Success Story: Linux Kernel Training and Certification Helps Graduate Succeed in Startup Career

By August 19, 2020Announcements

In 2015, Yashdeep Saini was getting ready to graduate from NMIMS University Mumbai. Yashdeep had a particular interest in cybersecurity, and had recently started playing with ELF headers to understand the working of loaders and memory organization needed for Linux. His goal was to become a kernel developer, so he applied for and was awarded a Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarship in the Developer Do-Gooder category.

We followed up with Yashdeep 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?

Yashdeep Saini: I opted for LFD420 Linux Kernel Internals and Debugging for training, along with the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer exam.

LF: What was the best/most useful thing you learned through this training?

YS: As I got this scholarship during the final year of my bachelors, it helped me shape my decisions towards the work I wanted to do. LFCE and LFD420 were both great eye candy for recruiters. In my first role at a startup, LFCE played out more for me than LFD420, as I got the chance to be on the Product Engineering team thanks to the knowledge I had gained of the sysadmin role.

I was easily able to pick up new tasks under DevOps roles as well, working with a team to enable them with pipelines for CI/CD and also architecting the solutions for those end products.

Moving towards an information security role at the same place gave me a chance to brush up my knowledge on LFD420 as well, as many proofs-of-concept and reporting for vulnerabilities involved issues around “use of known vulnerable components” as per the OWASP security guidelines, and the role required detailed reporting on some Linux Kernel exploits regularly.

LF: Has your job changed since receiving the scholarship? What did you do before, and what are you doing now?

YS: When I got my scholarship it was my final year and due to these strong certifications I did land an offer from RedHat India, but I opted to work for a startup in the information security domain. After spending 2 years with that team, I attended IIIT-Hyderabad (International Institute of Information Technology – Hyderabad, Telangana) and recently achieved my M.Tech in CSE + Information Security. I am also excited to have been offered a role in SDE at the Samsung Research Institute in Bangalore.

LF: Have you shared the knowledge you gained with others? How so?

YS: I did sometimes speak at or host local meetups when I was working in 2016-18. While pursuing my masters, I had a chance for more academic as well as professional engagements with students and working professionals who undertake part-time courses. I was a Teaching Assistant for an Operating Systems course and a Systems and Network Security course, each of which had 2-3 strong components based around Linux. In these teaching engagements, the knowledge I gained in LFD420 was of great impact, helping me guide students through concepts such as the internal workings of systems and native applications and their interaction with the Linux kernel. When it comes to concepts ranging from a developer’s point of view to something focused on information security – be it tuning the network stack for an application or understanding memory protection mechanisms in the Linux Kernel – LFD420 gave me an overall edge as an instructor.

LF: Are you contributing to any open source projects? Which ones?

YS: I have just recently started fiddling around with Intel’s CVE-bin-tool project. I did get the chance to work on it during the summer of 2019 but since it’s redesign by another GSOC fellow, it’s testing  and project structure is new for me, so I’ll have to dig back in.

2020 LiFT scholarship winners were announced in late June. 2021 applications will be available in the Spring.

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