How I went through the training program for Linux engineers at MoiOffice

How I went through the training program for Linux engineers at MoiOffice

What to do if you are a junior and want to get into a good IT company? The obvious answer is to learn, develop, master Linux and code, code, code. Sooner or later you will be noticed and invited to work at the company of your dreams. At first glance, this happens only in books and positive speeches of infobusinessmen: in reality, big companies do not really respect Junes. However, there are options.

My path to employment took 2 months — I spent them studying at a special training program for Linux engineers, after which I got into the MyOffice staff. I tell you what it was like, what I faced and what I learned about the profession.

Hello, Habre! My name is Oleksiy Kostyukov, I am a graduate of the Povolga State University of Telecommunications and Informatics, I studied “Informatics and Computing”. I really like mathematics and in general everything related to IT. At the same time, I did not have enough experience to immediately get an interesting job, and I applied for the “MyOffice Start” training program for Linux engineers. He successfully completed his studies in November 2022.

In his recent article, colleague @AndreyKolesnikov already laid out the details organization of training and how its first stream was conducted. I will tell you about it from the perspective of a trainee: how the selection was made, what the training included and what results were achieved after its completion (spoiler: now I work as a system engineer for implementation and support at MoiOffice).

A few words about “My Office Start”

The program took place in Samara, where I live and study. After graduating from university, I was looking for a job, for a long time I could not decide what I liked more. I mainly looked for developer vacancies, as the university provided a good base. I went through a couple of interviews, even did an internship somewhere, but it didn’t get to the point of being accepted either for objective reasons or for personal reasons. In July 2022, I saw a vacancy for an implementation and support engineer intern at MyOffice and decided to take part in the program. Since I knew next to nothing about the company and had little experience in Linux administration, my expectations were low. However, as a result, I have found something here that I enjoy doing!

“We designed the program itself to train high-quality candidates: the fact is that there are not enough relevant specialists on the market today. For 2021, we were able to hire only one system engineer for the directorate, and for the first half of 2022, we did not find a single suitable candidate, although the HR department offered more than a hundred resumes, and we conducted 14 interviews. This is quite a serious problem, and we launched this program to solve it.” — explains Vadym Tsarfin, head of the Directorate of Special Projects, Operation and Implementation of MyOffice.

The goal of the “MyOffice Start” project is to prepare from scratch candidates for the role of Linux system engineers 2 and 3 lines of support for work with non-typical requests, as well as all requests for support of server solutions.

The training itself lasted 2 months and consisted of two degrees. From 4 to 5 days a week, in the evenings, we had face-to-face practical classes with the teacher, they were given homework, plus there were laboratory tasks between classes. At the end of each degree, it was necessary to pass tests, and at the end – to pass exams.

The main motivation for me personally was, of course, the opportunity to get a job at MyOffice after successfully completing the program, but there were also additional bonuses. Yes, all those who successfully passed the first module and passed the exams received a bonus of 20,000 rubles (this already includes taxes). According to the results of the second module, you can get already 50,000 rubles. And, of course, an offer to the company.

A similar program was held this year. As far as I know, MyOffice plans to continue conducting similar internships and launching further training streams. So if you are a student and looking for interesting opportunities, I advise monitor the site.

How was the selection stage

4th and 5th year students from the faculties of informatics and applied mathematics were recruited for training. The candidates were mostly my age – about 20 years old. To get into the course, it was necessary to pass an interview with the employees of the relevant MoiOffice department, in which you could then study, and eichars. After the interview, there was a test, and based on its results, 9 people were able to start training. There were many candidates – later I found out that there were more than fifty.

A mandatory requirement for all candidates is knowledge of the Linux OS. Also, to enter, you need to be familiar with installing programs for data exchange, monitoring, encryption of communication channels, and others. It was still necessary to be able to configure networks in Unix/Windows. All this was discussed at the interview and then checked in the tasks on the test – the examples themselves, unfortunately, I cannot divulge.

In general, nothing super complicated, but as a result, only 9 people passed the selection.

