A penguin figure sitting on a computer keyboard with a gold crown beside it. The penguin in this case represents Linux.
Image: © Laura Primo/Stock.adobe.com

Mastering Linux skills for a DevOps career

25 Aug 2023

Linux is very important for DevOps professionals as it powers a lot of modern internet infrastructure. Here’s what you need to know.

If you’re working in DevOps you’re all about optimising tech and making sure development processes are as smooth and efficient as possible. There are a lot of basic skills DevOps workers are supposed to have, as well as more advanced knowledge.

Linux skills fall between the two categories – you need a certain amount of Linux know-how if you’re working in DevOps, but it’s not absolutely essential. That said, Linux is the operating system that powers Android, which is one of the most popular platforms around. There are other benefits to using Linux, too. It’s pretty secure, reliable and free to install.

Linux for newbies

If you’re only beginning your DevOps career and you have no experience with Linux yet, you should consider doing a short course to familiarise yourself with it.

This online, self-paced course from The Linux Foundation is free to complete. You have the option to pay for a certificate of completion at the end but you can still acquire all the knowledge without having to pay, including 60 hours of course materials and access to discussion forums. You’ll learn Linux distributions, system configurations, some basic command line operations and more.

The course is designed to prepare learners for progressing to Linux distributions that they will require proficiency in as DevOps workers.

A word on distributions for those who don’t know: there are a number of different types of distribution for Linux depending on what you need it for. Most corporate DevOps teams tend to stick with the tried-and-tested distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (aka RHEL), CentOS, Amazon Linux and Fedora. If you’re completely new to Linux, don’t panic about all this new terminology for the moment. It’s best to learn from a general course like the one offered by The Linux Foundation. Then you can progress to more complex distributions once you know what area of DevOps you want to focus on. If you want to learn RHEL, for example, you’ll be able to try it out for free on a developer subscription here.

Another good course for beginners is this Getting Started with Linux course from Pluralsight, which teaches you the very basic basics including how to install Linux.

More advanced Linux learning paths

If you have some experience of Linux and you want to level up your skills for a DevOps environment, allow us to point you in the direction of some people who know more about it than the average journalist. Writing in a publication called Cloud Native Daily on Medium, DevOps engineer MD AL Imran recommends DevOps workers brush up on shell scripting, networking and security, package management, automation management and more. He also outlines some advanced Linux commands that people may find useful.

In terms of courses, The Linux Foundation is also a good bet for experienced DevOps pros. It has courses such as this one on SRE Fundamentals and Continuous Delivery. The course assumes learners have basic Linux and system administration knowledge as well as a solid understanding of the software delivery process.

Overall, Linux skills are a definite asset to anyone working in DevOps, so whether your experience is limited or slightly more advanced, it’s well worth your while spending a bit of time honing your skills.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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