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I'm a student right now, and later in life I'd like to get really involved in the Linux ecosystem. However I recognize the need to put bread on the table, so my question is:

How can I make money from Ubuntu/Linux?

The situation right now is that my College can offer me Windows Certification, or Apple Engineer certification; both of these do not enthrall me as I'd like to stick mostly to Linux.

What job types normally deal with it, what training/certification should I be looking for?

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Your question is quite broad, vague and subjective. I would suggest to ask this question on a forum or so as I think it is off topic here. – Peter Smit Oct 15 '10 at 12:43

Certification is available for most areas of Linux but I think you're putting too much focus on it.

People predominately hire people who are competent at what they do, not the hoops they've jumped through to get there. A year of specific industry experience is worth a dozen vague certificates.

Even if you do want to continue down a road of certification-over-experience (which I can understand for somebody without much real-world experience), in order for the certificate to hold any value, it needs to be locked onto a real-world skill. Few companies will hire somebody solely on the basis that they have a "generic Linux certificate". If you want to be a DBA, get certified for MySQL or Oracle. If you want to be a network monkey, look through the various networking certification programmes available.

I'll add that the good certification programs are both quite hard and expensive (especially at the higher levels) and most of them rely on you having real-world experience for your reasoning.

And if you're applying for newly-grad/junior posts, people won't expect you to have put yourself through a certification programme anyway. They're looking to train up people.

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If I'm honest, I'm not entirely sure what I'd like to do. I'm in love with the Linux world enough to know I want to contribute, and preferablly find a job where that would be easy to do. But at the same time, I've got interests in networking; becoming a Linux sysadmin is quite possibly desirable. – Dante Ashton Oct 15 '10 at 14:46
Well I think you need to find the job you want to find out what skills you need. I'm not sure what you're doing at college but learning to program well (not just hacking around, I mean the nasty sticky theory too) is a very handy skill that will let you contribute code and can easily net you a job (as it's a requirement for most sysop jobs, not just straight programming jobs). – Oli Oct 15 '10 at 14:50

Linux Professional Institute offers Linux certifications. More information can be found at their website:

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Seconded. This is pretty much the standard in Linux certs. Also I'd like to add that because of reliability, cost-cuts, and because of IBM and Oracle preferring Linux, most Fortune 5000 companies these days use Linux servers at least 40%, so they always need Linux guys. I used to be a Linux sysop before becoming a PHP dev. I recommend you get really familiar with Linux firewalls and networks, Bash scripting, Perl scripting, and GNU tools like sed, awk, cut, grep, etc. I also recommend you learn Apache and Squid inside and out. – Volomike Oct 17 '10 at 7:10

I suggest you try to find jobs offers that suit what you want to do, you will see what the companies that work with Linux actually need. You can check jobs offers at Bull, IBM, Novell, Red Hat ...

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Most of the backoffices of banks and stockexchanges are running solely on Linux (google: London Stock Exchange Linux). Microsoft's even states that Linux admins command a hire salary than Windows admins. Furthermore, more and more public services are changing to Linux due to the need to save money in the current economic climate. – txwikinger Oct 15 '10 at 12:57

While I think Oli's answer above is right on, we'd be amiss to not mention that Canonical, Ubuntu's corporate sponsor, offers a number of training courses and a certification (PDF).

Ubuntu Professional

The Ubuntu Professional is a training certification for systems administrators who need to deploy Ubuntu in an office environment After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Install and configure Ubuntu desktop systems
  • Perform routine administration tasks: boot and shut down the system, manage user accounts and file systems, and maintain system security
  • Configure network connectivity and key network services
  • Work productively at the Linux command line

I honestly have no idea how useful it is though.

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I think you probably just want to become familiar with operating in linux environments.. learn how distributed java webapps are built and scaled, learn how to tweak the jvms for different distros, learn how to install and use standard monitoring suites like nagios, learn how to configure apache, mail, samba, ldap, etc.. the list goes on and on.

There are so many careers for people with a good variety of these skills it's ridiculous. You can't learn enough.

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