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Linux/Unix : Easy to learn?

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  • Linux/Unix : Easy to learn?

    I have an opportunity to pick up a job. Network administration on a very large mobile platform. Seems the main requisite is the ability to program in Linux and be able to breathe easily. I haven't really been all that interested in getting into all of this 'nix stuff, but if an opportunity came up, well.... Actually, apart from the fact that the Linux uses a child-molesting penguin as it's symbol I noe bugger-all about it.

    So, is it easy to absorb? I consider myself to be at a reasonable distance from the thick-heads in our community and can pick up skills pretty well. So, can a 40-something who is pretty technically savvy pick up and run-with these languages/platforms?

    Background, I have been involved in technical jobs for 24 years, done some programming for my half-degree (C+ / Pascal) before getting the jack of it, and lately been fairly immersed in networking at CCNA level.

    I can learn programming and I generally find that if I am doing something with a point I do better than if the goal is just conceptual. A case in point, I just couldn't handle Uni when all the code I was crunching didn't do "anything" yet I was quite happy to spend hours programming my house burglar alarm in C to go into a PIC. I guess I'm goal orientated rather than object orientated.

    All opinions welcome, cheers all.

    Pat
    Dead Man's Hand
    Internationational Porter Protection Group
    Just call me Pat

  • #2
    Download a LiveCD and have a play.
    It's pretty intensive though.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Fat Pat View Post
      I just couldn't handle Uni when all the code I was crunching didn't do "anything" yet I was quite happy to spend hours programming my house burglar alarm in C to go into a PIC. I guess I'm goal orientated rather than object orientated.
      With humour like that, I'm sure you will fit right into the Linux community

      I don't have a great idea of what is even involved in that job but I can say that as a user who just wants to run programs Linux isn't really much more difficult than Windows, as the sort of next level user who wants to tweak it a bit and play around and try to get a bit more functionality than just checking email then it's probably a lot easier than windows because you don't have to get around so much bullshit. I don't have much experience dealing with any higher levels of complexity than that.

      I think anyone with some basic programming knowledge and access to Google could bluff their way through a network admin job. There's nothing incredibly hard, just lots to know, which is where Google comes in. You will be a pretty slow admin for the first few weeks (or months) maybe but the amount of work tech guys do that probably wont matter The crappy "help" provided by the manuals and online pages can assume a fair bit of prior knowledge sometimes, and even when they don't the authors generally document with all the elegance of Kyle Sandilands' radio show.

      Give it a go, the worst that can happen is that they sack you right?
      Last edited by Jedi; 08-08-2009, 11:39 PM.
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Man pages are your friend.

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        • #5
          If you have the ability and inclination to read and use a search engine, its easy.


          If you want everyone else to solve your problems for you, you have no hope.



          If you've got a CCNA you should have the technical mindset to be able to pick it up. Its no harder than ios...


          edit:

          bearing in mind there is more to "network admin" than simply knowing linux command line. a lot of it is judgement calls on how/why to do things based on how they will (potentially) bite you in the arse at some point in the future.

          My only advice with that is for each problem:
          - find the biggest "hammer" available (maybe limited by budgetary or time constraints) in your toolkit
          - smite the fuck out of that problem so it will not come back ever again

          Being a bit of a "pragmatist" (judging from your post - doing better when "solving problems" rather than dealing with abstract tasks), i think you'll do well as a network admin (i've been doing this shit for the past 13 years).
          Last edited by thro; 09-08-2009, 12:16 AM.
          “Crashing is shit for you, shit for the bike, shit for the mechanics and shit for the set-up,” Checa told me a while back. “It’s a signal that you are heading in the wrong direction. You want to win but crashing is the opposite. It’s like being in France when you want to go to England and when you crash you go to Spain. That way you’ll never get to England!” -- Carlos Checa

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          • #6
            .. if you can prog in C then the terseness of the languages isn't gonna bother you; the syntax of compound statements can be really obtuse but gets easier as the base knowledge grows. I have around 60 business clients with around half running Linux servers that also have a template language & I do fine even without a C background (if it ain't a 5GL language I don't wanna know about programming in it). Think of shell scripting as DOS batch files on steroids, there will prob be much shell scripting to do & maintain.

            Try to find out what they use Linux for so you know what aspects are important to them; I'd guess firewalling would be high on the list so reading up on iptables & routing would be good a start. You prob already have IP subnetting down so maybe also add a bit about wireless bridging too.

            HTH
            .. and thats Racer # 193 to y'all; my fabulous sponsors (who all do good shit) are: Graeme Fleming IT Consultants, Vision Image, Pacific Safety Wear, Excess Power Equipment, Pro Photo Booth

            .. and according to Sean'o: 'get the Kwaka (never thought i would say that!)'

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            • #7
              I'm a Mechanic by trade, but i spent 5 years of my life as a Unix admin (solaris 7)
              Buy a magazine with a linux dist and play.
              Time put in/dedication = results
              Play with the command line, avoid the fancy interfaces until you are up with the command line.
              Being an Australian is not an excuse for being dumb and racist.

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              • #8
                ^ one other thing.

                Don't limit yourself to "linux". Any nix really, is similar. Spend more of your time and effort learning the protocols and tasks the OS is put in place to actually provide.


                The concepts behind system admin are the same, be it linux, windows, or whatever....
                “Crashing is shit for you, shit for the bike, shit for the mechanics and shit for the set-up,” Checa told me a while back. “It’s a signal that you are heading in the wrong direction. You want to win but crashing is the opposite. It’s like being in France when you want to go to England and when you crash you go to Spain. That way you’ll never get to England!” -- Carlos Checa

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                • #9
                  http://www.digilife.be/quickreferenc...0Reference.pdf

                  Install Virtual Box and install a couple of different systems - if you can find out what you will be using install that distro.
                  I would install - debian (or a variant ie Ubuntu) Slackware and FreeBSD, and just play around, set up a mini network and get services running
                  "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." - Oscar Wilde

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Fat Pat View Post
                    Network administration on a very large mobile platform. Seems the main requisite is the ability to program in Linux and be able to breathe easily.
                    Hmmmm, tick & tick. Where's the job???

                    Anyway, go for it, it's very easy if you're a bit computer savy, can Google & think for yourself. (But I'm a little biased, I've used Linux as my main desktop O/S for around 8-10 years now.) Running different distributions in a Virtual Box is the best advice so far I think.

                    If you're used to programming in MS Visual Studio you're going to be a bit frustrated at first, but stick with it.

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