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Lorien Smyer is a former bookkeeper who decided she wanted to start a new career in computer science. She was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced in August.  

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Lorien Smyer

Lorien Smyer, LiFT Scholarship Winner

Lorien completed a six-month web development bootcamp, followed by Intro to Linux through edX, where she achieved a 100% grade. She hopes that the additional training provided by this scholarship will increase her chances of finding a job that will allow her to exercise her love of coding.

Linux.com: Why are you switching careers, and why did you choose technology?

Lorien Smyer: I was a bookkeeper for many years. Long ago, I had to hand-enter all data to a paper spreadsheet with a pencil.

When my clients started getting computers, I was fascinated by everything about these amazing tools: the hardware, the software, how customizable it all was. In my spare time, I started taking occasional computer-related classes at my local community college, and doing many IT-related tasks for my clients, in addition to the bookkeeping I was already doing for them.

In 1995, I met the man who became my husband. He got a personal computer that same year, and happily allowed me to become our home IT expert.

A few years ago, the company I had been working for as a bookkeeper and occasional IT tech informed me that my office would be moving to Santa Cruz. Since I didn’t want to move to Santa Cruz, I needed to find something else to do. They were kind enough to give me a year’s notice, so I increased the number of computer-related classes I was taking at my local community college, thinking I might be able to ease into a job in some tech-related field.

When the year was up, initially I continued working generally in bookkeeping/office managing, with some tech responsibilities; but I still hadn’t made a full career switch. My husband and I then agreed that I could start studying full time, in order to try and make my tech career switch possible. I still enjoyed bookkeeping, but really felt most engaged professionally when I was involved in tech-related tasks at work.

The first class I took after starting full-time studying was the Introduction to Linux class on edX, which had just become available. I finished the class in two weeks, with a score of 100, and got my verified certificate. Completing that course gave me confidence that I had made the correct decision to pursue a job in tech.

After that, I completed a full semester of computer science and web development classes at community college, then attended a six-month, 70-hour-per-week immersive web development program at Galvanize.

I am now in the process of trying to pick a field within tech to pursue professionally. I have studied many different areas, and I think they all have attractive aspects.

Linux.com: What is your ultimate dream job, and what are you doing to accomplish it?

Lorien: My ultimate dream job would have a great team of co-workers. I believe, with the right group of people, who all share the goals of working together to help the company succeed and genuinely care about each others’ well-being, I could be happy doing many things.

As previously mentioned, I enjoy pretty much all aspects of the tech field. My dream job, practically speaking, is one that is interested in hiring an older female career-switcher, so it would have to be a job that needs juniors, and has some mentoring and onboarding for new hires. Beyond that, I’m pretty open to what kind of company I work for.

What I’m doing to accomplish finding my dream job? Right now, I’m continuing to add to my skills, and looking at many job listings every day, to see what kind of skills are in demand in the SF Bay Area (where I live).

Linux.com How do you plan to use your LiFT Scholarship? How will it help you advance your career?

Lorien: I plan to use my LiFT Scholarship to take the Linux System Administration (LFS201) virtual course, and then take the LFCS exam. There are many Linux System Administrator jobs available in the SF Bay Area, and I will be very happy to be able to put that skill on my resume.

Interested in learning more about starting your IT career with Linux? Check out our free ebook “A Brief Guide To Starting Your IT Career In Linux.

[Download Now]

 

Open source careers may be even more in demand and rewarding in Europe than the rest of the world, according to new data from the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report released today by The Linux Foundation and Dice. European open source pros are more confident in the job market, get more incentives from employers, and more calls from recruiters than their counterparts worldwide, according to the data.

The full report, released earlier this year, analyzed trends for open source careers and the motivations of professionals in the industry. Now, the data have been broken down to focus specifically on responses from more than 1,000 open source professionals in Europe, and how they compare to respondents from around the world.

