Guest Post / Martin Elliott: From computer club to computer career

Our partners are typically closer to students than we at Red Hat headquarters are. As such, we like to regularly hear from both of them for insight into training, into the IT industry and into IT professionals. One such training partner, 1Staff Training, is certainly among those with a finger squarely on the pulse of what’s happening in IT education. Based in Omaha, Nebraska, 1Staff Training has been delivering technical training since 1996, educating over 28,000 students and rating consistently as a leader in IT education by the International Data Corporation. 1Staff Training recently spoke with one of its Red Hat System Administration I (RH124) students to get his thoughts about the course and his career, and how both are interrelated.

NOTE: The opinions, statements and other information included in this post are those solely of the interview subject and may not be representative of Red Hat.

In 1989, Martin Elliott’s parents forced him to join a local computer club. To prove to him that computers weren’t just a passing fad, they also bought him an 8-bit home computer for his birthday. Since that time, Martin has been fascinated by computers and robotics. Little did his parents know that these two simple actions would spark a lifetime interest, and career.

What is your background?
I’m a British software developer (Programmer/Analyst II), working for Omni Hotels & Resorts. I left school early, took on a few system admin type jobs, and then worked on the equivalent (in the UK) of an Associate’s Degree in computing. I worked for a housing charity for around 6 years as a general IT person, rolling out computers, fixing machines, etc., before eventually moving to the US. I’ve been programming since the age of 9 in one form or another, and an avid Linux supporter since 1998.

What Red Hat class did you take and where?
RH124 (Red Hat System Administration I) at 1Staff Training in Omaha, Nebraska.

Who was your instructor?
Patrick Swartz. Patrick was great. He had the quality I always look for in a trainer: If asked a question he didn’t know the answer to, he would say that, and then work on finding an answer for you.

Why did you take this course?
I wanted to expand some areas of my knowledge (particularly in relation to LVM). Although I’m a programmer, I’m also jointly responsible for all the Linux boxes at the company (there are many).

What did you like/love about this class?
I picked up a few things that I wasn’t aware of, even though I’ve been a Linux user for well over a decade! That was good. It gave me some pointers that actually allowed me to solve a problem we’d been having for a while at work. My trainer was awesome too.

What did you feel this class was lacking?
A real demonstration of the command line. It did cover parts of it, but some actual examples of the awesome things you do there, would’ve been great. For example, using tools like sort, split, awk, sed, grep, etc. They would not have to be really advanced examples, but rather just an introduction so people know they exist.

Would you recommend this class to others?
Yes, it was a useful class. From my view it is most suited to Windows admins who need to administer Linux servers. It glossed over some of the power features for simplicity, which may not be a bad thing for people who are used to using a GUI interface. It was quite well structured and went at a good pace.

What do you want people to know about RH124?
If you’re a Windows guy, this will be great for you. If you already have Linux experience, this might cement some areas for you. I don’t know that this is suited to somebody with more experience, but it’s a good class and I certainly came away with some useful knowledge.

What other course (if you had unlimited time and budget) would you take?
I’d like to do RH135, I’m hoping my company will send me on that next year. I’m especially interested in having a Red Hat exam under my belt.

How did RH124 help your bottom line?
It saved me some time by filling in some of the gaps in my knowledge.

What were some of the challenges you were able to overcome implementing the training you received?
It allowed me to manage LVM more efficiently (rather than just ‘guessing’ my way through it). It also ultimately lead me to solving another issue we were having (specifically: X11 forwarding over SSH issue), which probably saved us quite a bit of hassle too.

How will this help you out in your career?
Obviously it will look good on my resume! Hopefully the bits I picked up in the class will stick and improve my efficiency in the future.

Learn more about 1Staff Training by visiting

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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