Why Learn Linux Systems Administration?

  • When people are looking at career options in IT, one of the most popular to mention is Linux System Administration & Engineering. But why?

    For the past decade or more, not only is Linux Administration a rapidly growing field, it is one of the few in IT that is dramatically understaffed. One of the key factors holding back even more dramatic adoption of Linux in businesses (although it is important to note that it is, and has been, the dominant server operating system for a very long time now) is the lack of human resources needed to support it, not a lack of desire to move to it.

    Linux tends to be used for the most demanding and critical workloads which makes the demand on Linux System Administrators even higher because there are fewer organic paths from "student" or "intern" or even other areas of IT into Linux. There tends to be a gap that is rather large between other roles and this one making it extra difficult for IT professionals to leap from existing experience into Linux.

    Linux is one of the harder areas of IT, mostly because of the extremely high expectations put on administrators in this area culturally (most Windows peers are not expected to know a dozen OSes, move between them fluidly, interface to foreign systems, understand software development, script continuously, use development tools, understand DevOps, build their own tools, have no GUI fallback options, work at similar server densities, maintain the same degree of up to dateness, etc.) But it is also one with some of the best advantages. Jobs are plentiful, there is no rush to fill them from the employee side, salaries are among the best in the industry often 50% - 100% higher than peers in other roles, highly mobile, very rewording and perfect for flexible work options as, unlike systems with GUIs or physical components, Linux itself would never have an intrinsic needs for workers to be local to the devices (unlike, say, networking roles.)

    Linux is, has been and is projected to be the glorious IT land of opportunity for a very long time to come. Changes in the industry like moving to cloud computing, hosted systems, virtualization, high availability, scale out storage and more are all factors that favour the power, cost and licensing flexibility of the Linux ecosystem.