What are Common Linux&Reg; Interview Questions?

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  • Written By: Vanessa Harvey
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2019
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Common Linux® interview questions include: "What are the specific distributions with which you have worked and how long have you worked with them?" "Have you worked with a server edition of Linux®?" "Have you ever installed Linux® and if so, what installation method did you use, and was that installation for a single machine or a network?" "Are you comfortable with working on the command line?" Finally, "do you hold any internationally recognized certifications in Linux® administration?"

Many factors influence the exact Linux® interview questions an applicant will be asked. Company size, the presence of or absence of a network, migration issues, end-user software choices and computing needs of the potential employer are among the factors that will determine the Linux® interview questions to which solid answers must be provided to increase one's chances of being offered employment or a freelance contract. Questions concerning experience with a specific distribution are asked because although all Linux® operating systems are based on the Linux® kernel and generally also on Richard Stallman's GNU tools, each distribution or "flavor" has some significant differences. Having worked with Linux® systems is not the same as having experience installing them, which is why inquiries about an applicant's knowledge of setup procedures might figure among Linux® interview questions. This is of particular importance to a new business that is establishing a network for the first time.


Almost all businesses, including some small home-based businesses, rely on a network instead of a single machine for computing needs. This is why Linux® interview questions often relate to networking. Being very comfortable with working on the command line is almost mandatory if one applies for an administrator position, because rarely can graphical user interface (GUI) tools be relied upon to fully take the place of the power of the command line. Employers also want to be sure that administrators and assistants to administrators are able to resolve technical issues during which GUI tools are broken, leaving only the command line. Familiarity with the command line also almost always ensures familiarity with the basic file structure tree, which is necessary for administrative duties such as software management.

If Linux® interview questions include inquiries about certifications, it is always to an applicant's advantage to inform a potential employer of his or her current credentials, particularly if certification is for the specific distribution used by the company. Some interview questions will be prompted by the distribution in question. For example, some systems use security-enhanced (SE) Linux®, but others do not. Applicants should not be surprised if a potential employer asks whether they are proficient programmers in the C/C++, Python or Hypertext Preprocessor programming languages. Writing and executing shell scripts, automating tasks and backup options for Linux® also might be the topic of some Linux® interview questions for a senior administrator position.


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