliance and community engagement plan. How have you benefited from your involvement in the TODO Group?

Ruff: Just this week, I needed to know a simple and best practice way to manage contribution license agreements or CLAs.    I contacted my fellow open source officers in other companies via the TOoDOo group and within hours I had two very usable solutions.  This is huge, to be able to consult each other on the best way to do things.  I am a big believer in reuse and to not recreate.  And this was a great example of how we can share practices..   TOoDOo members have been generous in sharing their time and coming to SanDisk to share their practices like Guy Martin (Autodesk) and Cedric Williams (PayPal) did recently. It is impactful to hear from other companies and to learn from their initiatives in open source.  This is one area, where we don’t compete and are happy to share. What will TODO Group members discuss in your panel at OSCON?

Ruff: Open Source officers in companies are still rare. There are less than 30 of us and we know there is a lot of pent-up need for information on how to set it up.  We will discuss what TOoDOo does, what each of us do at our companies and shed light on helping companies manage their open source efforts successfully. What else are you looking forward to at OSCON this year? What do you hope to accomplish by attending?

Ruff: I always enjoy attending OSCON as it covers culture and community very well side by side with technical topics.  I look forward to connecting with friends in the community. I am also doing a talk on why it is important to market in open source.  We all need people on the project who can write clearly, tell stories and create awareness.   The business side of open source is a passion and I look forward to sharing this at OSCON this year.