How to Get a Linux Job with no Experience
For college graduates and young professionals, getting a Linux job with zero experience can be a daunting challenge. Companies and recruiters insist on rich resumes with lots of experience before they can make you an offer or even invite you for an interview.
You can get a Linux job by showcasing your skills, exhibiting consistency, and practicing continual growth. Extend your knowledge with training and get certifications. Find a mentor and join Linux User Groups. Gain experience through an internship.
There are lots of Linux professionals who got noticed by employers and recruiters despite having nil professional experience. In this article, we will lay down some of the approaches and skill enhancement that could get you ahead of the queue regardless of your novice status.
Map Your Career Path
Even though you haven’t been hired at your first job yet, you must have an idea of where you want to be in the future. Knowing your ideal destination can help you in choosing where you start from. Some of the top jobs entry-level Linux professionals dream of include:
- System administrator
- Full-stack developer
- DevOps engineer
- Python developer
- Web developer
- Software developer
Once you have figured out what you want to become as a Linux professional, you can then design a path on how to get there.
For example, if you decide you want to be a DevOps engineer you can choose to enroll in a bachelor of computer science program as at the same time you build knowledge in Python and Cloud services such as Microsoft Azure.
Start by running Linux on your home machines. Then find online Linux training sites to keep improving your skills. If possible, find a local Linux expert who can occasionally offer one on one training, especially when you encounter hurdles.
Practice installing databases, servers, and backup systems. Get training on using cloud environments such as Google Cloud and AWS. Both have free versions and libraries of tutorials to guide you.
Find a mentor if possible. This can be someone with more knowledge about Linux than you do, is passionate about Linux projects, and possibly has connections with employers and recruiters.
A mentor will not only guide you on the best way to upgrade your skills but also work to connect you with opportunities within the industry. You never know, your first job could be because a mentor saw your potential and alerted an employer of your rising talent.
As you continue training, enroll for more exams and get certified. Learn the in-depth commands and gain the proof and validation to show employers that you’re skilled and have formal training. Some of the Linux certificates you want in your resume include:
- LFS101x Introduction to Linux
- LFS201 Essentials of Linux System Administration
- LFS301 Linux System Administration
- Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator certification
- Linux Professional Institute LPIC-1 and LPIC-2
- Suse Linux
- Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)
Search Entry Level Positions
Not everyone can land those lucrative jobs with big tech companies. Often it’s not even ideal that your first job is with a big established corporation.
You can find Linux jobs with better titles, higher salaries, and more opportunities within small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s).
Occasionally you will find a startup eager to get going but also looking to save on staff wages. You may not get paid as well as with bigger firms but having a lofty title can open doors to future opportunities. Additionally, the experience of creating a system from the ground up will be invaluable in building your Linux expertise.
Other places you can get Linux jobs without high experience thresholds include:
Run a Home Lab
Running a home lab is one of the best ways to gain mastery and build a passion for your trade. The home lab will probably do nothing to boost your CV, but it can greatly enhance your mastery of Linux.
In your Linux home lab, you can find free time to test raid configurations, write code, run Python labs, monitor logs, and work on other Linux projects.
With your home lab, aim to mimic a production environment. This could include:
- Having cloud storage.
- Having multi-tier setups with front-end web servers and centralized databases.
- Using NAS for centralized home directories.
- Running home phones through the PBX that runs on the server.
Complete an Internship
Training and getting certified is all well and good but employers still want to know you can handle real world situations effectively. If getting a job proves challenging, look for an internship role.
You can work as an operator at a data center where you gain exposure to all kinds of real world customer problems.
Brush Up Your Resume
To remove focus from your lack of experience, you have to create a killer resume that highlights your skills and training. Take a moment to revise your resume. Some fundamental skills you could highlight include:
- Mastery of scripting languages such as Python, Ruby, and Perl.
- Adeptness at using revision control tools such as Git, CVS, Monotone, and Darcs.
- Capabilities with System logging servers such as Graylog and Logstash.
- Configuration management with tools such as Chef, Puppet, and Ansible.
The perfect way to make your skills and training stand out is by putting them in a separate segment. Use white space to your advantage. Avoid crowding too many skills together, only list the most relevant.
Network In Real Life
Consider joining up with a local Linux User Group (LUG) in your area. LUGs can help you find answers to questions you have about Linux. Additionally, LUG members can alert you of job opportunities matching your skill sets.
You may even partner with group members to form extensive networks that go beyond your home lab. LUG members will also likely be members of popular online forums. On these online spaces, you can learn much more and faster from more experienced Linux experts.
Lack of experience can frustrate your job hunting efforts as a Linux professional. However, with a little ingenuity and hard work, you can unearth job opportunities despite your lack of work experience.
It all starts with knowing your career expectations. Follow up with mapping your career path and gaining the necessary training and certifications. Build your Linux home lab and you can exponentially grow your skill such that employers will not believe you don’t have experience running real life environments.