Career: Going from Windows into Unix

Career: Going from Windows into Unix

Post by Simon Chan » Mon, 07 Jan 2002 00:14:32



Howdy,

I've been using FreeBSD for some time now and am absolutely astounded and
e*d by its robustness and flexibility, and as I look to learn even more
about it I have a question for you all:

I officially "broke into" the IT world almost four years ago, doing PC
break-fix and then moving later on into the networking world doing sys admin
work on NT/2000 networks, but I have been talking with a few people about
possibly moving into the Unix world and doing networking/sysadmin work in
there.  Does anyone have good suggestion on how this can be done?  I am
thinking that I should start small, perhaps doing a few projects on the side
and maybe some very light consulting, and let the experience build.  But
should I take classes?  Go back to school to get a CS degree?  (My undergrad
degree was in biology.)  I am open to any suggestion on this topic.

Thanks in advance,

Simon Chang

 
 
 

Career: Going from Windows into Unix

Post by Paul Southwor » Mon, 07 Jan 2002 00:59:51




>Howdy,

>I've been using FreeBSD for some time now and am absolutely astounded and
>e*d by its robustness and flexibility, and as I look to learn even more
>about it I have a question for you all:

>I officially "broke into" the IT world almost four years ago, doing PC
>break-fix and then moving later on into the networking world doing sys admin
>work on NT/2000 networks, but I have been talking with a few people about
>possibly moving into the Unix world and doing networking/sysadmin work in
>there.  Does anyone have good suggestion on how this can be done?

Run Unix at home, run Unix at work, find personal or hobby projects
that use Unix.  Use it all the time, every day, install it on all
your computers.  People who fail at it don't use it enough.  Force
yourself to use it to solve all problems, even the ones that you
could solve easier/faster with Windows.

Also, you must find more experienced Unix users to interact closely with
on a daily basis.  Co-workers, user-group/hobbyists, collaborators on
volunteer projects, etc. - seek them out and bug them constantly.

Quote:>  I am
>thinking that I should start small, perhaps doing a few projects on the side
>and maybe some very light consulting, and let the experience build.

Yes.  I recommend using Unix for volunteer work.

Quote:>  But
>should I take classes?  Go back to school to get a CS degree?  (My undergrad
>degree was in biology.)  I am open to any suggestion on this topic.

If what you want is system administration experience the CS degree
is not necessary and will in fact be a lengthy and expensive diversion.

If you want to take formal programming classes then it could be the right
thing, depending on you.  Of course, you don't need to be in a degree program
to take some programming courses either.  In my experience the workplace
that pays a lot of attention to university schooling is usually not
worth working at.  Sort of like workplaces that pay a lot of attention
to suits and wing-tips.  There's nothing wrong with a suit as an article
of clothing, but if your employer fixates on your appearance, then there's
something wrong with the employer.  I have had no trouble avoiding employers
that think degrees are important (I don't have a CS degree either but haven't
ever had trouble finding work & good pay, 10 years in the industry).

--Paul

 
 
 

Career: Going from Windows into Unix

Post by Mark » Mon, 07 Jan 2002 19:52:02


Quote:> Does anyone have good suggestion on how this [become a UNIX admin]
> can be done?

Buy some older computers and setup a network at home:

1. Use FreeBSD and
2. Set up a firewall with 2 NICs, then with 3 NICs (for DMZ)
3. Set up NAT
4. Set up DHCP
5. Set up a DNS and mail server
6. Set up an Apache web server
7. Repeat 2-6 using Solaris 8 Intel.
8. Repeat 2-6 using Linux (I guess Red Hat since that's the "business" one
even though all Linuxes suck)
9. Pick your favorite Unix and use that as your desktop.  Like Paul said,
do EVERYTHING with that desktop.

Does this sound like a lot?  Hell yeah, it is.  However, there are plenty
of other guys out there that know how to do some (or all) of this and this
is who you are competing with when getting a job.  By the time you are done
with this, you should also have a very good understanding of all of the
network layers, protocols, etc.

Good luck!
- Mark

 
 
 

Career: Going from Windows into Unix

Post by Simon Chan » Tue, 08 Jan 2002 00:09:23


Hi Mark,

Out of this list I did #1, 2, 3, and 6, already.  I had to explain to
another responder to this post that I had to set up a very secure firewall
from scratch (i.e. with very little knowledge of FreeBSD or Unix) in one
week, while working a 50-hour week.  Was that tough?  To quote you, "Hell
yeah, it was."  But I learned a ton, and with my prior experience and
knowledge of networking I am now enjoying the fruits of my labor (this
firewall is probably not going to be hacked before the hardware in this
machine starts to break down).

The question now is to see how far I can take this knowledge and have it
actually turn into a living.  As always, if you have any good tip on that, I
am all ears.

Cheers,

Simon Chang


Quote:> > Does anyone have good suggestion on how this [become a UNIX admin]
> > can be done?

