Mar 102015

Wisdom is finally dawning on American politicians that the tech sector pays better wages than Walmart or McDonald’s.

So President Obama announced a $100 million TechHire initiative on March 9, 2015 to get more Americans trained for better paying technology jobs.

The White House also said there were half a million job openings in the information technology sector including in software development, network administration and cybersecurity.

According to the White House, information technology is currently the largest occupational category for open jobs right now.

TechHire will work with community colleges, coding boot camps and online course providers to rapidly train Americans for information technology jobs.

Accelerated training providers Dev Bootcamp, Hack Reactor, Microsoft, Treehouse Island and Udacity intend to expand free or discounted training for underserved communities and individuals.

What are You Waiting for?

The TechHire initiative is still in the works and it will likely take some time for the grant money to flow to your state.

But you can get started now.

Within information technology, Linux is a hot area where hiring managers are scrambling to find talent.

Even if you’re not a computer science graduate, you can pick up valuable Linux skills.

Linux is not rocket science. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

With enough determination and by putting your nose to the grindstone, I guarantee you’ll gain adequate Linux skills in three months.

In this post, I will point you to some free resources where you can learn about Linux command line tools, system administration and security.

I have also provided links to some key Linux distributions that you can download to your computer for practice.

Free Books to Learn Linux

If you check on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, you’ll find that computer books are frightfully expensive.

Now there’s no reason for despair if your budget is tight because plenty of free legal books on Linux are available online.

Here are a few Linux books to get you started:

1. Linux Command Line by William Shotts
2. Linux Systems Administration by Paul Cobbaut
3. Linux Cookbook
4. Linux Fundamentals by Paul Cobbaut
5. 33 Free Books on Linux

For the command line, I suggest you start with William Shotts’ excellent book (see link above).

Once you gain confidence in your Linux skills, obtain certifications like Red Hat Certified System Administrator or the Linux Foundation’s Certified SysAdmin.

Having certifications will make your resume more appealing to employers.

Download Linux Distributions

Some Linux distributions are more easier for newbies than other distributions.

Linux Mint and and Ubuntu are among the easier ones.

Although CentOS and Fedora are not as user friendly, I’d encourage you to start with either of them.

Businesses seldom use Linux Mint, which is more geared toward consumer desktops rather than servers.

So you’re better off starting off with CentOS, the free version of Red Hat Linux that’s a common presence in the IT infrastructure of most medium and large businesses.

Kali Linux is more useful for forensics and identifying security weaknesses in servers and web sites.

* CentOS
* Fedora
* Kali Linux
* Linux Mint
* Ubuntu

You can install any of these Linux distributions in a partition, via virtualization or wipe out an old Windows computer and put Linux on it.

If you ask me, virtualization is the route to go since you can install Linux on your existing laptop or desktop and access it without rebooting (like you’d have to do if you have a partition). Don’t worry, virtualization is not as difficult as it sounds.

Go ahead and download the free Virtualbox software in the below link and follow the instructions.
* Virtualbox

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President Obama Launches New TechHire Initiative

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