Since a number of It’s FOSS reader requested more information on career aspects of Linux, we are going to ask Jason Cannon, CEO of Linux Training Academy, to share his expert opinion on Linux career, certification and online courses. We’ll also talk about Linux Training Academy and its achievements.
Some of you may already have heard the name Linux Training Academy. This is the organization behind the famous “Learn Linux in 5 Days” online course and book. But that’s just two of the most famous works from Jason. Officially, he has seventeen books available on Amazon. He has also created 13 courses for Udemy.
Quite recently, he has created a very practical Linux course called “Linux in the Real World” that gives participants direct access to Jason and his teaching assistants. We’ll see more about it later in this interview.
It’s FOSS: Tell us more about your background? How did you come about into “teaching Linux”?
Jason: I worked as a professional musician for a few years prior to launching my career as a Unix and Linux System Engineer in 1999. I’ve been privileged to use my Linux skills at Xerox, UPS, Hewlett-Packard, Amazon.com, and other great organizations.
Early in my career, I fell into the Linux wormhole. I studied everything I could find. The more I learned about Linux, the more my career took off. Soon, other people on my team began coming to me for help.
I found I had a knack for mentoring and teaching others, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping people upgrade their skills.
Linux has been very good to me — it’s allowed me to buy houses and cars, support a family, and feed people and a cat or two. I want others to experience that possibility as well.
After writing multiple books and teaching over a dozen courses, nothing gives me more satisfaction than getting an email from one of my students who says, “Hey, I got that job because I read your book!” or “Thank you, your course helped me get a raise!”
That’s why I do what I do.
It’s FOSS: What do you want to achieve with Linux Training Academy? And how do you feel about the achievements of Linux Training Academy so far?
Jason: I’m on a mission to take Linux resources and instruction from “theoretical” to “applied,” and from the classroom to the workplace. I only teach techniques you can use on the job, right away.
I want Linux Training Academy to be the place IT professionals and aspiring IT professionals come for real-world, practical Linux training.
Every time someone sends me a thank-you email telling me about their new job or their promotion, it makes me know I’m doing the right thing. I love helping others.
As far as stats go, I’ve taught over 100,000 students just on the Udemy platform alone. There are about 50,000 people on the LinuxTrainingAcademy.com newsletter. There are thousands of people who have read my books. I don’t even know how many have downloaded one of the many free resources we provide such as cheat sheets and Linux tutorials.
Over 500 students have gone through our instructor-led flagship training program, Linux in the Real World.
It’s FOSS: Are you the only one behind Linux Training Academy? Have you thought of expanding the team or starting real life classrooms? What are your plans in the regard?
Jason: It may appear that Linux Training Academy is a one man job, but there is actually an entire team behind the scenes. We have a customer support specialist, a marketing communication specialist, a video editor, and five teaching assistants. Even though I am the main instructor, I am in the process of hiring additional instructors.
Teaching online and in person are two distinct skill sets. We are currently focused 100% on online education. We do get requests for in-person classroom training, but up until this point we always turn them down. This might change in the future, but for now, we’re committed to online education.
It’s FOSS: We haven’t seen Linux Training Academy focusing on training for certifications. Could you please tell us why it is so?
Jason: We focus on what I like to call actionable education. For example, many people who take our Linux in the Real World course use our project instructions as implementation plans. They take exactly what they learn from us and put it in production.
Teaching those types of courses is much more rewarding for us, and more importantly, for the students. It’s better than teaching them how to pass a multiple choice test in order to get a certification. To get certified you have to know random bits of information such as how to copy files, how to change permissions, how to use a package manager and so on. We not only teach those specifics, but we teach them in the context in order to do real work. This way our students not only learn and retain the information, they also understand when, why, and how to use that information.
It’s FOSS: So is it not worth to get Linux certifications?
Jason: I do believe certifications can be beneficial for those who are new to the field. It is one way to prove that you are committed to this career path because you were willing to put in the work required to obtain a certification. Once you have on-the-job experience, certifications become less important. For example, I’ve rarely seen where a certification is required for a Linux job, especially for an intermediate or advanced position. Even when a job posting lists certification as a requirement, it is mainly there to eliminate wholly unqualified people for the position. If someone has the skills required for the job, they are more often than not hired even if they don’t have a certification.
It’s FOSS: Can we expect Linux certification preparation courses in future?
Jason: Certification courses are on our list of possible future courses, however, we are currently working on other course topics. After those courses are completed, we’ll reevaluate.
It’s FOSS: Let’s talk a little about the latest course you offer, ‘Linux in the Real World’. What is so special about this course? What do you think makes it one of its kind?
Jason: First off, it’s a project-based course. You get to immediately use all the Linux commands and techniques you learn throughout the course in order to build and deploy real-world Linux solutions. These projects are just like the ones you would be expected to perform on the job. It’s a very practical, hands-on course that students absolutely love.
Next, you get 8 full weeks of instructor support. During those 8 weeks, you can join live calls as well as participate in a very active class discussion forum. This gives students the chance to get individual help from myself or one of my 5 teaching assistants. Also, all the lessons are prerecorded so you can study at your own pace, yet they can get live teacher interaction when you want or need it.
Finally, the class contains at least as much material, if not more, than a traditional week-long in-person class. Those classes typically range in cost between $2,000 and $3,500. Linux in the Real World is priced well below that. This makes training affordable, especially if you are paying for your own training.
Finally, we’re not some heartless corporation. We care about our students. That’s why we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t find the course helpful, we don’t want to keep your money! You won’t find other training companies who stand behind their courses like we do.
It’s FOSS: What advice do you have for our readers looking to make a career in the field of Linux?
Jason: Keep your goal in mind and take massive action. Your career is your responsibility. That means you have to be your own best supporter. Don’t wait for someone else or some company to pay for your training. Find a way to pay for your own training. Don’t wait for someone to find you and ask you to apply for a job. Actively seek out and apply to open Linux positions. If you really want it and stick to it, you’ll succeed.