Linux Engineer How to Hire, Salary Data, and Job Descriptions

What is a Linux Engineer?

Unix/Linux operating systems are important in today’s world, and a Linux engineer operates these systems. Not only will they be addressing any changes for their client, but they will also need to resolve user issues, identify potential issues, and implement protective measures. Basic job duties will include monitoring the network and performing server maintenance. This is a fast-paced job which will require a lot of experience monitoring hardware systems. 

Linux engineers should be able to read logs, check user history, understand directory architecture, and be familiar with Linux Stacks. Since they will be working with both client and technical teams, Linux engineers should have strong communication skills and be flexible in their work schedules.

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Average Salary and Compensation

Linux engineer salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.

The average U.S. salary for an Linux Engineer is:

$110,300

How to Hire a Linux Engineer

When hiring a Linux engineer, first consider the following:

  • Recruiting: Do you have the knowledge, tools, and resources to attract and screen candidates?
  • Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid or junior-level skills and experience suffice?
  • Duration: Is this a one-time project or an ongoing need?
  • Management: Do you have the time and expertise to direct the work effectively?
  • Urgency: How soon does the work need to be completed?
  • Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?

Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, great options exist for every scenario. These are our recommendations:

1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)

The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.

This is the best route to take when:

  • You need to fill the position quickly
  • You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
  • You intend to hire on a temporary, contract, or contract-to-hire basis and direct the work activity
  • You are hiring a direct employee but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff
  • You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
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2. Hire an experienced freelancer

The freelance, or gig, economy continues to grow, with more talent available daily. Freelancers provide high-quality work without a long-term commitment. They can offer you a fresh perspective, more flexibility, and increase efficiency. While the freelance market isn’t ideal for every position, Linux engineers are often a great fit. 

We recommend this option when:

  • Your need is project-based
  • The work can be performed remotely
  • You do not intend to direct the daily work activity
  • You are hiring for expertise your internal team does not possess
  • You do not require an employee to work onsite or follow a specific schedule

Here are some popular freelance platforms that we recommend when hiring a Linux engineer:

Toptal

Toptal is an exclusive network of the top freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers in the world. Toptal vets its freelancers before making them accessible, ensuring their legitimacy. Top companies hire Toptal freelancers for their most important projects. Hiring a Linux engineer on Toptal can help you quickly get the results you need.

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Upwork

Upwork is a freelance talent network that helps individuals connect with experts in a variety of fields to accomplish project-based needs. When you have a specific, well-defined goal in mind, this can be a great path to hiring an experienced Linux engineer. If you are satisfied with the outcome you can continue to book the same freelancer through Upwork’s easy-to-use project interface.

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3. Advertise your opening on a top job board

Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice. 

We recommend using a job board when:

  • Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
  • You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort 
  • You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
  • You are prepared to respond to all applicants

There are many career sites out there. Here are the two we recommend for a Linux engineer opening:

CareerBuilder

CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.

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LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social network for job seekers, professionals, and businesses. With this popular job site, you can enhance your brand and advertise your open position to a wide audience of motivated, qualified candidates. Job postings on LinkedIn are also extremely streamlined and user-friendly, making it even easier for candidates to apply. Additionally, applicants can use their LinkedIn profile instead of a resume to expedite the process. 

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4. Leverage your internal resources

You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates. 

A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.

We recommend these options when:

  • Your brand has great name recognition
  • You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
  • You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
  • You have an effective employee referral program in place

If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.

Sample Job Descriptions

Example 1

As an HPC Linux Systems Engineer you will work in the Infrastructure team within the HPC Infrastructure and Networking group to support all activities of our supercomputer center.

