What Does a Linux Engineer Do?
A Linux engineer works in the IT field designing, implementing, and managing Linux-based operating systems. An engineer working with Linux is responsible for installing, configuring, maintaining, and supporting Linux servers, networks, and applications.
The responsibilities of a Linux engineer may vary depending on the size and industry of the organization, but some common responsibilities include system configuration and troubleshooting, monitoring and performance optimization, security management, and disaster recovery planning. As well as automating and streamlining system administration tasks, Linux engineers may also train and support other IT personnel. 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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National Average Salary
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:
Linux Engineer Job Descriptions
It’s important to include the right content in your job description when hiring a linux engineer. The following examples can serve as templates for attracting the best available talent for your team.
[Your Company Name] is searching for a Linux engineer. The Linux engineer will be responsible for installing and monitoring Unix/Linux open-source operating systems and caters to the client’s needs in this environment. The individual also resolves user issues, addresses change management requests, and identifies potential issues by implementing protective measures. As an ideal candidate, you have proven experience designing, implementing, and monitoring Linux infrastructure, maintaining Linux systems, and collaborating with other IT professionals in developing automation strategies and deployment processes.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Install, configure, and maintain servers in a Linux environment
- Develop and implement backup and disaster recovery strategies
- Monitor the health of the Linux servers through both automated and manual processes
- Design, develop, and implement infrastructure monitoring and reporting tools through scripts such as BASH and PowerShell
- Perform server hardware maintenance and upgrades
- Create test automation frameworks in collaboration with team members or other IT departments
- Develop tools to help increase functionality and efficiency of available infrastructure
- Maintain software repositories and apply software updates
- Maintain documentation for procedures, configurations, and programs
Education and experience
- Bachelor’s degree in computer sciences, engineering, or its equivalent
- 2+ years experience working with Linux operating systems
Required skills and qualifications
- Strong scripting skills in Python, Ruby, Perl, or a related language
- Knowledge of automation technologies
- Excellent communication and documentation skills
- Experience with Linux servers in virtualized environments
- Strong knowledge of Linux scripting languages
- Experience installing, configuring, and maintaining services such as Bind, Apache, MySQL, Nginx, etc.
- Solid understanding of configuration management tools, such as Puppet and Chef
- Strong problem-solving and analytical skills
- Knowledge of databases such as MS SQL, Oracle, or DB2
- Experience with cloud computing
- Experience with open-source application suites, such as WordPress or Drupal
- Master’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field
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.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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
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
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
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE). The LFCE program is designed for Linux engineers with at least 3 to 5 years of experience, who want to demonstrate an advanced level of Linux administration and engineering skills. The exam is performance-based and includes real-world simulations. Earning the LFCE certification proves a candidate’s ability to perform challenging engineering tasks under specific time constraints. Competencies include the operation of running systems, user and group management, networking, and system design and deployment. There are no prerequisites for the exam.
- Linux+ CompTIA Certification. This certification covers the latest Linux foundational skills as well as the tasks performed in Linux distributions, Linux command line, maintenance, installation, configuration, and networking. The hands-on course provides valuable experience in configuring, supporting, and monitoring servers that run the Linux Operating System. Certification demonstrates a solid foundation in security, storage, enterprise-level device management, git & automation, networking, and more. Certification is good for three years and can be renewed through activities and training related to the Linux certification.
- LPIC 1 – Linux Administrator. This certification, administered by the Linux Professional Institute, validates a candidate’s ability to perform command-line maintenance tasks, install and configure a Linux system, and configure basic networking. They will learn how to manage real-world system administration. The course covers a wide range of topics, including system architecture, Linux installation, GNU and Unix commands, Linux filesystems, shell & shell scripting, and many more. Certification is valid for 5 years.
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
- Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
- You are hiring an employee as a direct placement 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
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 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.
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.
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
We recommend using CareerBuilder when hiring a linux engineer:
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.
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 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?