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How Do I Become a Linux® Programmer?

By Angela Farrer
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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You can become a Linux® programmer by becoming familiar with the Linux® operating system interface, learning the correct use of the command line, and mastering at least one programming language commonly used with the Linux® platform. Certification in the vendor-neutral Linux®+ exam objectives also creates a good foundation for many entry-level Linux® programmer jobs. Training to become a Linux® programmer can frequently be done on your own since a large amount of material is freely available for you to learn and practice at your own pace. This option is generally the most effective if you have a prior background in computer programming or system administration. If you determine that you need more guidance, many two-year colleges and technical schools offer sets of courses that will prepare you for a Linux® programmer career.

One of the first steps to become a Linux® programmer is to gain an understanding of open-source software and of its associated requirements. Linux® programmers follow the guidelines of creating source code and making it available for other programmers to examine and edit as they see fit. Taking some time to examine some of these code samples will give you a good idea of the structure and syntax of a quality Linux® software application. In addition to source code samples, you can also usually find plenty of free tutorials and even full-length textbooks to get you started on the basics of navigating the Linux® command line.

Programming in the Linux® operating system also requires a working knowledge of navigating and modifying the system in a terminal mode rather than with a graphical user interface. This practice allows a Linux® programmer a greater degree of control over system adaptations as well as over new programs from scratch. Some Linux® programmers do their coding in a terminal mode editor rather than in a compiling program called an integrated development environment (IDE). An ability to program in both an IDE and in the Linux® terminal mode will give you more flexibility while learning the languages needed to become a Linux® programmer.

Mastering at least one programming language is essential for you to become a Linux® programmer. Many adult vocational schools or two-year colleges have a range of beginning programming courses in languages such as C, Java®, C++, and Perl. These courses can give you a good foundation if you have no previous computer programming experience. The same school programs can also offer courses that will prepare you for the Linux®+ certification; this credential is considered helpful for many entry-level Linux® programmer jobs. Completing a minimum two-year computer science degree with an emphasis in Linux® programming will qualify you for a range of opportunities as well.

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