Wanted: Linux System Administrator with Recent Active Directory Experience

by Tom Adelstein

OK. I'm in the job market again. Andy Oram finally cut me some slack. Tuesday, I received my first legitimate call for a pure-blooded Linux administrator job. No Server 2003 R2 or mixed environments came with the offer. The company wanted someone to manage 30 Fedora boxes running Asterisk as the primary application. The position existed in Dallas and close to the commuter train station. I fell out of my chair.

Back on October 15, 2006, I enrolled in my first MSCE 2003 server class at the community college in Dallas. Why? I surveyed the market and found some Linux positions. They read something like this: Wanted Linux System Administrator. Experience required: Server 2000 and 2003, Active Directory Guru, VB Shell scripting, IPSec and Cisco VPN experience, A+ and N+ Certifications, Microsoft Exchange experience desirable but not necessary. Some SuSE experience for small Novell workgroup. We have 250 mobile users and require management of off-line data synchronization.

Let's see. In my home town - the seventh largest city in the US - I don't see or hear much about Linux administrators. So, re-certifying from NT 4.0 to server 2003 looked like one of the only ways to land a job. And as you know: Gotta eat.

I did get a call from another semi-Linux shop. They posted the job description for a desktop support technician with some Linux experience. Then I had an interview and the requirements changed. The help desk part of the job involved managing a MS Active Directory Forest and support of XP desktops. Then they disclosed the other 2/3ths of the job, which involved heavy PHP development and 24/7 administration of a large server farm of mission critical VoIP servers. OH, you probably guessed it. The servers all ran Asterisk. They made a generous compensation offer though and that involved going temp to perm for six months at $25 an hour. You might not believe it, but they wanted someone to start in four days and they actually found a candidate and hired him.

Oh, well. Don't forget that you need DNS experience when you implement AD and learn those SRV record types. This could come in handy.