Major duties/responsibilities:

  • Work with the team to define and implement best practices and standards within the organization
  • Automate systems administration tasks utilizing open source configuration management tools
  • Design, build, and maintain HPC-scale Linux-based services
  • Tune operating systems and applications to increase performance and reliability of services
  • Diagnose system operational problems quickly and effectively
  • Document system administration procedures for routine and complex tasks
  • Participate in an on-call rotation providing 24-hour, 7-day support, and off-hours maintenance windows
  • Coordinate with vendors to resolve hardware and software problems

Basic qualifications:

Bachelor’s Degree in computer science or closely related field and a minimum of 5 years of experience in Linux/UNIX Systems Administration. An equivalent combination of education and experience will be considered.

Special requirement:

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a clearance from the Department of Energy. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse program (WSAP) testing designed position which requires passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program in which employees are subject to being randomly selected for testing. The occupant of this position will also be subject to an ongoing requirement to report to ABC Company any drug-related arrest or conviction or receipt of a positive drug test result.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Excellent interpersonal/communication skills, and the ability to work as part of a team
  • Strong working knowledge of Unix system fundamentals and common network protocols
  • Experience managing Linux/UNIX operating systems in a heterogeneous environment.
  • Solid understanding of networked computing environment concepts
  • Ability to develop and maintain programs and scripts that aid in the operation and automation of administrative tasks using various shell and scripting languages (primarily bash and Python, some Go)
  • Ability to identify requirements and to define, plan, and implement requisite solutions
  • Ability to plan, organize, prioritize tasks, and complete assigned projects with minimal supervision
  • Experience with continuous integration and continuous deployment software methodologies and how they apply to systems engineering
  • An understanding of code review and familiarity with tools like GitHub and GitLab
  • Experience using tools such as Grafana and Nagios to monitor systems, metrics, and create dashboards
  • Experience designing and implement highly-available systems/services
  • Experience participating in an open source community with patches accepted upstream
  • Experience deploying and maintaining automated configuration management software such as Puppet or Ansible
  • Experience building custom packages for RHEL/CentOS using RPM
  • Experience deploying and maintaining virtualized environments using VMWare
  • Experience installing, maintaining ,and troubleshooting Postfix, OpenLDAP, NetApp filers, VMware, Puppet/Ansible, Git, and Scripting (Python, Bash, and Go)
  • Experience implementing systems-level security technologies like SELinux and following security best-practices

Example 2

The Linux Engineer is responsible for the hardware and software components of the network and other devices within the business setting for current and future environments. This includes planning, developing, installing, configuring, maintaining, supporting, upgrading, and optimizing all network hardware, software, and communication links. This role requires the individual to proactively monitor system performance and issues and respond to incidents that require attention in a timely manner.

Essential functions and responsibilities

  • Participates in improvement and monitoring of deployment operations on pre-release, upgrades, and current versions of software
  • Participates in evaluating compatibility of programs with existing communications hardware and software features
  • Proactively identifies technical opportunities and enhancements while addressing major incidents in a timely manner
  • Manages and ensures the integrity of servers, enterprise class storage devices (SAN, NAS), multiple databases, and data transfer
  • Manages and ensures the integrity, security, and retention of data on various storage devices
  • Performs administration of UNIX systems including but not limited to, CentOS, Debian, SUSE, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, MySQL, and MariaDB
  • Performs Backup/Restore configuration, implementation, and administration
  • Performs Virtualization Administration (VMWare ESX, Vcenter)
  • Administers and maintains end user accounts, permissions, and access rights
  • Monitors and tests server software performance and provides statistics and reports

Knowledge, skills, and abilities

  • Must have understanding of technologies consisting of but not limited to Virtualization (VMware), SAN, Backup\Recovery, Cloud, Business Continuity, etc.
  • Must have working knowledge of IT security as it relates to both datacenter and cloud based infrastructure
  • Must have working and technical knowledge and experience with current UNIX operating systems
  • Knowledge and experience of HP blade enclosures and HP 3PAR storage systems is preferred
  • Must have Systems engineering skills in one or more areas of Server Hardware, Storage, Operating Systems, and/or Middleware

