In 2015, Erich Noriega had recently moved to Canada. He previously worked on the first Digital Government initiative in Mexico, using Linux for running load balancers, DNS Servers and the “under the hood” platform for the first Citizen Portal, gob.mx. After moving, he began working on a prototype for an embedded PI hardware and pressure and temperature sensors for his partner’s family’s maple syrup plantation. Erich knew that formal training would enable him to build a career in his adopted country, so he applied for and was awarded a Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarship in the SysAdmin Superstar category.
We followed up with Erich recently to hear what he’s been up to since completing his Linux Foundation training.
Linux Foundation: What training did you take with your scholarship?
Erich Noriega: I went for the Advanced Linux for System Administrators training, LFS230. [Editor’s note: this course has since be updated and renamed to Linux for System Engineers (LFS311)]
LF: What was the best/most useful thing you learned through this training?
EN: The content of the training was accurate and useful, and instructor Lee Elston was particularly specific on the nuances on how to achieve similar things with the different Linux flavours.
I guess for me the best part was to realize shortly into training that I was already a sysadmin, without the recognition for it. This was a huge confidence booster.
LF: Have you shared the knowledge you gained with others? How so?
EN: On a daily basis! More people should stop and think for a second how the power of collective effort has changed the world. Solutions like Linux and Kubernetes have shaped and shifted the world we live in, I like to believe for the better. When I was a junior engineer I wondered and daydreamed about changing the world; who would have said that a few years later IT would change it? Now that we’ve got lots of traction as an industry, it’s up to us to follow those trailblazers into new unknowns and into another batch of tectonic moves for a more sustainable future.
Think of how open source has shaped and changed the face of our domain forever. Even the classic zealously closed code enterprise scale solutions have evolved and embraced it.
Sharing is caring right? Sharing knowledge makes teams stronger and more efficient. To be humble and expose your soft spots and your lack of skills on specific topics but to show your eagerness to improve your toolbelt is inspiring. After a few cycles, trust is there, and next thing you know is that your team has become more efficient, your job more enjoyable and life more colourful.
LF: Has your job changed since receiving the scholarship? What did you do before, and what are you doing now?
EN: Absolutely. It feels like it was ages ago; I guess that happens when you’re having fun.
I went from being a consultant in a large multinational consulting firm to a DevOps wrangler/cloud architect in a software product company, then towards integration/cloud architect in the medical industry and a music AI startup, and finally now playing a principal architect role in a large university. So yes, people have noticed.
I have good relationships with my colleagues; every now and then they will learn that I was LiFT’ed (pun intended) and they change the way they perceive me. I am not the most extroverted guy in the world so more than once I’ve giggled nervously around this “sysadmin superstar” scholarship and encouraged them to apply.
This year’s offering from the Linux Foundation is particularly relevant, offering scholarships for 500 people from throughout the world is a huge opportunity for them to get proper training and being properly recognized for the value they bring to their own communities and to up their game to have the chance to make their ideas reality.
LF: Are you contributing to any open source projects? Which ones?
EN: Not as a contributor, but 70%-90% of the past 15 years I’ve been working with stacks based on open source solutions. The full pipeline to be able to build enterprise class solutions from code to production with open source has been one of the greatest pleasures, and the power of collective development humbles me every time.
2020 LiFT scholarship winners were announced in late June. 2021 applications will be available in the Spring.