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HomeLinux System Administrator ‣ Interviews: Susant Sahani

Susant Sahani : Linux System Administrator

Software maintenance engineers, as their job title suggests, are primarily involved in maintaining the various software within the organization/ of the organization's customers and resolving complex, technical problems. Susant Sahani is one such software maintenance engineer, with Red Hat, a billion dollar S&P 500 Company. He shares with us details about his work profile:

Q
What is your current position, career focus and total years of experience?
A

I am working as a software maintenance engineer at Red Hat in Pune. My job responsibility is to analyze upstream development against current customer reported defects and develop patches to resolve the issue. I use available tools to investigate and troubleshoot technical issues and record customer interactions including investigation, troubleshooting, and resolution of issues.

I work closely with Red Hat's production support engineers, technical account managers, and development engineering.

Q
How did you get started in your career? What motivated you to get into this career?
A

I had started working for a network security start up based out of Chennai as a developer. I spent a lot of time on startups and using Linux as operating system (OS.)

I was always motivated by Linux and free and open source software. This is the reason I chose this job.

Q
What is this career like?
A

Well, we look at the complex issues of the customer, write new code fixes and back port existing codes fixes. We investigate crash dumps of various user space software, assist customer-facing support representatives by investigating complex problems and suggesting action plans. We also write knowledge based articles with detailed problem description, diagnostic and resolution steps. The whole idea is to utilize the domain expertise to improve customer and product experience.

Q
What is a normal work day in the life of a software maintenance engineer?
A

Most of the time my day is spent in resolving complex customer issues. I look into problems raised by customers that are specific to my area of technical expertise. Based on the issues we then investigate and reproduce the issues in internal labs, and come out with new or back port existing patch. We then work with engineering to get it released, and collaborate with other colleagues in order to make the best customer experience.

Q
How was your journey from your first job till the current one? Where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?
A

I started as a software engineer and always wanted to be an open source developer. I love to write code and always keep at it! Now I am an active contributor to systemd (http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/systemd/). Apart from it I have contributed to libnl, squid, Linux kernel, iperf3. I would like to develop new tools for Linux.

In 5 years I would like to be a software architect.

Q
What specialized training and education did you choose to succeed in this field? What inspired you to build the skills?
A

I completed Master of Computer Applications (MCA) and was pretty much interested in hacking Linux from college days. I read up many technical books related to computer networking and Linux kernel. I learned most of the stuff by hacking out Linux.

Q
Which skills have you found most helpful, and which ones will be most important in the future?
A

Linux, C, Networking (TCP/IP), Debugging gdb, git would prove useful.

Q
What have been your best experiences and challenges while working in this field?
A

What have been your best experiences and challenges while working in this field?

One should either reduce resource consumption or optimize the system with cleared end-goals with documented improvements to a system's performance.

Q
What recommendation would you give to prospective students who want to advance in this field? What education & skills do they need to focus on, over others?
A

To be a Linux professional you should have the ability to administer linux systems and work with a variety of programming and scripting languages such as C, Python, GO, shell scripting. You should be familiar with networking. You should also be a team player, know how to collaborate with different regions - good communication and interpersonal skills would be helpful here. Organizational skills and writing abilities also make an impact during the documentation process. Contributing to upstream projects (e.g. fedora) and participating in the mailing list always gives you an advantage and more visibility.

Q
Do you have any other 'words of wisdom' that you would like to pass on?
A

Have patience, read, learn, accomplish, and never be afraid of the command line.

Susant can also reached at his LinkedIn profile - https://www.linkedin.com/in/susantsahani