Education and background

  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or related discipline is required; experience may substitute for the education requirement
  • 1-5 years experience with CentOS/REHL 7 and above required
  • 1-5 years experience with automation utilizing Shell scripting (ksh, bash, Perl, python, etc.) required
  • 1-5 years experience with Virtual server configuration in VMware required
  • Experience in the development and implementation of both local area networks and wide area networks is required
  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or related discipline is preferred
  • Experience with MySQL and MariaDB administration preferred

Example 3

The Linux Systems Engineer supports, with supervision, primarily in the areas of electronic trading and clearing applications in the customer facing environments. The successful candidate must have knowledge of application deployment/configuration and be comfortable with Linux/Windows platform, as well as demonstrate experience with Java to configure and troubleshoot applications. Strong communication skills are required candidate typically works with customers for support and new initiatives.

What you’ll be accountable for

  • Analyzes requirements with supervision and supports existing development/QA platforms. Implements necessary hardware and software for project execution. Defines the environment scope for business requirements and maintains and improves the stability, reliability, and availability of environments
  • Defines problems and describes the cause and effect relationship, then gathers and compares data about the problems with supervision and documents the details. Prepares analysis report and reviews with supervision
  • Demonstrates intermediate knowledge of systems (Linux/Windows), distributed computing architecture (client server, intranet/internet), H/W platforms and resources – CPU, memory, virtualization, clustering. Configures systems and modifies settings to ensure proper functioning and provides routine maintenance of systems
  • Participates in discussions with experienced team members to generate ideas for problem solving. Accurately defines the circumstances surrounding the decision point with supervision
  • Troubleshoots most of the known issues, determines the root cause and works with seniors on solutions and implementation. Verifies implementation and makes adjustments as necessary, providing input into resolutions and documenting solutions

What qualifications you need

  • Minimum 3 years of experience in Systems Engineering
  • A Bachelor’s/Master’s degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, or related discipline; or equivalent combination of education and relevant proven work experience that is required for the specific job title
  • Hands on Linux/Unix system experience either as a systems administrator or software developer
  • Strong hands on shell scripting skills in either Bash, Bourne, or Korn shell
  • Experience with CI/CD pipeline tools such as Jenkins and Ansible
  • Experience with cloud and container technology such as Terraform, Docker and Kubernetes
  • Experience with infrastructure management technology such as Chef or Puppet
  • Experience with 3rd party middleware such as Kafka, IBM MQSeries, Consul, and Vault
  • Experience with Java, Java frameworks and technologies such as Tomcat and Spring
  • Strong skills in at least one scripting languages such as Ruby, Python, or Perl
  • Understanding of the software development life cycle and associated tools such as Bamboo, JIRA, and Git
  • Experience with application support, web technologies, APIs, and microservices
  • Have a passion for problem solving and automation and a willingness to continue growing your skills in this area.
  • Self-motivated and a self-starter. If you have a question, be pro-active in finding the answer and communicate your learnings with teammates
  • Excellent oral and written skills

Sample Interview Questions

  • What are the basic components of Linux?
  • What are the differences between a UNIX and Linux Operating System?
  • What is BASH?
  • What is LILO?
  • What is the GNU project and why is it important?
  • What is the maximum allowed length for a filename in Linux?
  • Where is the password file in Linux and how can you make it more secure?
  • What is INODE in Linux?
  • What is the Linux Kernel?
  • How do you check memory and CPU statistics in Linux?
  • How do you reduce or increase the size of an LVM partition?
  • How is the mask command used in a LINUX system?
  • What is the advantage of open source?
  • What is GUI?
  • What is a typical size for a swap partition under a Linux system?
  • Can you explain what a virtual desktop is?
  • How do you change the default run level?
  • What is a “/proc” file system?
  • How do you create a file in Linux using Terminal?
  • Why is Linux regarded as a more secure operating system than other operating systems?

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