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Linux pro imparts how to get ahead in IT careers

According to longtime Linux pro Sander van Vugt, RHEL skills will take you furthest. Follow van Vugt's 10-year plan to a successful IT career.

After 20 years in the tech industry, Linux pro Sander van Vugt knows a thing or two about how to get ahead.

His IT career began with his first job at Novell as a technology trainer. He became an independent IT pro in 2004 to delve deeper into open source and gain hands-on experience. Today, van Vugt is an expert in Linux high availability, virtualization and performance, and continues to teach.

He has also authored several books, including Beginning the Linux Command LineBeginning Ubuntu LTS Server Administration and Pro Ubuntu Server Administration.

Here, he offers sage advice on navigating the ever-changing tech industry to develop a successful IT career.

What advice would you give someone just starting out in the field?

Sander van Vugt: Focus on Linux because it's getting bigger and bigger, and [it's] replacing Unix. Then, decide which Linux [distribution]. Some people use Ubuntu on their desktop, but that isn't used in data centers for big companies.

Sander van VugtSander van Vugt

SUSE and [Red Hat Enterprise Linux] matter the most, so get skilled in those. Then, get your [Red Hat Certified Engineer] because it is the most demanded [certification]. OpenStack is too complicated.

Hopefully this [provides] a 10-year [career] plan.

What other certifications are important?

van Vugt:  [Linux Professional Institute] is a nice starter; it provides the basics. Then you can get SUSE [or Red Hat] certified and become an administrator. SUSE isn't as sought after as Red Hat certifications.

The Linux foundation started a new [certification] that is the equivalent to LPI, but it's too new and hasn't proved itself yet.

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