> Buy some older computers and setup a network at home:

> 1. Use FreeBSD and
> 2. Set up a firewall with 2 NICs, then with 3 NICs (for DMZ)
> 3. Set up NAT
> 4. Set up DHCP
> 5. Set up a DNS and mail server
> 6. Set up an Apache web server
> 7. Repeat 2-6 using Solaris 8 Intel.
> 8. Repeat 2-6 using Linux (I guess Red Hat since that's the "business" one
> even though all Linuxes suck)
> 9. Pick your favorite Unix and use that as your desktop.  Like Paul said,
> do EVERYTHING with that desktop.

> Does this sound like a lot?  Hell yeah, it is.  However, there are plenty
> of other guys out there that know how to do some (or all) of this and this
> is who you are competing with when getting a job.  By the time you are
done
> with this, you should also have a very good understanding of all of the
> network layers, protocols, etc.

> Good luck!
> - Mark

 
 
 

Career: Going from Windows into Unix

Post by Marc Spitz » Tue, 08 Jan 2002 04:17:42




> Hi Mark,

> Out of this list I did #1, 2, 3, and 6, already.  I had to explain to
> another responder to this post that I had to set up a very secure firewall
> from scratch (i.e. with very little knowledge of FreeBSD or Unix) in one
> week, while working a 50-hour week.  Was that tough?  To quote you, "Hell
> yeah, it was."  But I learned a ton, and with my prior experience and
> knowledge of networking I am now enjoying the fruits of my labor (this
> firewall is probably not going to be hacked before the hardware in this
> machine starts to break down).

> The question now is to see how far I can take this knowledge and have it
> actually turn into a living.  As always, if you have any good tip on that, I
> am all ears.

> Cheers,

> Simon Chang

Here are a few of other tech things:
1: learn and use/script in a standard shell aka ksh/bash,
   I recommend ksh because it is more corporate, solaris,hpux,
   aix have it.  
2: learn to use your system documentation, 'man man' to learn
   the tool.  Then read the man pages for the contents of /bin,
   /sbin, /usr/sbin, /usr/bin to start with.
3: learn a "popular" scripting language, Perl ,tcl or python.
   I would say start with tcl because it is simple and has lots
   of real cool extensions, scotty and expect come to mind.  
   Both are in ports.

Here are some how get work ideas:
1: find a professional users group and join it.  After you have
   been to a couple of meetings start to volunteer to do stuff
   and deliver it.  After a while you will have some people who
   are impressed with your work ethic and professional attitude.
   Then ask them if their companies are hiring or if they know
   anybody else who is hiring.  And ask them if you can use their
   name when you call their friends.
2: If there is a unix group at work go over and ask to help out.
   Volunteer to do all the shit work that needs to get done and
   deliver it.  Again after you have built a good reputation
   let them know you would like to work over here all the time.  
3: do not ask stupid questions.  Ask well thought out questions.
   If it looks like you did no work

There is always a shortage of "good" people in the SA trade.
Once people figure out you are one they will want you.  Technical
skill is only part of the job, important yes, the rest is how well
you deal with people and are you seen as someone who solves or
causes problem?  Are you a bulldozer or a roadblock?  If you are
my bulldozer you make me(aka management) happy and filled with
good feelings for you.

Another good piece of advice, that I should follow, is to keep
a daily work log.  Use it to build weekly, monthly, quartley and
yearly reports for yourself and management, here is why I should
get a raise X times the company average.  It also lets you know
if you are growing in your career as you should.

Good luck

marc

- Show quoted text -



>> > Does anyone have good suggestion on how this [become a UNIX admin]
>> > can be done?

>> Buy some older computers and setup a network at home:

>> 1. Use FreeBSD and
>> 2. Set up a firewall with 2 NICs, then with 3 NICs (for DMZ)
>> 3. Set up NAT
>> 4. Set up DHCP
>> 5. Set up a DNS and mail server
>> 6. Set up an Apache web server
>> 7. Repeat 2-6 using Solaris 8 Intel.
>> 8. Repeat 2-6 using Linux (I guess Red Hat since that's the "business" one
>> even though all Linuxes suck)
>> 9. Pick your favorite Unix and use that as your desktop.  Like Paul said,
>> do EVERYTHING with that desktop.

>> Does this sound like a lot?  Hell yeah, it is.  However, there are plenty
>> of other guys out there that know how to do some (or all) of this and this
>> is who you are competing with when getting a job.  By the time you are
> done
>> with this, you should also have a very good understanding of all of the
>> network layers, protocols, etc.

>> Good luck!
>> - Mark

 
 
 

Career: Going from Windows into Unix

Post by Mark » Tue, 08 Jan 2002 05:30:13



> Hi Mark,

> Out of this list I did #1, 2, 3, and 6, already.
>> 1. Use FreeBSD and
>> 2. Set up a firewall with 2 NICs, then with 3 NICs (for DMZ)
>> 3. Set up NAT
>> 4. Set up DHCP
>> 5. Set up a DNS and mail server
>> 6. Set up an Apache web server
>> 7. Repeat 2-6 using Solaris 8 Intel.
>> 8. Repeat 2-6 using Linux (I guess Red Hat since that's the "business"
>> one even though all Linuxes suck)
>> 9. Pick your favorite Unix and use that as your desktop.  Like Paul said,
>> do EVERYTHING with that desktop.

