Laid off from non-profit job. Can I transition into Linux sysadmin work?
June 17, 2014 1:32 PM Subscribe
I'm about to get laid off from my non-profit job within the next month. I was hired as a general office admin person, and ended up doing mainly Linux sysadmin work. What are my chances of getting this type of work as my next job? Details and snowflakes inside.
posted by winterhill to Work & Money (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've been working for a small non-profit organisation for two and a half years. When I first started, I was hired as a general admin assistant focused on supporting radio stations, but my role quickly transitioned into far more technical Linux server administration - the non-profit operates streaming media and other hosted online services for other non-profits and commercial clients as part of its unrestricted income streams.
For the past twelve months, the atmosphere has been poisonous. There's been a perpetual air of impending doom, a snappy and unpleasant office atmosphere, and my concerns about the financial and operational state of the organisation have been rebuffed with "well, that's just how it is in the non-profit sector." The organisation has zero direction, no effective management, no plans or goals other than somehow scraping together enough each month to make payroll, something it has been doing with limited success of late.
Every month, it's a case of "we might not have enough to pay you this month." Even if I wasn't getting laid off, this would have to stop at this point. I'm getting close to 30 and getting too old for this sort of shenanigans. (They still haven't explicitly said "winterhill, you are getting laid off." Like everything with this organisation, it's being dragged out ad infinitum, just to make me more stressed, but it's likely to be within the next month.)
Anyway, to the question - here is a little run-down of the stuff I've trained myself to do and have been doing for the past couple of years (copied from my recently updated CV!):
- Working with a diverse range of Linux server systems, mainly CentOS but with some Debian and Ubuntu servers
- Virtualisation of a number of diverse systems using OpenVZ; also have experience of VMWare
- Installation and configuration from scratch of Apache, PHP, MySQL/MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Postfix, Icecast and various other services
- Server monitoring and maintenance: knowledge and experience in the use of Munin, Monit, Nagios etc.
- Competence in bash scripting and automation of regular administrative tasks
- Up-to-date knowledge of new developments in Linux and relevant open-source server systems.
I'm currently full time (35h/wk) on £18,000 (~$30,000) per annum. Jobs I've found and applied for online with a similar set of skills listed hover around the £30-35,000 ($50-60,000) mark. Is it realistic to be looking at jobs with such a significant salary bump after two years of working with the above? I literally can't find anything lower-paid, or more entry-level. It seems that those are the salaries for the more junior roles. I'm surely not that underpaid, am I?
Can anyone give me any further advice on what sort of jobs I should be looking for with the above skill set and 2.5 years of experience? If it matters, my background prior to this was in radio, including training young people in the use of radio equipment at a community station - so my communication skills (written and spoken) are also at a really high level and I can explain things clearly. Do I actually have a realistic shot of getting these kinds of sysadmin jobs, with no degree and this level of experience, or should I be looking elsewhere? Can anyone give me some career pointers?