I have worked in the web hosting industry for over five years. During this time, I have been involved in Linux-based technical support, customer service, management and sales. Over the span of this time, I have gained a great deal of knowledge with Linux systems, but never had the time to put it to use. In comes chapter 2 of this new life; re-creating my career.
When I first started working at A2 Hosting back in early 2012, my only experience with Linux was not so great. My co-worker Ross approached me one day with a CD and asked me to check this out. It was Ubuntu. I don’t remember the exact version, though based on the release dates and when I worked there, it had to be 6. He told me it was an alternative to Windows that was awesome, and that I could install it like I would Windows; even do it alongside Windows. So, I thought I would try it out. Back then, my interest in technology was web design and development. That night, I took the CD home, put it into my PC and began my first experience with Linux.
48 hours later, I finished re-formatting Windows back on it. I botched the installation of Linux, overwrote my entire drive, and lost everything. This was back before I was mindful about backups, so I had none. I threw the Ubuntu CD away and didn’t think twice. I didn’t consider anything but Windows, or even consider what the possibilities were to learn more at that time. It also wasn’t the greatest time in my life, so motivation was minimal.
Fast forward to early 2012 and I am unemployed and looking to cancel my current web hosting plan, which was at A2 Hosting. After cancelling, I decided to send in my resume for kicks. I didn’t have the experience with Linux, but I had the customer service and web hosting experience; I could navigate a cPanel well. Surprisingly, I received a call a couple days later, an interview a few days after that and found myself employed by the first week of February.
Within my first two weeks, I learned so much about Linux. From distributions to using the command line, I was absolutely infatuated with everything about it. I began installing distros on an extra laptop of mine just to learn more. Setting up server environments on a Virtual Box instance just to break things and try to fix it. It was awesome and I pictured things skyrocketing forward from there.
Well, when you work forty hours a week and spend the rest of your time playing around on the computer trying to learn more, you make little time for your family. Now, my Wife and I had 3 boys and a newborn daughter. While my Wife understood my desire to learn more so I could eventually have the career we needed to handle a house of six, she also needed her Husband and Dad to be more present. This lead to some arguments about how my time was being handled, which lead to me spending less time learning.
Over the course of the next four years, my desire to learn more was non-existent. Not only was I working in Sales and rarely involved in the technical aspect of the job enough to keep interest, but my marriage was on the rocks to the point where I had zero support for spending any time on it. It was just easier to not do anything at all.
So, here I am today, in this new life as a single Dad still working in the web hosting industry. I am also about 12-18 months from the last time I put in real effort from learning something new. I have struggled with understanding what I want to do with my life, and if it was the right choice. So how did I make this choice? Every time I read new features of a latest version of a Linux distro, I got excited. When I think about using python or bash to program an application, I get excited. When I think about learning ethical hacking, I feel like Mr. Robot (minus the illegal activity, of course). I am anxious and excited to get back into learning new things, breaking things and more importantly, fixing things.