Be sure to get Solaris up and running as well.  I've been to several
datacenters (Qwest, Exodus) and the vast majority of servers there are Sun.
 (The difference between the Solaris Intel and Sparc should be minimal.)  
Having Sun experience under your belt will get you good opportunities.

Good luck!
- Mark

 
 
 

Career: Going from Windows into Unix

Post by B. Johannesse » Tue, 08 Jan 2002 05:40:35



> Be sure to get Solaris up and running as well.  I've been to several
> datacenters (Qwest, Exodus) and the vast majority of servers there are
> Sun.
>  (The difference between the Solaris Intel and Sparc should be minimal.)

sure, there's practically no difference between a compaq proliant and
a e10k.

seriously though, don't make the mistake of thinking you can handle a
huge sun server just 'cause you once had a intel solaris box as a fileserver
at home.

my best advice; find a job where you'll be working _with_ someone that
knows (and does) what you want to learn.

        Bob

 
 
 

Career: Going from Windows into Unix

Post by Bill Vermilli » Tue, 08 Jan 2002 14:55:40






>> The question now is to see how far I can take this knowledge and
>> have it actually turn into a living. As always, if you have any
>> good tip on that, I am all ears.
>Here are a few of other tech things:
>1: learn and use/script in a standard shell aka ksh/bash,
>   I recommend ksh because it is more corporate, solaris,hpux,
>   aix have it.  
>2: learn to use your system documentation, 'man man' to learn
>   the tool.  Then read the man pages for the contents of /bin,
>   /sbin, /usr/sbin, /usr/bin to start with.

The biggest problem for most people at first [and often later]
is figuring out which man page to use.   So don't forget one
of the most important tools   'apropos'  .  'apropos' is equivalent
to  man -k <wordtofind> but the name is easier to remember for
most [as you associate it with the word "appropriate"] than it is
to remember the correct flags.  With only 6 flags it is easier than
the 28 command line flags to 'ls' :-)
 
 
 

Career: Going from Windows into Unix

Post by Jed Clea » Wed, 09 Jan 2002 11:52:35




> > Be sure to get Solaris up and running as well.  I've been to several
> > datacenters (Qwest, Exodus) and the vast majority of servers there are
> > Sun.
> >  (The difference between the Solaris Intel and Sparc should be minimal.)

> sure, there's practically no difference between a compaq proliant and
> a e10k.

<ROTFLMAO>

Quote:

> seriously though, don't make the mistake of thinking you can handle a
> huge sun server just 'cause you once had a intel solaris box as a fileserver
> at home.

For instance maintaining a large NIS+ and/or DNS DB just doesn't happen
for most home networks.  Redundant-server automount maps?  Interfacing
to legacy mainframes?  3 AM pages from the hell desk . . . OK so this
can be simulated with infants.

Quote:

> my best advice; find a job where you'll be working _with_ someone that
> knows (and does) what you want to learn.

And is willing to teach you.  Don't pick a BOFH (until later ;-).
 
 
 

1. Is a career in AIX Unix a good career move?

Scott,

A few things to consider:

1.  What kind of salary are they offering?  If it is the same as you present
salary (and I hope
     that it isn't) then:

2.  Where do you want to be in say 10 years?

3.  Define on-call.  If you don't have to wear a pager or carry a cell phone
then you're not on call.

4.  What is your promotion path?

5.  What kind of application will run on the AIX system.  Who is responsible
for the software &
      database?

6.  Are you changing supervisors?  Do you "like" the new supervisor?  Sometimes
it is better
      not to make a move if you know that the new supervisor will be difficult
to work with.

7.  How old are you and how long have you been in your present position?  Some
younger
     people have a hard time working in an autonomous environment.

8.  The training that they want you to take is great.  This is an excellent
opportunity to develop
      new, and very marketable skills.  But, you need to consider that you will
have to travel quite
      a bit to take the necessary classes.  Can you do that?

9.  I'd ask to sit with the decision makers and look over all the paperwork
related to the purchase/
      lease agreement.  Find out where this system fits in to the total IS
scheme and how dedicated
      they are to keeping up with the technology.

If all of this seems to point in a positive direction, then I would say that
this is a good move for you.
Welcome to the world of AIX/UNIX Administration.

Cheers,

Bob Harlan
Senior Technical Support Analyst
Goodyear Tire and Rubber

 Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
 Share what you know. Learn what you don't.

2. How to launch default browser from within program ?

3. help: x-micro USB WLAN adapter

4. Going, going, going, GONE! Bye Windows!

5. Minicom downloading using Zmodem?????

6. Opinions: unix career vs ms windows

7. Samba not started by runlevel script !?

8. Need career advice--Where to go after CNA?

9. SOLARIS-UNIX/ CAREER POSITION/ ATL

10. Unix Admin/ Career Position/ Exceptional Opp/ ILL

11. Method of pursuing a Unix sysadmin career?

12. A Unix Career