Linux System Administrator

Grinnell, Iowa
May 01, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Grinnell College has operated a GNU/Linux local area network, MathLAN, for academic use since 1987. Built around the emerging Computer Science curriculum and to make computer resources readily available to students, MathLAN was designed to offer a homogeneous user experience across all network devices and facilitate interactive use of computer software as part of classes. While the primary users of MathLAN reside in the Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics departments, it is intended to be as a resource for the College community in general.

Today, MathLAN continues to serve a vital role in the learning and research mission of the College, and consists of approximately 200 workstations and network-connected devices running Debian GNU/Linux. Core system services are localized on dedicated MathLAN servers.

The creation of this new Linux Systems Administrator position signifies a change in approach to the support of Linux systems on campus, and an intention to expand the availability of Linux-based expertise even further across the campus. Accordingly, the incumbent will be involved in two ‘phases’ of administration: first, assuming the current roles and function of MathLAN; and then playing a primary role in the thoughtful assessment, consultation, design, implementation, and ultimately ongoing management of the College’s Linux capabilities and network.

A member of the Information Technology Services (ITS) Network Services team, the Linux System Administrator will have primary responsibility for the design, implementation, operational support, maintenance, and ongoing enhancement of a campus-wide Linux environment. The incumbent will also have responsibilities for guiding and assisting, as appropriate, additional Linux-based technologies such as those used in the College’s expanding high performance computing cluster, the Libraries, and other standalone servers in departments, centers, and by individual faculty for their specialized research.

A functioning production Linux environment is critical to the learning experience of students and so the Linux System Administrator will need to work closely and collaboratively with faculty in particular. The incumbent will provide support and expert consultation for, and often leading, projects related to teaching or research that would require the development of IT systems for positive academic outcomes.

Minimum Requirements

A Bachelor’s degree and three years of experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.

  • Demonstrated experience operating and supporting Linux servers and workstations in a production environment
  • Understanding of server virtualization technologies
  • Understanding of network management technologies including Domain Name Service, Network Information Service, Network File Systems, Network Time Protocol and Web servers
  • Aptitude and interest in researching new technologies, processes, and solutions

Preferred Requirements

  • Extensive experience with Debian GNU/Linux
  • Extensive experience with system administration in higher education particularly working closely and collaboratively with faculty
  • Extensive experience with security best practices for Linux operating systems
  • Experience with Linux server management tools; Puppet, Chef, Ansible
  • Experience with server virtualization technologies preferably VMware
  • Experience with installing and configuring LAMP
  • Experience with Windows server management
  • 5+ years of systems administration experience specific to Linux