If you’re reading this, it probably means you asked me for career advice. I’m honored that you would come to me for guidance.
I’ve found that career paths are nearly as varied as people. There is no one right way to reach your goal. There is no one standard path. There are no series of steps to take that will infallibly ensure you of landing your dream job.
There is no silver bullet.
There are steps you can take, however, that will get you closer to your goal.
If you want to be a Linux Administrator, Engineer, etc., then acquire Linux skills. This is really where I can help you. I specialize in teaching Linux skills. What someone does with those skills is entirely up to them.
Here is a list of our courses and the order I recommend:
To get work, network.
I can’t tell you how many times a position has come open and someone on the existing team makes a recommendation right away. Even if the person is new to the field and has a weak resume, they almost always get an interview because of the recommendation of the existing employee.
Sometimes it comes down to who you know, not what you know. Take advantage of this by increasing your network. It’s as simple as reaching out to existing Linux professionals in any way you can.
For example, if there are Linux admins where you work, do your best to get to know them. Ask them what they do and what technologies they use. Then familiarize yourself with those technologies. Let them know that you’ve been studying Linux and would be extremely interested in a position if one came open.
If Linux isn’t used where you work, consider using your existing skills to make a lateral move to a different company that does use Linux. Even if you don’t start as a Linux admin, at least you have the opportunity to move into that role. While there, befriend the Linux admins and pick up any Linux experience you can.
Your new part-time job is applying for jobs.
Even if you’ve taken the time to learn Linux and expand your network, it’s all for naught unless you apply for the jobs you want. Consider finding a job your current and most important job.
It’s really a numbers game. The more jobs you apply for, the greater your odds of getting one. So, start applying for Linux jobs right now. Keep finding jobs and applying to them.
By the way, here is a list of places to apply for Linux jobs. There are tons of jobs, many of which are remote which means you can work from anywhere.
Also, read this article on how (and why) to work with a recruiter. A recruiter can be your best advocate, plus they have a huge network which you can take advantage of.
The only time you fail is when you decide to quit.
I don’t care if you’ve applied for 1 job, 10 jobs, or 100 jobs. If you’re not where you want to be, keep going. Of course, adjust your tactics along the way. For example, if you have literally applied for 100 jobs and aren’t making any progress, ask for feedback. If someone provides valid criticism, address it. If someone provides feedback that you can’t take action on, ignore it.
Eventually, you’ll get a Linux job. Sometimes companies don’t hire the person with the best technical skills, they hire a person that fits their culture. Sometimes companies are growing really fast, and they need people who can grow into a role. Sometimes a person in your network will create a job specifically for you. It happens.
Just keep this in mind: you won’t even remember those jobs you applied for and didn’t get. You’ll remember the one you did.
Certifications are for procrastinators.
I don’t want you to fall into the trap of waiting for everything to be perfect before you start applying for jobs. I hear people make all sorts of excuses as to why they can’t apply for the job they really want.
I’m here to tell you that the roadblocks are mostly in your own head. We create unnecessary obstacles for ourselves instead of going after what we want. One of the most common self-created obstacles is certification.
“Have you applied to any jobs yet?”
“No. I’m going to wait until I have my Linux certification and then I’ll start applying.”
In the meantime, all those jobs have mostly gone to people WITHOUT certifications.
Once someone falls into this trap they tend to stay caught. They’ll actually get a Linux certification, which is awesome. Then they’ll get another certification and another and another. Before you know it, they’re the most certified person living in their parent’s basement.
I’m not against certifications. The only time I think certifications can be helpful — and I do mean helpful, not required — is when you are new to the industry. Getting a certification can prove to an employer that you are serious enough about your new career choice to actually spend time and money to get a certification. However, once you get a job then experience trumps certification. Let that initial certification expire and use your job experience to lead you to your next job.
In order to advance your career:
- Level-up your skills.
- Expand your network.
- Apply for jobs now.
- Don’t give up.
- Don’t complicate things.
- Stay focused on your goal.
I sincerely hope this has helped you in some way. I wish you the best, not only in your career but in your life.