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My Linux Job
21 Real-life Linux pros tell us what they do
and offer advice on pursuing
a Linux career.
#myLinuxjob
Mauro Stettler
●
20% testing our infrastructure.
●
30% programming in Python and C on Linux, to
implement new features or fix existing bugs.
●
50% writing Ansible playbooks to implement new
features or fix bugs.
“The main reason why I prefer working on open source
systems is because I don't need to rely on
documentation/support to understand and solve issues,
the best documentation is always the code.
Don't get demotivated if something seems too abstract
or too complicated to understand. Just sit down to
spend some time and RTFM.”
OpenStack Cloud Architect, Kili
Joaquim Rocha
●
CERN allows for flexible hours but I usually follow a
constant daily schedule. I come in the morning and
usually my work consists of implementing new
ideas for the storage systems (currently I am
implementing a new storage library on top of Ceph).
●
There are also meetings to attend and I usually have
lunch with people from about five different
nationalities.
“ I love that it's a multicultural environment, that I get to
meet very interesting people, and that my code is Open
and is helping very important physics research.
Invest your time in Linux and be part of an Open Source
community. It will definitely pay off because Linux is
everywhere and its use will just continue increasing.”
Software Engineer at CERN, the European
Organization for Nuclear Research
Audrey Eschright
●
The Platform team is responsible for the base
operating system on our server appliances, the
product installer, and the product code that
manages system settings.
●
I do things like write new tools for us to use, build
custom Ubuntu server ISOs, implement cross-
platform configuration management changes, and a
ton of debugging.
“The problem solving is my favorite thing. We work on
top of multiple Linux distributions, and the tools and
requirements can be quite varied, so I have to be able to
pick up unfamiliar programming languages quickly,
make sense of things whether or not the documentation
is sufficient, and tell the difference between “I did this
wrong” and “that’s a bug in their code.”
Software engineer on the Platform team at
Elemental
James Bos
●
Checking automated logs that are emailed to me
(mostly results of Cron jobs that have run overnight)
as well as keeping an eye on Nagios.
●
On occasion I need to drive out to another site
where there may be issues, but luckily this is rare,
thanks to Linux!
●
Training staff on using Linux on the desktop (such
as LibreOffice, Gimp).
“Break things, fix things! Today is an amazing time if one
wants to focus on being any kind of Linux pro! We have
VirtualBox which allows us to easily recreate 90% of real
world scenarios. When I was learning, I didn't have that
ability! Read articles, read the man pages and most
importantly, if you Google a fix, make sure you
understand it!”
CTO - NTPS Group, Thailand
Gerhard Mack
●
I dedicate the part of my day before people start
asking me for help to improving and automating
internal systems since that reduces work later. The
rest of my day is spent dealing with support
requests and wish lists from the programmers, the
linguists or the art department.
“I love being a part of a team that is doing something
actually innovative.
Always take the time to go back over your work and
improve things. If you are overloaded, take the time
anyways since the payoff comes later when you get to a
level where fewer problems happen and you spend less
time dealing with emergencies.”
Systems Administrator at Northside Inc. in
Montreal, Canada
José Miguel Sarmiento
●
I design, mount and develop physical infrastructure
and our workflow platform. All of this runs on
Ubuntu Server 12.04 with PHP and MySQL.
●
A typical day consists of assisting customers with
their technical questions and designing and
supervising improvements to our system.
“My favorite thing is the freedom to create; to
choose the right technology and implement in
harmony with the rest of the running system. This
gives us the possibility to probe new and amazing
technologies and techniques while a system runs
over a secure and robust back-end.”
Lead Engineer and Founder, AlertSolution
Lowell Higley
●
Read e-mail, attend meetings, make decisions. 
●
In a little more detail, I usually work on and
implement product strategy for our Linux on
System z product line. I get frequent interruptions to
make decisions about pop-up issues such as fixing
vulnerabilities, how a particular feature should be
implemented, or whether or not user guides should
have an index.
“Being a large player in the market for Linux solutions
and tool sets for a 50-year- old computing platform that
can run circles around typical platforms is just super
cool.  Who else can say their product is capable of
running a couple hundred Linux instances on a single
piece of hardware?  Yeah, super cool.”
Sr. Principal Product Manager, CA
Technologies
Jonas Björk
●
At SONY Mobile I'm supporting and maintaining the
software stack (built on Ubuntu Linux).
