View Full Version : Recommended resources for a beginner to system administration and networking?

August 31st, 2013, 06:42 PM

I've been using Linux happily and productively on the desktop since '04-05 starting with ubuntu 5.04. I'm comfortable and enthusiastic with the terminal and have a fair vocabulary of basic commands. I use the terminal for almost all of my system administration tasks (updating, file management, text editing, I'm able to compile a new kernel, setup a home server w/ apache, etc). I feel I have a basic, but solid, understanding of Linux and enough ability in learning new things that I would be able to start advancing beyond Linux for personal use. I have started to learn more about networking and TCP/IP. My greatest weakness at this point is my knowledge of programming, which is limited to basic bash scripting, (plus a working knowledge of HTML & CSS that does give me *some* familiarity with a coding).

I enjoy using Linux immensely and despite my skills being basic, I'm confident in my capacity to advance as it has still taken an incredible amount of work and determination to get to where I am. My acquisition of new skills did hit a plateau the past few years but my interest has been revitalized greatly and I would seriously like to have a career as a Linux professional. System administration interests me the most. I'm 22 years old and formal education within at least the next year is not an option for me (and will then probably be limited to a 2-year school) so I want to learn as much on my own as possible. I wish I had decided to get serious about this sooner, but that's not the case and after assessing all of my skills for the potential to support myself financially, Linux and computers is still my strongest.

I currently own two Linux books: Running Linux (5th edition) and Linux in a Nutshell (5th edition)
I would say my knowledge at this point thoroughly covers Part 1 of 'Running Linux', that is 'Enjoying and being productive', but I am enthusiastically making my way through the rest of the book now and already am learning new things.
(I also own Learning Python 2nd Edition but I'm afraid it may be outdated.)

With that, I'm looking to the community for guidance in: a.) what skills and theoretical knowledge I should focus on most to gain competency at system administration
b.) what books and resources will benefit me the most and the order in which I should read them
c.) what path to follow as far as certifications and how necessary a formal education is

Thanks for taking the time to read and thanks *very much* to anyone who takes the time to help me in my pursuit, it means a lot to me.


August 31st, 2013, 07:32 PM
I can't help you, but I think maybe these guys (http://ask.slashdot.org/) could.

August 31st, 2013, 09:36 PM
what books and resources will benefit me the most and the order in which I should read them
Hi nick34.

There are core concepts for which getting a book might be a good alternative. For instance, how TCP/IP works, the concepts behind DNS, etc.

Having said that, IMHO, everything moves very fast these days, and books can't keep up with the changes. Most up-to-date documentation, tutorials, etc. is found online: in forums, wikis, and alike. I'd also recommend looking for podcasts (webcasts) related to system administration. Here's an example: TechSNAP (http://www.jupiterbroadcasting.com/show/techsnap/).

Just my thoughts,