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Getting a Job at NASA/Thanks for being great!


TL;DR: I’m heading into the final round of selections for a candidate to fill a position at Langley Research Center for Linux System Administrator, and I have to thank everyone here for helping push me into expanding my Linux knowledge.

I have dreamed of working for NASA for the past 15 years. I have no degree, nor any certifications. I do have a single term that I spent in the military, but only in a slightly relevant field. Most of my knowledge has been gained through practice and being self-taught (also a bit of reading through man pages).

For the longest time, I focused on Debian-based systems, because that is what was familiar to me. You guys and girls (especially @wendell) helped push me into learning Fedora and branching out into the Red Hat zone of Linux. Learning how to do graphics card passthroughs, and work with pci ids definitely helped as well.

Considering the time between my first interview and the phone call asking for a second, I have a good feeling about getting this. Even if I don’t, I wanted to thank all of you for getting me this far, as I probably would not have even made the first cut without your help.

crosses fingers



I wish you luck on your adventure, sounds like a dream job for some :smile:



Proof that autodidacticism can actually pay off, nice to see and would like to see more examples. Autodidacts are often looked down upon by the “book-worms” Yet some if not most of the worlds best minds in the computing field are autodidacts.

Wish you all the best!



I had no idea there was a word for being self-taught! Thanks for that!



Hope it goes well.

What kind of things have you been learning?



Mostly just commands, but knowing how to search for packages using yum or dnf rather than apt is definitely helpful. One thing I learned which was interesting is that the base user in Red Hat/CentOS does not have super user privileges by default, as Ubuntu or other Debian distributions generally do. This pushed me to learn how to properly add users to wheel or sudo groups as needed, which in turn led to learning more about permissions of which I was previously unaware (I had no idea about the UID/GID/“sticky bit” for chmod).
I can say for sure that my Linux knowledge in general has expanded as well. I learned more about kernels, modules, working with those, upgrading as needed, dependencies… I also learned things that were helpful in coding, such as importing the C library from Linux and/or Windows into Python in order to run a very low level process. That snowballed into learning more about combining coding languages like Python and Bash for a super-powerful, readable script.



Yeah there’s a flag to enable admin on a normal user at install (add wheel), but it doesnt do it like Ubuntu does where the root account is disabled.

I could probably give a list of things that would be useful to learn, if you like. (look up rd.break)

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I am always down to learn more! I’m also certain that other who view this thread would appreciate the info as well!

rd.break is definitely helpful, especially as a Sysadmin. Thank you for that.



Apprehension: I wish you had waited until you had the job to post this. Statement: There is a meatbag expression: “Don’t count your orobirds before they’re hatched.” Let’s hope you haven’t done that. Commendation: Congratulations on getting this far though. Good luck.



I’ll still be happy even if I don’t get the position (granted, that would be really cool). I don’t think that I would have been able to get this far several years ago.
That said, creating this thread was more for saying thanks than to brag about something that hasn’t happened yet. Explaining the position I’m currently being considered for is merely to show how much I have learned, largely in thanks to this community. I’m still thankful, I won’t take that back.

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To the OP best of luck in getting the job and at the very least like you said you at least got the push to learn new things here from Wendell. No matter what you won. Learning new things throughout one’s life is really important for many reasons and it is something I strive to push myself to do. Best of luck in whatever else you try to learn in the future.

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Remember to tell us if you find any aliens.



Good luck with the job application and I hope you get your dream job, and if you do get in please let us know. (if possible)

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Congratulations! I’m sure with that enthusiasm, and your ability to learn on your own you will do fantastically!

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For anyone keeping tabs on this: I got the job! I have piles of (digital) paperwork and a transition from my current employment ahead of me, but I’ll be starting in a few weeks. Thanks again everyone!







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Nice! This is definitely one of those companies that I’d love to work for. Maybe some day.

Have fun and congrats!

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Enjoy and learn as much as you can :). School is never over so keep learning :slight_smile: