How to Become a Linux Administrator?

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How to Become a Linux Administrator?

Vinay Khatri
Last updated on April 25, 2024

    The job of a Linux System Administrator, a.k.a. Linux Sysadmin, is among the hottest careers right now. There are many open jobs for Linux administrators, offering an average salary of more than $78,830 per year.

    With so much demand for Linux admins, the job role is supposed to grow by 5% between 2021 and 2028. A Linux System Administrator is responsible for many tasks, and as such, there are some specific skills a person requires to have to be a Linux system administrator.

    Here in this article, we will answer these questions, one by one:

    • What does a Linux Administrator do?
    • How to become a Linux System Administrator?
    • What skills does a person require to become a Linux System Admin? and
    • How much does a Linux System Administrator Earn?

    So, let's get started with the first question.

    What does a Linux System Administrator do?

    A Linux System Administrator has to tackle a multitude of tasks related to Linux. Hence, there are so many things that Linux sysadmins have to take care of. Here is a list of some of the job responsibilities of a Linux Sysadmin:

    • Application installation and configuration.
    • Backups.
    • Disaster recovery.
    • File restores and housekeeping.
    • Write a script(s) to automate user management.
    • Use Python and Bash to review logs and monitor disk space.
    • Deal with different network protocols, including TCP/IP, SCP, HTTP, and NFS.
    • Deal with LDAP and NFS to increase administrative efficiency.
    • Use different tools to monitor hardware and software errors.
    • System security management.
    • Storage management.
    • Look over everyday systems and evaluate the server resources and performance.
    • System hardware management.
    • Repair or replace the failed hardware and software.
    • Troubleshooting, testing products, and evaluating processes.
    • Write documentation and modify the same to accommodate new changes.

    Apart from these tasks, the Linux Sysadmin is primarily responsible for managing and looking over the Linux operating system and ensuring the system workflow and team management.

    A Linux System Administrator is, as it is in the name of an Administrator, so it's his/her job to encourage the team to achieve the objectives set by the organization within the allocated time.

    How to Become a Linux System Administrator?

    You must have a Bachelor’s or Master's degree in Computer Science or a related field if you want to be a Linux Sysadmin. This is because most organizations ask for a degree and relevant Linux Certificate. More than 58% of Linux Administrators around the globe hold bachelor's and master's degrees.

    A breakdown of the top degree specializations held by these professionals is summed up as follows:

    Computer Science 31%
    Information Technology 12%
    Electrical Engineer 6%
    Other Majors 44%

    Apart from a Bachelor’s and Master's degree, you are supposed to have a recognized certification in Linux. This is so because it might be possible that during your degree, you might not have studied Linux in-depth. As such, the certification tells that you are acquainted with Linux and trained from some recognizable and reputed institute.

    Next, we will discuss the steps to becoming a Linux admin.

    Steps to Become a Linux Sysadmin

    Step 1: Install and Learn Linux

    The first step to becoming a sysadmin in Linux is to learn Linux. For that, you need first to install Linux on your system. Thankfully, there are lots of Linux distributions, popularly called distros, out there. Among the galore of Linux distros , openSUSE is the most common Linux distro used by Linux system admins.

    If you are a complete beginner, then you can install Ubuntu or CentOS because these 2 Linux distributions are beginner-friendly. Hence, they are great to help you pick up the pace with the operating system.

    Some other best Linux distros to use are:

    • Linux Mint
    • fedora
    • Alpine
    • Kubuntu
    • Deepin

    Step 2: Select a Linux System Administrator Course

    You can either learn all of the Linux by yourself and/or choose an online or offline course, and you can try it with online Linux terminals . There are many free and open-source resources available on the internet that you can leverage to learn Linux from scratch.

    But finding all the resources by yourself and picking the right path could be difficult for any Linux beginner. So, the best approach would be to select an online Linux course that will guide you from basic to advance in Linux and help you achieve your goal.

    If you are entirely new to the Linux world and looking for a free resource, you can check out the free EDX course LFS101C Introduction to Linux .

    Here is the list of the best online Linux administrator courses:

    Step 3: Practice your Linux Skills

    Practice will make you perfect. So, after selecting the best Linux course, you also need to practice using Linux and Linux commands . There are so many things in Linux. Initially, you will be using reference material for the Linux commands. It would be best to practice until you master all the necessary and intermediate Linux skills.

