04 Dec

Master Spotlight: Thomas Ward

Meet Thomas Ward aka teward!

1) How did you first get started using Linux? What distros, software or resources did you use while learning?

. I first started using Linux when attending Carnegie Mellon University (before leaving for another University), back in 2009. They were heavily supportive of the UNIX based environment, as well as Windows and Apple. I first started with Ubuntu 9.04 on my own systems, while having access to Red Hat systems (without administrative privileges, unfortunately) at Carnegie Mellon.

2) While you were learning Linux, was there anybody (or group of people) who acted as a mentor to help you?

. The Ubuntu community at large helped me out with everything I had in terms of issues with Linux. As time progressed, and my skillset evolved, different Ubuntu teams began to pique my interest, and as I started contributing, their skilled members helped me improve on my own skills.

The Internet in general also needs some credit, most “how to do” something tutorials help to some extent.

3) What made you want to join Linux Padawan as a master? What do you hope to gain, personally or professionally, from your involvement?

. Initially, I was invited by one of the founding members of Linux Padawan, to act as a Master if time permitted, and to be a knowledge resource if I could not. I hope to gain additional sight as a helpful community member by my membership in Linux Padawan, even if I can’t actively mentor someone full-time.

I currently am working as the technical contact for the infrastructure that runs the LinuxPadawan site and functionality.  Yay, IT Systems Administration experience!

4) What did you learn most about being a padawan?

. I never was a padawan here. However, I can say that as someone who has received mentoring from others, it is important to note that you will always learn something from a mentor, even if it’s something simple.

5) How are you going to pass on mentoring? What projects will you help them get involved with?

6) Linux Padawan is still a relatively new project, but what has your experience been so far?

. I think Linux Padawan has a lot of benefits of helping individuals get started with Linux, and to get them interested into areas they’re already curious about. It’s a fascinating project, and it has a lot of potential, and will gain support from others over time and more and more mentors and padawans.

7) What do you hope to help your Padawans achieve during your mentoring of them?

. I currently do not have any Padawans, however my overall goal has been to share my knowledge, and help others expand their own by taking information from my own knowledge. This helps others to in turn learn and expand their knowledge, which is the whole point of being a mentor!

8) Outside of Linux Padawan, what projects or community are you involved in?

. I am currently a member of the Ubuntu Server Team, working primarily to keep the {{{nginx}}} packages maintained in Ubuntu. I also work with the Ubuntu Bug Squad, and Ubuntu Bug Control teams to help triage bugs.
. I also provide third-party package repositories for the {{{nginx}}} and {{{znc}}} packages in Ubuntu and Debian, making sure that people on older releases of those distributions have access to more recent patched software.
. I am also currently attending University for a degree in Security and Risk Analysis, focusing on Information and Cyber-Security, to further make myself more marketable to the world. I also work as a member of the IT staff at a private cyber-security firm.

9) What advice do you have for new users who are just starting off and want to learn more about Linux?

. This applies to everything, but… start with the basics. Ask questions to try and learn more, consult knowledge bases and documentation, and try and learn things on your own before asking for the answers. Also take baby-steps – don’t immediately jump into building kernels if you haven’t even mastered how to edit things on the command line or even how to use the command line, and don’t jump around outside your skillsets at first. If you’re starting out with Linux, you start at the basics and work your way out from there.
. And remember: ask questions if you have them – you learn more by getting answers from those that know what they’re doing, than doing nothing.

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