In addition to knowledge of the basics of programming, we certainly looked at the practical experience that the candidates had: participation in Olympiads, hackathons, CTF and other internships was welcome. It would be difficult to hit without any practice. Before the start of the course, we prepared a virtual environment for students at our facilities. They located it in a circuit isolated from other infrastructure, provided a remote connection so that students could create virtual machines, delete them, and gain access from the outside. Virtualization has been raised on the basis of KVM with an accessible web interface to make it faster and easier for candidates to start the learning process. During the tests, we encountered brute force on given simple passwords several times — apparently, the students have not finished the information security course yet,” — says Andrii Kolesnikov, head of the engineering department.

The first module

The first module consisted of 13 classes, during which we mostly consolidated theoretical knowledge in practice. One class, one topic. Training continued every weekday evening for three weeks.

The venue was not chosen by chance. In the summer of 2022, the company opened a development office in Samara — and then it was decided to launch the first specialist training program there. The city has a university with good specialized departments, besides, many employees of MyOffice are graduates of Samara technical universities. The region has a very strong IT school — and the students in the first batch of the program have confirmed this once again.

Here are the topics we covered (I think someone will be interested to see what a Linux system engineer should know in theory and practice):

  • Operating systems and networks. Linux operating system – general information: history of creation. Overview of OS architecture. At the first lesson, the students’ knowledge of the basics of informatics was also checked again: the teacher was not present at the selection stage and wanted to understand our level;

  • Introduction to the bash interpreter. Basic file operations. Interpreter task management (jobs, bg, fg, &);

  • Working with text information: editors and basic utilities for working with text files. Vi, nano, less, grep, cat, head, tail. Input and output redirection;

  • Chain. Configuring static connection and dhcp;

  • Systemd – basic operations and concepts. stop, start, status, enable;

  • SSH. Basic principles;

  • User administration: useradd, etc.

  • file access attributes (unix perms);

  • Debian distribution. Using the package manager: install, remove, update;

  • The real program is the nginx web server;

  • bash automation scripts;

  • Сron and at;

  • Troubleshooting.

At the end of the first module, we had to take an intermediate exam, which tested everything we had to practice and learn in practice. As a result, 7 people out of 9 passed it, two did not pass further and completed their studies.

The second module

It lasted a little less than the first – only 9 classes of three hours each. There was already more practice here, you need to dive deeper into the topics. In general, it was very interesting, although sometimes it was not easy: classes were held in the evenings on weekdays, and no one canceled studies at the institute.

Here is a list of topics:

  • Debian installation;

  • system loading process;

  • SELinux;

  • Management of file systems, LVM;

  • Installation and administration of applications: nginx, postfix, dovecot, 389ds, keepalived;

  • Databases, SQL, PostgreSQL;

  • Virtualization, KVM;

  • Containerization, Docker;

  • Configuration management systems, Ansible.

“Obviously, after all stages of selection, only purposeful students got into the program. And, most importantly, the boys managed to maintain a serious mood throughout the entire journey, from the start to the final exam. The high desire for knowledge is confirmed by the fact that most of the interns continued to study at universities and came to courses at MyOffice after three or four pairs. And this is not the first time that two interns took part in the MoiOffice practical courses: in August 2022, 6 students from the IBAS department of Samara University underwent a summer internship at the company, where they received basic skills in learning neural networks.” notes Yuliya Vybornova, associate professor of the Department of Geoinformatics and Information Security of Samara University.

The results

After two modules, it was necessary to pass a rather serious exam, which included both theory and practice. It included the creation of a portfolio that included all completed assignments for the second module, as well as an additional exam assignment that included configuring a virtual machine using the Ansible configuration management system. The best students – they were determined by the score obtained on the exam – received offers and were enrolled in the MoiOffice staff. So after this program, I got a position as an implementation and support systems engineer and have been in that position for a year now.

It is very cool that today companies offer students such opportunities: of course, the base provided at the institute is necessary and important (without it I would not have gotten this internship), but it is work in real conditions that is of key importance. You will say that you can take online courses in the specialties you are interested in, but they are often quite narrow and do not always cover all topics. The MoiOffice program helped me understand how to apply the knowledge I have, and now I can call myself a professional practitioner. Of course, I have room to grow — and I plan to do so at the company that gave me such a great start!

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