In 2017, Sydney Dykstra was a recent high school graduate who had been contributing to several open source projects, including the game The Secret Chronicles of Dr. M. and Supertux. His goal at the time was to become a Linux systems administrator, which led him to apply for, and be awarded, a Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarship in the Teens-in-Training category to increase his experience with open source technologies.
We followed up with Sydney 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?
Sydney Dykstra: As I had already successfully completed LFS101 Introduction to Linux, I opted to use my scholarship to take the next step with LFS201 Essentials of Linux System Administration.
LF: What was the most useful thing you learned through this training?
SD: I believe one of the largest benefits from taking the course was just having the structured training. There is so much info on the internet about how to understand and use GNU/Linux systems and applications, but it is scattered all over and a lot of the info is outdated. To have a course that thoroughly and sequentially explains things, building on itself as well as being up to date, is a relief. The course also provided a good amount of hands-on experience, which I believe is something that lacks in a lot of other courses.
LF: Have you shared the knowledge you gained with others? How so?
SD: As for sharing what I have learned, it has been super helpful with the open source projects being able to share and critique ideas and techniques that the course has taught me, as well as having underlying knowledge to build off of. One of my mottos is that ‘A great volunteer starts with being well trained’. While it is not the whole picture of volunteering, I do believe that for a volunteer to feel confident and do consistent quality work (and not just in system administration, but almost any field), they have to understand exactly what and the why behind the way they do something.
LF: Are you contributing to any open source projects? Which ones?
SD: Currently the main open source project that I’m actively contributing to is The Secret Chronicles Of Dr. M. (www.secretchronicles.org), where I co-maintain the server which hosts most of the infrastructure for the project. I also now host and maintain a couple of personal websites for friends, as well as my own website. I have really been able to use a lot of the training on the server that I maintain for my family’s business, running Zoneminder for about 10 security cameras, apt-cacher, Owncloud and maintaining network wide backups among some other other things.
2020 LiFT scholarship winners were announced in late June. 2021 applications will be available in the Spring.