Mentoring Program


I run a very small mentoring program. The format has been evolving over time. The program is intended to be very difficult, but fulfilling. Some information about the program can be found on this page.

I currently offer two streams, each with a different specialization:

  • Stream A: Software Engineering & Programming

  • Stream B: Systems Administration & DevOps

I started this program because I was disappointed with the quality of many new hackers these days, and in particular the shift away from strong basic skills. I wanted to give something back in return for everyone who helped point me in the right direction over the years.

The program is intended for those who are already fairly familiar with basic computering, but which are interested in becoming more proficient (ethical) hackers.

The program is highly opinionated and biased towards open technologies and Free Software. The program is a guided exploration that will also help you to become a better autodidact. This is an essential skill if you want to work on modern, high-end technologies.

The course begins by getting you up to speed with the basic GNU+Linux technology stack, IRC and Freenode, git, bash, and a bunch of other goodies. Over time you’ll progress into more novel and difficult challenges and topics. Both streams will include programming. If you’ve never done a single line of programming in any language, or don’t ever want to do any, then this program might not be for you.

You’ll require a computer to complete this program. You’ll need hardware that is at least as new as an X220, and preferably something less than five years old. You’ll need to be able to erase it completely, so make sure your data is backed up elsewhere. You’ll need routine access to the internet in order to participate in the program.

The program runs at your own pace, but requires a weekly time commitment. You must decide the number of hours you will put into the program every week. You may select between one and 168, but whatever you choose, it must not decrease. You may however increase your commitment at any time. If you don’t fulfill your weekly commitment, you are out of the program. Make sure not to overestimate your available time commitment. There are no exceptions given for vacations, sick days, scheduled exams, personal emergencies, etc…

The program is available to any person worldwide, however there is a preference given to humans in one or more of the following categories:

  • residents of Montreal, Canada (my hometown)
  • residents of Canada (outside of Montreal)
  • residents of a country which offers universal health care (because it’s not fair for me to take away energy and focus from protecting your health and improving your own country when it so desperately needs to get its priorities straight)
  • humans from a marginalized group

You must pay a fee to join the program. I initially offered the program freely, but I found it made it too easy to join and then leave without any repercussions. This is meant to filter out participants that aren’t truly committed. The fee depends on your individual circumstances. It might be $100, $10,000, more, or even less.

During the program you’ll get hands-on experiences writing patches for one of my Free Software projects. You will learn a great deal during the patch review process, and the time spent on your contributions helps offset the cost of my time training you.

As this is a personal endeavour, I might discontinue the program and I reserve the right to kick you out of the program at any time. Hopefully this doesn’t happen, but I can’t offer a guarantee otherwise.

The opportunity is available to anyone without regard to their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, marital status or citizenship.

If you’re interested and you’d like to join, please contact me and tell me why you think you’d be a good candidate to join. The opportunities are only available for candidates who are honest, hard-working, dependable and nice.

Happy hacking, Happy learning,

James

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