I stumbled upon Slackware Linux in 1995, while on my quest for a free UNIX-like operating system. After a few weeks of struggle, while trying to install the OS on my home computer (which was a self-assembled Intel '386 based clone of the IBM-PC) and eventually making it work, my perception of software development changed forever. I was intrigued by the overwhelming amount of code that created a functional yet fully hackable operating environment.
The entire software stack was available with source code freely to anyone who can review, modify, and redistribute them without constraints. I realized the significance of the GNU project and various other open-source software projects as they strive to protect and empower the concept of knowledge freedom.
Since 1997, I have been on a pedestal of continued exploration, learning, and applying my skills in the vast ecosystem of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS for short). The GNU/Linux environment exposed me to a whole new world, where ideas and code can be exchanged freely by professionals, enthusiasts, and hobbyists, without being constrained by boundaries of race, culture, and geography.
During these early years, I hacked on Linux kernel, bash, sed, awk, Perl, Tcl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and various other software tools without knowing that someday, I would be leading my career in the FOSS ecosystem. Ever since my first encounter with the GNU/Linux environment, I have been mentoring others on concepts and technologies that revolve around core ideas of knowledge freedom that have always fascinated me.
In my few years of exposure to FOSS, my technical knowledge and skills widened into areas that included - kernel internals, device driver development, systems programming, database design/development/administration, systems administration, systems security, web development, various programming and scripting languages. In the year 2003, I transitioned from being a software developer to a freelance consultant and corporate trainer.
Since 2003, I worked as a freelance consultant with various organizations on short-term projects that involved Free/Open Source Software. This experience refined my knowledge and thought-process in implementing solutions using FOSS. I also delivered corporate training programs for niche technology topics on FOSS between freelance consulting engagements. My experience in freelance consulting also helped me in sharing more real-world problem-statements and examples as part of my training programs.
From 2007 onwards, I further transitioned to becoming a full-time corporate trainer due to the immense demand for training requirements on the FOSS-related technology domain. Since then, I have delivered corporate training programs to various top tech organizations on Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP, Linux Kernel Internals and Device Drivers, FreeBSD Internals and System Programming, Tcl/Tk, C Programming, Clojure, Java, Scala, Rust, Go, Rails, Apache Web Server Administration, Git, Linux Administration, Database design/development/administration using PostgreSQL/MySQL/MariaDB/MongoDB/InfluxDB, Redis, RabbitMQ, Linux Security, Data Analytics using Pandas/Agate, Applied Machine Learning using Scikit-Learn, PyTorch and TensorFlow, Software Design Principles (Design Patterns, SOLID, GRASP, DRY, KISS, YAGNI) and Agile Software Methodologies.
I have been an active volunteer in various online forums, user groups, and communities related to Linux, Python, and other open-source projects. I have participated in many events promoting software freedom and evangelizing the core ideas of knowledge freedom embodied within Free and Open Source Software. I have also volunteered in a couple of FOSS events in the real world when I could spare time amid my busy corporate training schedule - thanks to the support from various user groups. I have delivered talks on software freedom, career guidance for next-generation technologists and software engineers, tech-talks on Linux, Python, and UNIX concepts at educational universities, Linux user groups, FOSS tech-events.
During my spare time and weekends, I have conducted open-house training sessions for students, enthusiasts, and professionals on various topics related to Linux administration and scripting languages. The training programs focussed more on bridging the gap between academic background and tech industry's skill set requirements. As part of these training sessions, I guide students on good software development practices that include - Agile and Adaptive methodologies, testing and continuous integration, software versioning, team-work, good coding practices, and code review.
I have always cherished playing a small yet vital part in grooming technology skills to many young engineers, guiding them towards opportunities in the FOSS ecosystem and eventually leading them to successful career growth. I believe that the ultimate satisfaction in one's career lies not merely in gaining self-growth, but also in using the knowledge and experience to inspire, motivate, and guide others deserving of cherishing their career ambitions to rise higher than self.