    Step 4: Get Certified and Join Communities

    Make sure that you do not leave the course uncompleted. Complete it and receive the certificate. Many students select a course and even pay for all the resources but quit when they find it challenging.

    Remember, if you are passionate about Linux and want to be a Linux System Administrator, you have to complete the selected courses and pass all the tests and assignments. The certification shows that you are trained in Linux by a recognizable institute, and you have passed all the related tests.

    The Linux certificate will also boost your confidence and better your resume so that when you go for the job interview, the interviewer will be impressed. During the learning period, or even if you get selected for the Linux Administrator job role, you must connect with the Linux communities. There are so many of them. You can join, Stack Overflow, Quora, Reddit, GitHub,, et cetera.

    Do follow the active and helpful official Linux community.

    What Skills do You Need to Become a Linux System Administrator?

    Learning a Linux distro, obviously, is not enough to be a Linux Sysadmin. You have to be good with system hardware, acquainted with other popular operating systems, and know how to write scripts with popular programming languages like Python and Perl.

    Knowing Linux is just the starting point of becoming a Linux System administrator because this job role is much more than just running a Linux operating system. In your resume, you cannot mention only one skill. You have to have other in-demand skills and knowledge of tools that go with the Linux operating system too.

    In the resume of a Linux Sysadmin, you will see that there are also skills to the likes of application development, system hardware, web services, Python, Windows, and SQL. Other notable skills are:

    1. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
    2. Bash
    3. Domain Name System
    4. Troubleshooting Systems
    5. Puppet-based Configuration Management
    6. Good Communication Skills

    What is the Salary of a Linux Sysadmin?

    Salary is an important factor in choosing a career. A person continues to work hard if he/she is getting paid enough for the work. Thus, it's only imperative that a great job is one that has good salary prospects. In the USA, the average salary of a Linux Sysadmin is $78,830 per year, but it goes up to $103,000/year depending upon the skill and experience level of an administrator and the organization.

    Linux System Administrator Salary in the USA Table:

    Experience Average Salary $/year
    < 1 year $40K
    1-4 years $60K
    5-9 years $100K
    10-19 years $135K

    In India, however, the average salary of a Linux Sysadmin varies from 2 lakhs to 9 lakhs per year.

    Linux System Administrator Salary in India Table:

    Experience Average Salary ?/year
    < 1 year ?296k
    1-4 years ?394k
    5-9 years ?552k
    10-19 years ?916k


    Unlike other domains of IT, there is not too much competition in Linux -yet - mostly because many of the computer science students go with programming languages and web development. Not many students, however, choose Linux as they don't see Linux as a career opportunity. But there are lots of jobs in Linux.

    Linux System Administrator is a rewarding job, but at the same time, it is one of the most daunting job roles. One of the reasons why many students do not consider Linux is its complexity, and it is valid up to some extent.

    Operating a Linux system is not easy, but being a Linux System Administrator is even more complicated. This is so because you have to solve problems and errors in your system and server. It is not necessary if you are from a computer science background; only then you can become a Linux administrator. Evidently, many Linux SAS comes from many educational backgrounds, including business and electrical.

    So, if you have what it takes to become a Linux sysadmin, get started today!

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    The basic skills to become a Linux admin are profound knowledge and experience working with the Linux system, an in-depth understanding of the Linux file system, file system hierarchy, basic bash commands, managing root, database management, disaster recovery, and soft skills, like communication, problem-solving, and attention to detail.

    Yes, the demand for Linux professionals is ever-growing. Though it is challenging to become a Linus administrator, it is rewarding. As Linux is providing to be one of the best operating systems, the demand for Linux professionals is increasing every day.

    If you opt for pursuing a bachelor's degree in computer science or any other related field, you definitely need to invest 4 years, in addition to a few more months, to hone and validate your Linux skills with a certification. If you skip a bachelor's degree and opt for courses or certifications, you may need less time. Still, graduation is compulsory.

    According to Payscale, a Linux administrator with 1 to 4 years of experience earns an average of $70K per year, and one with more than 5 years of experience receives $85K per annum.

    To find a job as a Linux administrator, you can ask the professionals in the Linux User Group (LUG) or administrators where you've pursued your certification. Besides, you will find a plethora of job portals, like Indeed, glassdoor, and LinkedIn, where you can find numerous jobs. You need to upload your resume and a few personal details; you are ready to find th jobs on those portals.

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