Career change from PC's to Unix

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
How do you go from working on PC's to doing Unhix system administration??

How do you do it without spending money for classes??

Where can you look to get that job to get started?

How can you apply PC skills to those types of positions?



It just doesn't make sense to go after an mcse cert if i'm not going to use anything i 'learn'...or any cert for that matter. I refuse to spend the money on something then find out that I'll be doing sorry level i support for the rest of my life.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Get some O'Reilly books and play around on a unix box (Mac OS X even).



    You can also join O'Reilly's "Safari" service, which lets you rent out digital access to most of their books via web browser.



    http://safari.oreilly.com/



    Decent prices, several pricing tiers.



    Or you could go to a library and check out some books there. Or go to used book stores. Hell, have a used unix book that AT&T wrote in 1977 and you'd be amazed at how little has changed with unix (I mean the core basics).



    Decide first what you want to actually do. Then make a list of likely topics and get books for them somehow. Screw classes. You can google a shitload of info too. most unix info is free and easy to find.



    There are other areas of O'Reilly's sites that are great too...search around.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    o-maco-mac Posts: 777member
    But how will that translate in to getting a job and starting a career?

    I can tell anyone I'm reading books but that's not enough to get a foot in the door...
  • Reply 3 of 13
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by O-Mac

    But how will that translate in to getting a job and starting a career?

    I can tell anyone I'm reading books but that's not enough to get a foot in the door...




    No, having actually read the books and actually learned the stuff and getting experience using various things lets you be able to say you can do this or that competently.



    Sure, most places want college degrees but not all. Often skill is wanted. If you talk their language you can get jobs.



    I doubt you'll find a place that will hire you while you are learning (not impossible though!) but if you have learned a decent amount, it's a start. Even if you need to take a lesser job while you train yourself at home. Then you can get hired from within (that's how I've gotten several great jobs).



    System admin is tough because it's not exactly something you can show off as a portfolio, like graphic/web/multimedia design, so you need to show your skill both in terms of typing and knowing the lingo.



    Like "if you build, it they will come", if you learn it, you can get a job doing it. Hit the books. Read. Shoot the shit online about various topics. Even if you are washing dishes by day.



    My first Mac job was making installer disks on 3.5 floppies on a Mac 128k in a hot dirty warehouse, while at night I would go home and learn Painter on my Wacom tablet and PowerMac. Eventually the art department upstairs heard I had art skills and DEMANDED that I go upstairs and work for them instead.



    But you gotta learn it first. Then take the confidence it gives you and use it to get a job doing it.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Is mac OSX a good platform to learn unix admin?, if so it seems like the best plan, because you have all of the ease of use for saily chores (email, web, itunes) but the raw power of unix is just a click away.



    I ask because I was told that OSX is so heavily modified, that it barely resembles unix any more, was I mislead?



    fyi: never used non osx unix, thats my frame of referance.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    rogue27rogue27 Posts: 607member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by a_greer

    Is mac OSX a good platform to learn unix admin?, if so it seems like the best plan, because you have all of the ease of use for saily chores (email, web, itunes) but the raw power of unix is just a click away.



    I ask because I was told that OSX is so heavily modified, that it barely resembles unix any more, was I mislead?



    fyi: never used non osx unix, thats my frame of referance.






    Yeah, but that was written by a Linux zealot who was afraid Linux users would go to OS X.



    Every unix distribution will have some things that are changed in a default install, but the capability to make OS X work mostly like any other Unix system is there. A big part of that with Panther is just by bash being the default shell.



    I think OS X is fine for learning unix admin on. Basic things like Apache configuration, shell scripting, and command line commands are all going to be the same.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    talksense101talksense101 Posts: 1,737member
    A good way to learn Unix is to get a cheap PC box and install and configure any version of Linux on it. You can get yourself Red Hat certified. They offer a good range of certifications. Also try to set up the box as a router, play around with integrating it on a network, update the kernel, etc. You will learn much more that way.



    OS-X has Unix core, no doubt about it. But it doesn't have enough glitches to help you learn stuff.
  • Reply 7 of 13
    etharethar Posts: 111member
    If you already have OS X, then the Terminal is your best friend. Just fire up Safari for reference material, and otherwise forget that the rest of the OS is even there. Wanna copy something? Use cp! Edit something? Use vi! It's surprising how much you can learn in a short time.



    If you *don't* have OS X, you can always get a dirt-cheap PC from Fry's and load it with Linux / *BSD / Solaris x86. I built a little Linux box out of spare parts to learn on in 2001, and now I work at Sun.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    etharethar Posts: 111member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by talksense101

    A good way to learn Unix is to get a cheap PC box and install and configure any version of Linux on it. You can get yourself Red Hat certified. They offer a good range of certifications. Also try to set up the box as a router, play around with integrating it on a network, update the kernel, etc. You will learn much more that way.



    OS-X has Unix core, no doubt about it. But it doesn't have enough glitches to help you learn stuff.




    ^ Exactly! You'll learn the most about Unix when you really break something
  • Reply 9 of 13
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ethar

    If you already have OS X, then the Terminal is your best friend. Just fire up Safari for reference material, and otherwise forget that the rest of the OS is even there. Wanna copy something? Use cp! Edit something? Use vi! It's surprising how much you can learn in a short time.



    If you *don't* have OS X, you can always get a dirt-cheap PC from Fry's and load it with Linux / *BSD / Solaris x86. I built a little Linux box out of spare parts to learn on in 2001, and now I work at Sun.




    Can you recomend a good linux book?
  • Reply 10 of 13
    etharethar Posts: 111member
    I've never used a book, actually...whenever I needed to learn something or find the solution to a problem, I would just look online.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    aslan^aslan^ Posts: 599member
    Configuring a Gentoo Linux box will give you a great head start. When you get stuck, the Gentoo forums are there to help.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    etharethar Posts: 111member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AsLan^

    Configuring a Gentoo Linux box will give you a great head start. When you get stuck, the Gentoo forums are there to help.



    I don't know about recommending Gentoo to a complete Linux newb...he'd be in the help forums before the OS is even completely installed



    Although, the installation guide for Gentoo is wicked thorough, and using Portage is pretty nice.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    dobbydobby Posts: 796member
    Download fedora 2.0, Suse 9, mandrake and perhaps Solaris for x86 and have a couple of crap computer to play with.

    Get real familiar with the contents of the /etc dir as that is the changeable core of the system.

    Get familiar with OpenLDAP and integration with Active directory.

    You need to know how to use sysctl, fsck and other system utilities (most can be done via a gui now).



    If you can Perl script it is also a big help.



    (all the software is free)



    Dobby.
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