●
At System Easy Admin AB I'm always in some kind
of project, so I usually do tasks related to that. At
the moment I am building a new platform with
veewee, vagrant and puppet. That takes some time.
I read blogs (security related) and I follow the news
on Twitter.
“Job? It doesn't feel like a job. I have fun every day
creating things that matter for other people. I know that
my optimization of one environment will make
developers' jobs easier, and they will be happier. I know
that the websites that I'm working with are loved by
millions of visitors around the globe. That makes every
day worth the effort.
Chief Networking Officer at System Easy Admin
AB in Stockholm, Sweden and a consultant for
SONY Mobile Communications AB
Terri Oda
●
I get to work with various projects to review and
improve their security protections, and I also
participate in a number of World Wide Web
Consortium working groups to help make sure that
security is built in not only to our open source
products, but also the standards that we use.
●
My average day involves a lot of asking questions,
learning, experimenting, breaking, fixing, explaining
and arguing.
“In open source, community matters. I went to
conferences as a young aspiring professional, and the
friends and colleagues I have met through open source
starting with those early connections have introduced
me to wonderful new technologies, people, ideas, and
opportunities. Choose a few communities you like,
focus your contributions and really get to know the
people, not just the technologies.
Security Researcher at the Intel Open
Source Technology Center
Elena Ufimtseva
●
Find why some functionality is broken by using
software and hardware debugging
●
Finally fix what is broken or find a workaround
●
And keep trying to find a permanent fix.
“My favorite thing is constant learning, complex
problems.
Try to pick harder tasks and ask people from the
community if you get stuck, but be specific and show
that you have done research beforehand – the Linux
community is very responsive but only when they see
your real interest.”
Software Engineer, Citrix
Chris Travers
●
While my co-founder manages most of the
virtualization solutions for the hosting (we use Linux
virtualized via KVM), we both build infrastructure on
top of that.
●
I also do the database architecture and a significant
portion of the programming for our internal
operations.  
●
I also have other jobs on my plate.  For example, I
am working on improving EU VAT (tax) compliance
in LedgerSMB since this issue affects us.
“The best job is the one you create yourself. Yes there
is more overhead there, but it will take you places you
would never before have thought possible.  Be creative,
and build interesting things.”
Co-founder and director at Efficito, Ltd.
Mike Stone
●
One of the great things about my job is that there
really is no typical day. First I check my email and
other various notification services to see if we had
any overnight issues. If there are issues resolve
those as quickly as possible.
●
I have around two to three meetings a day. I work
on my various projects and tasks. I leave between 5
and 5:30.
●
I check my logs and alerts again before bed and
resolve any outstanding issues.
“I really have a great opportunity to work with amazing,
brilliant people. I learn something new every day.”
Production Support Analyst/Programmer for
McKesson 
Elbert Hannah
●
General support, writing tools, reports.
●
Learning new technologies almost every day, new
frameworks (django, rails, Springs with Roo),
reports with bells and whistles (gnuplot for graphs
and charts).
“Think of something you want, write it. Now find a
different language or tool. Write it again. When you're
not doing something, scan the /bin, /usr/bin, and any
other directory. Do a "man" page for any command you
don't know. Don't memorize anything, learn enough to
know what's available. Use search tools and documents
and code examples to extend your need to know on a
just-in-time basis. Do this all the time. You will find that
over time your depth and breadth of linux expertise
becomes vast.”
Lead Engineer (IT), CME GROUP
Surendhar Ravichandran
●
Check the defective nodes in a cloud.
●
Identify the root cause.
●
Fix and get them back to production.
“My favorite thing about my job is seeing
different technologies merge together and work
like a charm.
My advice is to learn by actually doing it.”
Engineer, Apple
Xenia Ragiadakou
●
(Study, code, build, reboot, debug) x many times
“My favorite thing is the fact that I do not consider it as a
"job."
My advice is that since the Linux kernel is an open
source project, aspiring Linux pros need to have a
strong presence in the Linux open source community
with code contributions, code reviewing, code testing,
etc. Open source gives a great opportunity to get
involved in a project that really interests and fits you and
in parallel advertise your acquired coding and designing
skills.”
Software Developer, OnApp
Rodolfo Saenz
●
I work giving remote consulting and on-site training
services.
