Open source careers: Six years from student to eLearning platform founder

Hi from Tola! I am an enthusiast of Linux and FOSS, which I use constantly in my work as system architect for server infrastructure. I am a System Engineer with six years of experience. My responsibilities encompass three of the most popular public cloud offerings: AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

Recently I took another major step by using open source software to build an eLearning portal called Masterdemy. This project has emerged naturally as the next stage of my career, because I love to work with computers and strongly believe in sharing knowledge.

First steps on my way to Linux: FOSS and the freedom it embodies

My story with Linux and Open Source started at the campus of Passerelles Numériques Cambodia (PNC), a French non-governmental organization.

In the first year there I started to learn about Linux, open source applications, and a lot of stuff more challenging and intriguing than just learning how to download software to install on Windows.

I was also fascinated by the actual history of Linux (for example, the relation between Unix and  Linux) and the FOSS movement. So fascinated that I wanted Linux and FOSS to be part of my life.

It was all about freedom, after all: the freedom to choose instances of operating systems and applications to run on virtual machines, for example. And, yes: it was also a lot of fun.

Linux at work: starting a career in Linux and FOSS

After I chose to focus on FOSS in college, I was able to become a Linux administrator at a Bank, System Administrator at Maxbit ISP, and then system engineer at EZECOM ISP. My Linux skills enabled meto deploy, automate, build, secure, and optimize solutions in ways that others could not.

I came to manage hundreds of Linux machines via virtualization, while maintaining and ensuring the infrastructure and core system of the networks, and monitoring uptime and high availability via open source resources. My tools included scripts in Bash, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, Nodejs, and other languages, Ansible  automation, Cacti, Netflow, Radius, Fully Automated Nagios (FAN), and more. Cool, isn’t it?

Becoming an entrepreneur thanks to Linux

From there, the further leap to programming was a quick and short one. My acquired knowledge and skills in the command line made it easy to understand many modern languages and the tools that facilitated their use.

Whatever I was learning, I knew that my operating system wouldn’t work against me.

So, six years later, here I am starting a new chapter in my line of work: about to launch my own eLearning platform developed with open source software.

A community inside the community

My work now, as an entrepreneur and as an LPI Partner, is to build a community that encourages people to use, contribute to, and evangelize the Open Source movement both in Cambodia and, spanning out from Cambodia, in the broader worldwide FOSS community.

Open source helps people to feel themselves organized about their lives and their view of the world, and that is satisfying in itself already. I could go on and on about the ways open source helps you build partnerships, connections, and friends in order to build and exchange ideas.

Giving open source a broader purpose can be a rewarding way of learning, teaching, and creating knowledge concerning just about any potential area we can imagine.

My goals in creating Masterdemy are to help students: 

  • Improve existing skills 
  • Meet people who are interested in similar things 
  • Find mentors and teach others 
  • Build public artifacts that help them grow reputations (and careers) 
  • Learn people skills 
  • Make empowering changes, even small ones

Masterdemy, I hope, will be in the end a way to nurture a better future for local communities and, from there, for the whole world.

LPI and the next chapters of my story

I was delighted by the outcome of the Linux Professional Institute LPI20 Birthday Contest. I was now in the position of having my credentials recognized, and, obviously, certified, by a globally recognized organization such as LPI.

And I wanted to give to my academy platform the same consistency. This is the reason why now Masterdemy is now an LPI Partner: to promote Linux and Open Source to people in my country. As everything in my career started with Linux, I want to create the same opportunity in Linux and open source to other people, providing them a chance to change their own lives.

Thank you for reading my history in this blog posting! Feel free to get in touch with me: I am always open to discussing new open source projects, creative ideas, or opportunities! 

About Tola Leng:

Tola is an avid technology enthusiast. He has done a lot of work with Linux and deployed open source software in the organizations for which he works. He spends his evenings contributing to open source projects, writing blog posts, and learning as much as he can. There are a lot of reasons why he really likes being part of the Linux and open source community. He is always open to discussing new open source projects, creative ideas, or opportunities! You can find him online on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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