We interviewed our student Ray Gumti, Systems Engineer at Private VFX, on August 1, 2018, to learn more about his journey in the IT industry. He started as a File Clerk at a small medical office, learned Linux online with Linux Academy and passed the Linux Essentials exam, got promoted after that to Junior Systems Engineer, and then promoted again to Systems Engineer! Ray’s career has been driven by his passion for Linux and is so strong that he surrounded himself with a Linux-friendly working environment before he even started online courses with Linux Academy. Here’s more details about how he got to where he is today:
Hey Ray! Thanks for taking the time to speak with us! We want to get to know more about you, your journey with Linux Academy and through your career, so let’s get started! What do you like to do for fun?
I like to try out new Linux tutorials and practice the things I learn at work. As a rule, I try my best not to have to ask how to do something more than two times. I also like to spend time with my girlfriend, try new foods, and I have an Instagram account called @frescoeats that I run (documenting all of our food adventures).
That’s so cool, definitely going to have to check out Fresco Eats! So, how would your close friends and family describe you?
They would say I’m someone who puts a smile on everyone’s faces, and I’m really just a people person.
How did you first get involved with the cloud?
I was working for a small medical office as a File Clerk/Help Desk Tech, and I wasn’t really in love with the job. But I did realize I loved Linux. After some time, I got a job as a Tech Systems Runner at a visual effects post house. I was responsible for moving machines around, troubleshooting mouse/keyboard issues and minor tasks. It may not seem appealing, but it was to me because it was a 90% Linux office!
So you realized you loved Linux – when did you start studying with Linux Academy?
I started studying with LA back in 2014 and started with the Linux Essentials course.
How long did it take you to go through the Linux Essentials course and pass the exam?
It took me about a month to get through the course, and then about a week to do the videos, labs, and tests, and to go back over everything. I passed the exam on the first go, and then shortly after passing, I was promoted to a Junior Systems Engineer role.
Wow, congrats on the promotion! So passing the Linux Essentials exam led you to getting a promotion?
It contributed to it, yes! Finally, I am spinning up servers on VMware, working with git, updating yamls in puppet and putting smiles on everyone’s faces from behind my custom keycap coolermaster mech keyboard.
I also took the AWS Certified Solutions Architect course and passed the exam! Once I showed this to my boss and mentor they were quite proud. Soon after this, I was promoted again to Systems Engineer (2 promotions in 2 years #notbad). Now that I was actually certified, most of the AWS cloud work that happens runs through little ol’ me before it goes live! I love it all. Fast forward to two months later and I am now taking all the AWS courses during my lunch break (when you rest you rust 😉) and my boss pulls up a chair and says “Hey, are you interested in AWS?” To which I responded, “Yes, moving to the cloud is the future and we need to be prepared.” He smiled and nodded, then said: “Ray, there is a lot of push to move to the cloud for rendering. When you’re comfortable enough would you like to head the project?” I was in awe, and responded, “Definitely!” The little File Clerk with a passion for Linux is now moving an office’s render farm to the cloud. I owe it all to Linux Academy. Personally, I never thought I’d make it this far and now I can’t wait for what’s next!
Two promotions in 2 years is impressive! So, what made you choose Linux Academy over other learning platforms?
Using Linux Academy is easy and really makes learning fun. I love the fact that they have nuggets/tutorials and learning plans to help you stay on track. Some of the other learning platforms are just someone speaking in monotone without any labs, which left me sleepy. I love the fact that I can download the courses and watch them on the train. As a New Yorker, I spend a good amount of time on the train daily, so it’s great that I can have the classes on the go.
What were your goals when you started training with LA?
I really just wanted to play around and start learning everything. I felt like a wild horse released from the stable, the world was my oyster at that point. It was everything I wanted to do in one amazing platform. Soon I tailored my studies to things that I would use for work or exams that had learning plans.
What were some hurdles and challenges you faced during your studies?
For me, it was just balancing everything and making sure I had the time to put in for it.
Is there anything you’d do differently looking back?
I would have started sooner! And maybe I would have gone to school for Linux.
What advice would you give to a new student at LA?
Just enjoy it! The tools you will gain from LA will shape your skills and career.
What are your goals for the next year? 5 years?
I want to get more certs and really just solidify my skills. You know, start learning Azure, Google, make my company’s cloud agnostic, and maybe get the developers cert for AWS.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your journey with us! Is there anything else you would like to share or any final thoughts?
I owe it all to Linux Academy (and my girlfriend for pushing me to follow my dreams). Personally, I never thought I’d make it this far. I’m picking up the engagement ring for my girlfriend next week, and I’m just really happy about all of the opportunities I’ve had from learning at LA!
Something especially exciting has happened in Ray’s life since we spoke a couple of weeks ago! I opened up my email yesterday morning to a wonderful surprise from him – “SHE SAID YES!!!!!” Wishing Ray and his bride-to-be a lifetime of love and happiness.