How To Become a Linux Administrator

Linux is hot right now. Everybody is looking for Linux talent. Recruiters are knocking down the doors of anybody with Linux experience, and there are tens of thousands of jobs waiting to be filled. But what if you want to take advantage of this trend and you’re new to Linux? How do you get started?

Last but not least, if you ever get stuck on something within Linux, don’t forget about Linux’s included documentation. Using the commands man (for manual), info and help, you can find information on virtually every aspect of Linux, right from within the operating system. The usefulness of these built-in resources cannot be overstated, and you’ll find yourself using them throughout your career, so you might as well get familiar with them early on.

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To become a Linux administrator, follow these steps:
  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement to become a Linux administrator. …
  2. Pursue a master’s degree. …
  3. Enroll in training courses. …
  4. Practice installing Linux. …
  5. Get certified. …
  6. Problem-solving. …
  7. Attention to detail. …
  8. Communication.

How to (Should you) be a Linux Admin in 2021 (vlog) | IT and DevOps Career Secrets

What does a Linux administrator do?

Linux administrators are responsible for maximizing the performance of the operating system. Security is fundamental to their role, especially when approving the installation of new software and enhancement features. Some of their day-to-day responsibilities include:

What is a Linux admin?

A Linux admin, or Linux system administrator, is an IT professional who manages the functionality of a Linux system. Similar to iOS and Windows, Linux is an operating system that connects the internal hardware in electronics, including phones and computers. Administrators answer technical questions about how Linux works and collaborate with other technology experts, such as software developers or computer engineers. They may also choose to specialize in cloud computing or automation.

How to become a Linux administrator

To become a Linux administrator, follow these steps:

1. Earn a bachelors degree

A bachelors degree is the minimum education requirement to become a Linux administrator. These professionals typically pursue one of the following degrees:

2. Pursue a masters degree

After finishing your bachelors, consider pursuing a masters degree as well. Having a masters degree in a specialized discipline, such as computer networking, can strengthen your industry knowledge. For example, you may take courses focused on database management and web server administration, two topics that are important to a role as a Linux administrator. Though employers may not require you to have this advanced degree, it may also help you stand out among other candidates when you apply for jobs.

3. Enroll in training courses

Training courses can offer structured lessons to give you foundational knowledge about Linux, which you can continue to expand upon as you become more proficient. You can learn the basics of the systems and their purposes, such as how to write a kernel or script. You can also seek more advanced resources that teach Linux systems for specific industries.

4. Practice installing Linux

When you practice installing Linux, you can learn to configure the internal function of the hardware firsthand, which can help you become a competent Linux administrator. Look for resources that offer step-by-step guides to installing Linux on a device, or apply the knowledge you gained from courses or research. Once you install the system, practice performing tasks to build your skills. Keep track of what functions youve mastered and what functions you need to improve upon. Continue practicing until you can operate the system on your own.

5. Get certified

A Linux certification can show employers that youve completed the training to be an IT administrator specializing in Linux. Once you feel like youve mastered the fundamentals of the system, research Linux certifications to find one thats best for you. For example, some certifications may test your basic knowledge of the hardware, while others test your skills in a specific Linux tool. Make sure to add your certification to your resume.

The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) also offers a variety of certifications for professionals in the industry, including the Linux Essentials certification.

Linux administrator skills

Common skills for Linux administrators include:


To maintain the integrity of the operating system, Linux administrators troubleshoot and report bugs. They also process user concerns, which can help them establish a pattern in network issues and install a system to prevent the issues from recurring.

Attention to detail

Linux requires specific coding and instruction, so its important for administrators to pay close attention to what commands they input. If they type an incorrect code, the system may operate differently than intended or cause malfunctions in other software, so administrators pay close attention to detail and double-check their work to avoid errors.


Linux administrators practice patience and active listening when they communicate with other people in their organizations. They work closely with data network engineers and software developers to answer technical questions about the operating system. They may also adapt their messages depending on the person theyre working with. For example, they may use more complex language when communicating with a fellow IT professional than with a user. Linux administrators may also train others, so its necessary for them to explain the system in a way that every team member can easily understand.

Technical skills

Here are examples of common technical skills of Linux administrators:

FAQs about Linux administrators

For additional information about becoming a Linux administrator, consider the answers to the following questions:

How much money does a Linux administrator make?

What other resources can I use to learn about Linux?

A Linux User Group (LUG) can provide you with a community of people who are learning the operating system. You can build relationships with experienced Linux operators and receive recommendations about how to navigate the framework. The LUG may share insider updates to the system and knowledge of how professionals use Linux in the industry, which may help you decide the best IT role for you. You can also learn tips for applying for Linux administrative positions.

How long does it take to become a Linux admin?

Depending on your experience and level of education, some paths to becoming a Linux administrator may take longer than others. For instance, it may take at least four years to earn a bachelors degree and one or two additional years to earn a masters degree, and you may need a minimum of three months to study for a Linux certification. Additionally, employers may prefer candidates with at least two years of related experience in the industry, so its important to consider the time you may need to work in the field before applying for Linux admin positions.

How do I find a job as a Linux admin?

For employment opportunities, ask professionals in your LUG or reach out to administrators from your Linux certification programs. You can also search keywords, such as Linux or system administrator, in job posting websites. Before you apply, tailor your resume to the specific role and include details about your certification and technical abilities in your cover letter.


Is Linux admin a good job?

Linux system administration is a job. It can be fun, frustrating, mentally challenging, tedious, and often a great source of accomplishment and an equally great source of burnout. That is to say, it’s a job like any other with good days and with bad.

How much do Linux administrators make?

Salary Ranges for Linux System Administrators

The salaries of Linux System Administrators in the US range from $18,475 to $492,998 , with a median salary of $88,487 . The middle 57% of Linux System Administrators makes between $88,487 and $223,246, with the top 86% making $492,998.

Is Linux administration in demand?

Is Linux Really in Demand? The short answer is yes! The 9th Annual Open Source Jobs Report from Linux Foundation Research and edX found Linux skills were the second most in demand, preceded only by cloud skills.

What is the qualification for Linux?

Linux Certification & Eligibility

Linux is a general programing language and there’s no specific eligibility to pursue the linux system programing language. Any student or graduate can pursue the programing language course.

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