Why Should I Get A Linux Certification?
Well, the first question you might have is why should you get a Linux certification? The answer to this is similar to getting certifications in general. It helps to prove your knowledge in the Linux operating system, by testing and passing a minimum standard of knowledge
It can also help you get a job in the industry. Many jobs require or prefer a certification in Linux, such as Linux administrators or general server administrators. It can also add to your existing Linux knowledge, which you could apply to your current job.
Which Linux Certification Should I Get?
This could be an entire post on its own - but I'll include all the information here in one convenient place.
There are four main providers of Linux certifications, and they all offer a range of different certifications for different levels.
They offer a range of certifications, with labels of Engineer, Professional and Desktop Administrator.
- Certified Linux Engineer 11 (CLE11) - provides engineer-level skills for managers and architects on large systems based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11. You need to have passed the Certified Linux Professional 11 exam to be eligible for this.
- Certified Linux Administrator 11 (CLA 11) - a new certification, focusing on daily operation of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server networks.
- Certified Linux Desktop Administrator (CLDA) - focused on those with Windows desktop experience and wish to learn about SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.
- Certified Linux Professional 11 (CLP 11) - provides skills necessary to administrate SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
ComptTIA only provide a single Linux certification, the Linux+.
- Linux+ - an entry-level certification for those looking to get into the Linux field. Vendor neutral.
Linux Professional Institute
The Linux Professional Institute, otherwise known as LPI, offer a few Linux certifications.
- Linux Professional Institute Certification Level 1 (LPIC-1) - a junior level Linux certification that tests basic skills in major Linux distributions.
- Linux Professional Institute Certification Level 2 (LPIC-2) - an advanced level Linux certification that includes skills in administration. Passing the LPIC-1 is required for this.
- Linux Professional Institute Certification Level 3 (LPIC-3) - a senior-level Linux certification for major Linux distributions that offers several specialties. Passing the LPIC-2 is required for this.
Red Hat offer a few certifications for their distribution of Linux.
- Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) - a lower-level Linux certification that covers the basics of administration.
- Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) - more advanced Linux certification, aimed at experienced Linux professionals. Passing the RHCSA is a requirement for this certification.
- Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator (RHCVA) - focused on deploying virtual hosts in the Linux environment
- Red Hat Certified Security Specialist (RHCSS) - focused on security features and areas of Linux
- Red Hat Certified Datacentre Specialist (RHCDS) - focused on the requirements for administrating and supporting datacentre environments
- Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA) - the highest level of Red Hat certification, this focuses on expert topics of Linux administration and usage.
So, the answer to which Linux certification should you get?
It depends on your experience and requirements. There are several junior Linux certifications (Linux+, RHCSA, LPIC, CLE11) that could be useful if you're looking to start out.
More advanced certifications such as the RHCE, LPIC-2, CLA11 and CLP11 can be beneficial if you have more experience. If you're a senior professional in the Linux area, I'd look into the RHCA or the LPIC-3.
However, this article is focused on the Red Hat certifications, so we're going to look at how to get a Red Hat Linux certification in this article.
How To Get A Red Hat Linux Certification
The steps to getting a Red Hat Linux certification are fairly straight forward. I mean, the concept is simple, but actually doing the work and getting the certification can be tough, especially for the more advanced certifications.
The process you can follow is something like this:
- Determine which certification to get. This will come down to two things - which one you want, and which one you're eligible for. Have a look at the requirements and recommended experience for each of the certifications, and make a decision. Many of them are based on junior/intermediate/expert levels, and have prerequisite exams, which limits your choices. The Red Hat Certified System Administrator is a good place to start, if you're not sure.
- Determine the requirements. Confirm the requirements on the official website. This may include previous exams, years of experience, and certain knowledge. You should be eligible to sit the exam before attempting to study for it.
- Enroll in the course. Make an enrolment into the course, and set an exam date. Yes, do this before you even start studying. This will give you a deadline, and subconsciously motivate you to study more and get it done quicker. Without a set date, the study may just never happen.
- Study. Read the material, get familiar with the course work and the included topics. Take notes, practice, and learn.
- Sit the exam. Depending on the exam, it will be either a theory exam based on computers, or a live exam where you perform on a Linux machine.
- Pass. Knowing your material and getting the questions right will mean you pass the exam.
- Celebrate! Well done, you've passed the exam and earned a certification! All your hard work has paid off and now you're Red Hat Linux Certified!