●
For the consulting it's mainly installing and giving
support on TSM and Linux. For the training it's very
interesting to interact with newbies and
experienced people that enjoy Linux.
“Be bold and believe in yourself.”
Independent TSM (IBM Tivoli Storage
Manager) and Linux Consultant and Trainer
Alessandro Morales Ebersol
●
I maintain five websites, all with Joomla and
they run on Gentoo. I also help users as a
support and help technician, locally or
remotely.
“I started on GNU/Linux in 2003. Seems like 12
years later, my instincts were right. So, my
advice is: Study a Unix-like OS, might be BSD,
might even be MacOSX, but study it, and improve
your skills. The future is posix compliant, and if
you ignore it, you'll miss the boat.”
Civil servant working for the government of
Brazil
Bobbin Zachariah
●
Solutions/Migration/Virtualisation/Disaster
recovery solutions using open source
resources for business infrastructure.
“Linux has grown a lot as businesses started
thinking for best solution with minimal cost. In
the early days an entrepreneur/ IT Manager
never much thought of using Linux/open source
due to lack of support/resources. Now it’s
changing and in coming years there will be tons
of jobs for Linux geeks. There are a lot of
opportunities in tools development using open
source resources.”
Founder, IT Consultant
Mat Enders
●
Watch Zenoss for alerts and respond
accordingly. The majority of my time is spent
responding to alerts that by the time I get
there have cleared.
“The best thing about my job is when I get an
alert for something that requires investigation,
find what is causing the alert, and then fix it.  I
really enjoy solving the problems.”
Monitoring Tech, Nexcess.net
Joe Mendes
●
Debugging customer related issues,
scripting, coding.
“The best thing about my job is working on the
cutting edge of the SSD revolution!
My advice is: enjoy it. It's evolving every day and
you'll never stop learning!”
System Applications Engineer at LSI
Corporation
Sean Walberg
●
Lately I've been splitting my time between building
new servers for an upcoming project with Chef and
trying to figure out how some existing services are
built (so that I can automate them with Chef and
other scripts.)
“I like the scale of what we're doing. Our client has a
huge web presence and I like that I'm doing work to
automate their Linux servers and network.
My advice is learn to code. It's a force multiplier in terms
of the work you can do, and it lets you talk to the
developers who run the apps in their own language.”
Senior infrastructure specialist at Northfield IT

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My Linux Job: 21 Linux Pros Tell Us What They Do

  • 1. My Linux Job 21 Real-life Linux pros tell us what they do and offer advice on pursuing a Linux career. #myLinuxjob
  • 2. Mauro Stettler ● 20% testing our infrastructure. ● 30% programming in Python and C on Linux, to implement new features or fix existing bugs. ● 50% writing Ansible playbooks to implement new features or fix bugs. “The main reason why I prefer working on open source systems is because I don't need to rely on documentation/support to understand and solve issues, the best documentation is always the code. Don't get demotivated if something seems too abstract or too complicated to understand. Just sit down to spend some time and RTFM.” OpenStack Cloud Architect, Kili
  • 3. Joaquim Rocha ● CERN allows for flexible hours but I usually follow a constant daily schedule. I come in the morning and usually my work consists of implementing new ideas for the storage systems (currently I am implementing a new storage library on top of Ceph). ● There are also meetings to attend and I usually have lunch with people from about five different nationalities. “ I love that it's a multicultural environment, that I get to meet very interesting people, and that my code is Open and is helping very important physics research. Invest your time in Linux and be part of an Open Source community. It will definitely pay off because Linux is everywhere and its use will just continue increasing.” Software Engineer at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research
  • 4. Audrey Eschright ● The Platform team is responsible for the base operating system on our server appliances, the product installer, and the product code that manages system settings. ● I do things like write new tools for us to use, build custom Ubuntu server ISOs, implement cross- platform configuration management changes, and a ton of debugging. “The problem solving is my favorite thing. We work on top of multiple Linux distributions, and the tools and requirements can be quite varied, so I have to be able to pick up unfamiliar programming languages quickly, make sense of things whether or not the documentation is sufficient, and tell the difference between “I did this wrong” and “that’s a bug in their code.” Software engineer on the Platform team at Elemental
  • 5. James Bos ● Checking automated logs that are emailed to me (mostly results of Cron jobs that have run overnight) as well as keeping an eye on Nagios. ● On occasion I need to drive out to another site where there may be issues, but luckily this is rare, thanks to Linux! ● Training staff on using Linux on the desktop (such as LibreOffice, Gimp). “Break things, fix things! Today is an amazing time if one wants to focus on being any kind of Linux pro! We have VirtualBox which allows us to easily recreate 90% of real world scenarios. When I was learning, I didn't have that ability! Read articles, read the man pages and most importantly, if you Google a fix, make sure you understand it!” CTO - NTPS Group, Thailand
