How to Learn Linux: Everything You Need to Know

How to Learn Linux

Linux is an open-source operating system that is a preferred choice for many programmers due to its highly versatile and customizable nature. This guide will give you an introduction to how to learn Linux as well as give a sneak peek of what we cover in our full online Linux courses.

Why Should You Learn Linux?

While average consumers are familiar with Windows and macOS, Linux is the go-to operating system for IT professionals due to its lightweight, fast, and reliable nature. Plus, since it’s open source, you can modify it to your liking. As such, you can use Linux as a base to create an entirely custom OS with improved security over other systems.

Linux also has a wide range of applications outside of the IT sector. For starters, Android smartphones, which have an 87% market share of all smartphones, run on a Linux-based platform.

Plenty of other devices also rely on Linux. Today, it helps run hardware like smartwatches, TVs, vehicle dashboards, and refrigerators, among other devices. In other words, knowing Linux can lead to many opportunities in the tech and IT industries.

Essentially, Linux is a very in-demand open source skill (Top 2 skill according to The Linux Foundations 10th Annual Jobs Report) that will greatly improve your ability to advance and secure new career opportunities in the DevOps industry.

How to Learn Linux: Understanding the Basics

To put it very simply, here are the steps to learning Linux:

  1. Find solid resources and learning matieral
  2. Learn and practice the basics
  3. Spend time exploring the OS
  4. Start a project and put your knowledge into practice
  5. Keep practicing to refine your skills and learn more

KodeKloud has you covered with our extensive library of resources to help you learn linux, so let’s talk about the basics.

First, understanding the basics of Linux gives you a solid foundation for everything you need in an IT career. From there, you can become a skilled practitioner and work in any environment.

Want to learn Linux’s basic concepts? Check out our video.

Linux Structure and Architecture

You can sum up Linux architecture by these primary components: the Kernel, System Libraries, System Utilities Programs, Hardware Layer, and Shell.

  1. Kernel: The kernel handles the operating system’s primary functions. On top of that, it’s responsible for any communication between the user and hardware.
  2. System Libraries: These are pre-compiled blocks of code that perform special functions and don’t require access rights to kernel modules. Instead of writing new code, you can reuse library functions throughout a program.
  3. System Utilities Programs: These programs perform specialized and individual functions within Linux.
  4. Hardware Layer: This layer refers to peripheral devices in a Linux environment like CPU, HDD, and RAM. Hardware requires the kernel to communicate with users.
  5. Shell: The shell is an interface between the kernel and the user. It interprets the user’s commands and sends them to the OS to perform them.

All other parts within Linux architecture can be categorized within one of these five components.

Basic File Navigation in Linux

Once you’ve acquainted yourself with the architecture, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the Linux file system. In the following examples, the lines are numbered for convenience, and the $ represents the Linux command prompt, not something you need to type.


pwd (Print Working Directory) shows where you currently are in the directory (like a file location).

$ pwd

On top of that, you have these other arguments which specify your navigation commands:

  • ~ (tilde): refers to the user’s home directory
  • . (dot): the current directory you’re in
  • .. (dot dot): the parent directory of the current one you’re in
  • - (dash): refers to the most recent directory you were in


cd (change directory) is self-explanatory. It allows you to change your current file location.

$ pwd

$ cd ..
$ pwd

Typing cd without any arguments brings you to the home directory.


The ls (list files) function displays all the file names within a given directory. You can specify the directory like in the example below. Otherwise, it’ll default to your current location if you run the command without arguments.

$ ls ~/downloads
How File Permissions Work in Linux

Every file and directory in a Linux system has defined permissions and owners. Permissions describe which users can access or modify the file.

In a Linux OS, you can find three types of permissions:

  • Read: Users can read the file and directory
  • Write: Users can modify a directory’s files or write new files
  • Execute: Users can access and run the file

You can change a file’s owner by using the chown command. Similarly, you can change permissions by typing the chmod command.

Additional Resources for Learning Linux

If you’re ready to move beyond the fundamentals of Linux, you can take a look at these other free guides we’ve created:

Master Linux with KodeKloud!Working with Linux is an incredibly valuable skill that can open up new pathways. You can discover how to learn Linux with guided courses from KodeKloud. Sign up for KodeKloud today to learn the basics of Linux and other systems.