“European technology professionals, government organizations and corporations have long embraced open source,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, in a press release. “The impressive levels of adoption of and respect for open source clearly have translated into more demand for qualified open source professionals, providing strong opportunities for developers, DevOps professionals, and others.”

Europeans are more confident than their global counterparts in the open source job market, according to the data. Sixty percent of open source pros in Europe believe it would be fairly or very easy to find a new position this year, as opposed to only 50 percent elsewhere in the world.

Employers in Europe are also offering more incentives to hold onto staff. Forty percent of European open source professionals report that in the past year they have received a raise, 27 percent report improved work-life balance, and 24 percent report more flexible schedules. This compares to 31 percent globally reporting raises, and 20 percent globally reporting either a better work-life balance or more flexible work schedules. Overall, only 26 percent of Europeans stated their employer had offered them no new incentives this year, compared to 33 percent globally.

And recruiters are more active in seeking open source talent in Europe. 50 percent of Europeans reported receiving more than 10 calls from recruiters in the six months prior to the survey, while only 22 percent of respondents worldwide reported that many calls. While worldwide 27 percent of respondents received no calls from recruiters, only five percent of Europeans said the same.

Application development and DevOps skills are in high demand in Europe, similar to the rest of the world. Only in Europe, app development was in higher demand with 23 percent of European open source professionals reporting it as the most in-demand skill, compared with 11 percent of professionals elsewhere.  DevOps was the highest in-demand skill worldwide, at 13 percent, but second among Europeans at 12 percent.

Regardless of where they live in the world, however, all open source professionals said they enjoy working on interesting projects more than anything. Thirty-four percent in Europe, compared with 31 percent globally, agreed this was the best thing about their jobs. However, while respondents around the world said the next best things were working with cutting-edge technology (18 percent) and collaboration with a global community (17 percent), European professionals selected job opportunities second at 17 percent, followed by both cutting-edge technologies and collaboration tied at 16 percent each. Five percent of European respondents said money and perks were the best part of their job, more than double the two percent who chose this response worldwide.

For more information about the worldwide open source jobs market, download the free 2016 Open Source Jobs Report.

 

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.   

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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.

 

Interested in learning more about starting your IT career with Linux? Check out our free ebook “A Brief Guide To Starting Your IT Career In Linux.”

[Download Now]

 

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

Sign up to receive one free Linux tutorial each week for 22 weeks from Linux Foundation Training. Sign Up Now »

More and more professionals are preparing for certification to fill in gaps in their Linux knowledge, build confidence, and prove to to their management team or hiring managers that their skills are sharp. According to the latest 2016 Open Source Jobs Report from The Linux Foundation and Dice, 76% of open source professionals believe that certifications are useful for their careers, while 44% percent of hiring managers report that candidates holding certifications were more likely to be hired.

But despite all the compelling evidence that certifications are valuable for career advancement or making it past the “HR Firewall” some professionals are still reluctant to attempt to pass their certification exam. Whether the roadblock is fear of failure or uncertainty about how to properly prepare, The Linux Foundation is committed to addressing those challenges and helping you succeed.

Join us for a webinar session on Thursday, June 9, 2016, at 10 a.m. Pacific, focused on tips, tactics, and practical advice that will give you the confidence to take the leap to commit to, schedule, and pass your next certification exam.

By attending this session, you will learn:

  • how certifications can help you reach your career goals

  • which certification is right for you: Linux Foundation Certified SysAdmin or Engineer?

  • strategies to thoroughly prepare for the exam

  • how to avoid common exam mistakes

  • the ins and outs of the performance certification process to boost your exam confidence

  • and more…

Save your seat >>

Once you register, you’ll receive an email with important information about the webinar, in this email you’ll also find a link to submit your certification questions early, for a better chance of having the topic addressed on-air.

Ready to get started with certification now? Linux Foundation Training is offering a new course, LFS211 Linux Networking and Administration to help prepare senior Linux sysadmins to pass the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) exam, which comes bundled with the new course.