  • 6. Gerhard Mack ● I dedicate the part of my day before people start asking me for help to improving and automating internal systems since that reduces work later. The rest of my day is spent dealing with support requests and wish lists from the programmers, the linguists or the art department. “I love being a part of a team that is doing something actually innovative. Always take the time to go back over your work and improve things. If you are overloaded, take the time anyways since the payoff comes later when you get to a level where fewer problems happen and you spend less time dealing with emergencies.” Systems Administrator at Northside Inc. in Montreal, Canada
  • 7. José Miguel Sarmiento ● I design, mount and develop physical infrastructure and our workflow platform. All of this runs on Ubuntu Server 12.04 with PHP and MySQL. ● A typical day consists of assisting customers with their technical questions and designing and supervising improvements to our system. “My favorite thing is the freedom to create; to choose the right technology and implement in harmony with the rest of the running system. This gives us the possibility to probe new and amazing technologies and techniques while a system runs over a secure and robust back-end.” Lead Engineer and Founder, AlertSolution
  • 8. Lowell Higley ● Read e-mail, attend meetings, make decisions.  ● In a little more detail, I usually work on and implement product strategy for our Linux on System z product line. I get frequent interruptions to make decisions about pop-up issues such as fixing vulnerabilities, how a particular feature should be implemented, or whether or not user guides should have an index. “Being a large player in the market for Linux solutions and tool sets for a 50-year- old computing platform that can run circles around typical platforms is just super cool.  Who else can say their product is capable of running a couple hundred Linux instances on a single piece of hardware?  Yeah, super cool.” Sr. Principal Product Manager, CA Technologies
  • 9. Jonas Björk ● At SONY Mobile I'm supporting and maintaining the software stack (built on Ubuntu Linux). ● At System Easy Admin AB I'm always in some kind of project, so I usually do tasks related to that. At the moment I am building a new platform with veewee, vagrant and puppet. That takes some time. I read blogs (security related) and I follow the news on Twitter. “Job? It doesn't feel like a job. I have fun every day creating things that matter for other people. I know that my optimization of one environment will make developers' jobs easier, and they will be happier. I know that the websites that I'm working with are loved by millions of visitors around the globe. That makes every day worth the effort. Chief Networking Officer at System Easy Admin AB in Stockholm, Sweden and a consultant for SONY Mobile Communications AB
  • 10. Terri Oda ● I get to work with various projects to review and improve their security protections, and I also participate in a number of World Wide Web Consortium working groups to help make sure that security is built in not only to our open source products, but also the standards that we use. ● My average day involves a lot of asking questions, learning, experimenting, breaking, fixing, explaining and arguing. “In open source, community matters. I went to conferences as a young aspiring professional, and the friends and colleagues I have met through open source starting with those early connections have introduced me to wonderful new technologies, people, ideas, and opportunities. Choose a few communities you like, focus your contributions and really get to know the people, not just the technologies. Security Researcher at the Intel Open Source Technology Center
  • 11. Elena Ufimtseva ● Find why some functionality is broken by using software and hardware debugging ● Finally fix what is broken or find a workaround ● And keep trying to find a permanent fix. “My favorite thing is constant learning, complex problems. Try to pick harder tasks and ask people from the community if you get stuck, but be specific and show that you have done research beforehand – the Linux community is very responsive but only when they see your real interest.” Software Engineer, Citrix
  • 12. Chris Travers ● While my co-founder manages most of the virtualization solutions for the hosting (we use Linux virtualized via KVM), we both build infrastructure on top of that. ● I also do the database architecture and a significant portion of the programming for our internal operations.   ● I also have other jobs on my plate.  For example, I am working on improving EU VAT (tax) compliance in LedgerSMB since this issue affects us. “The best job is the one you create yourself. Yes there is more overhead there, but it will take you places you would never before have thought possible.  Be creative, and build interesting things.” Co-founder and director at Efficito, Ltd.
  • 13. Mike Stone ● One of the great things about my job is that there really is no typical day. First I check my email and other various notification services to see if we had any overnight issues. If there are issues resolve those as quickly as possible. ● I have around two to three meetings a day. I work on my various projects and tasks. I leave between 5 and 5:30. ● I check my logs and alerts again before bed and resolve any outstanding issues. “I really have a great opportunity to work with amazing, brilliant people. I learn something new every day.” Production Support Analyst/Programmer for McKesson 
  • 14. Elbert Hannah ● General support, writing tools, reports. ● Learning new technologies almost every day, new frameworks (django, rails, Springs with Roo), reports with bells and whistles (gnuplot for graphs and charts). “Think of something you want, write it. Now find a different language or tool. Write it again. When you're not doing something, scan the /bin, /usr/bin, and any other directory. Do a "man" page for any command you don't know. Don't memorize anything, learn enough to know what's available. Use search tools and documents and code examples to extend your need to know on a just-in-time basis. Do this all the time. You will find that over time your depth and breadth of linux expertise becomes vast.” Lead Engineer (IT), CME GROUP
  • 15. Surendhar Ravichandran ● Check the defective nodes in a cloud. ● Identify the root cause. ● Fix and get them back to production. “My favorite thing about my job is seeing different technologies merge together and work like a charm. My advice is to learn by actually doing it.” Engineer, Apple
  • 16. Xenia Ragiadakou ● (Study, code, build, reboot, debug) x many times “My favorite thing is the fact that I do not consider it as a "job." My advice is that since the Linux kernel is an open source project, aspiring Linux pros need to have a strong presence in the Linux open source community with code contributions, code reviewing, code testing, etc. Open source gives a great opportunity to get involved in a project that really interests and fits you and in parallel advertise your acquired coding and designing skills.” Software Developer, OnApp
  • 17. Rodolfo Saenz ● I work giving remote consulting and on-site training services. ● For the consulting it's mainly installing and giving support on TSM and Linux. For the training it's very interesting to interact with newbies and experienced people that enjoy Linux. “Be bold and believe in yourself.” Independent TSM (IBM Tivoli Storage Manager) and Linux Consultant and Trainer
  • 18. Alessandro Morales Ebersol ● I maintain five websites, all with Joomla and they run on Gentoo. I also help users as a support and help technician, locally or remotely. “I started on GNU/Linux in 2003. Seems like 12 years later, my instincts were right. So, my advice is: Study a Unix-like OS, might be BSD, might even be MacOSX, but study it, and improve your skills. The future is posix compliant, and if you ignore it, you'll miss the boat.” Civil servant working for the government of Brazil
  • 19. Bobbin Zachariah ● Solutions/Migration/Virtualisation/Disaster recovery solutions using open source resources for business infrastructure. “Linux has grown a lot as businesses started thinking for best solution with minimal cost. In the early days an entrepreneur/ IT Manager never much thought of using Linux/open source due to lack of support/resources. Now it’s changing and in coming years there will be tons of jobs for Linux geeks. There are a lot of opportunities in tools development using open source resources.” Founder, IT Consultant
  • 20. Mat Enders ● Watch Zenoss for alerts and respond accordingly. The majority of my time is spent responding to alerts that by the time I get there have cleared. “The best thing about my job is when I get an alert for something that requires investigation, find what is causing the alert, and then fix it.  I really enjoy solving the problems.” Monitoring Tech, Nexcess.net
  • 21. Joe Mendes ● Debugging customer related issues, scripting, coding. “The best thing about my job is working on the cutting edge of the SSD revolution! My advice is: enjoy it. It's evolving every day and you'll never stop learning!” System Applications Engineer at LSI Corporation
  • 22. Sean Walberg ● Lately I've been splitting my time between building new servers for an upcoming project with Chef and trying to figure out how some existing services are built (so that I can automate them with Chef and other scripts.) “I like the scale of what we're doing. Our client has a huge web presence and I like that I'm doing work to automate their Linux servers and network. My advice is learn to code. It's a force multiplier in terms of the work you can do, and it lets you talk to the developers who run the apps in their own language.” Senior infrastructure specialist at Northfield IT