This article was made available through the courtesy of Linux For You (www.linuxforu.com) -- Asia's First Linux Magazine.
Linux Certification The Right Choice?
If you have Linux
experience,it is good.In addition,if you have a Linux certification it is even
better.For an insight into the world of certifications and their advantages,read
For a long time now, news is on IT job cuts and low demand of IT professionals
in the country and abroad as well. But if you have decided on making IT your
career, chances are that you will never be without a job for long. The IT
industry is undoubtedly the fastest growing sector of employment.
For the one
wishing to get into IT, Linux provides an area of opportunities. Linux is no
longer of interest only to hackers and the open-source community. Today, there
are more Web servers running on Linux than on any other operating system.
According to a study done recently, more than 75 per cent of the Fortune 500
companies have already deployed Linux or are considering to do so in near
With this booming Linux deployment, comes increased demand for
professionals who are conversant with Linux technology. This includes users,
administrators, programmers, as well as buyers of Linux systems.
A recognised Linux certification provides a tangible way to show
prowess in the operating system. Many job postings have started quoting Linux
Certified Professional in recruitment advertisements.
If Linux is to be widely
accepted into the computing mainstream, I believe a certification programme is
essential. But I would like to state clearly that I do not believe a
certification programme could ever replace experience in the hiring process.
However, a certification program is ultimately a tool, primarily for marketing
While Certification by itself does not make you a recognised
Linux Guru, it provides a great start towards that goal.
an organisational path for students: People who want to learn about Linux, may
read a book on Linux, while others find greater benefit in instructor-led
classes. But what books? What classes? The certification programme gives the
answer to the question where do I begin?
Certification creates industry
recognition: Many software and application vendors have spent millions of
dollars convincing the IT industry of the value of certification. People,
especially managers, perceive that there is value and importance in
certification. A Linux certification programme will allow those who value
certification to see that Linux has emerged as a viable option.
no-support argument: Linux opponents are quick to slam Linux for a perceived
lack of support. Linux community understands the truth... about the support
from newsgroups and mailing lists. But corporate managers are looking for ways
to support IT products. New programs from various Linux distributors allow
corporations to purchase support contracts, certainly one great step in this
direction. But the existence of certified individuals is another. A pool of
Linux-certified professionals would counter this argument. Organisations would
like to employ certified professionals to ensure optimum utilisation of
Certification turns students into advocates: If students learn all
about Linux: how to install, configure and use the operating system, they will
then become advocates for Linux as they move within the IT industry. This is
both due to the knowledge learned during the course of preparing for
certification... and also due to the fact that since a certification candidate
has invested a serious amount of time, energy and money into the product, they
want to use that actual product. People recommend what they know. We need them
to know Linux!
Certification provides an organisational mechanism for training
centers: Training centers offer various certification programmes and play a key role in developing skilled manpower. If training
centers want to teach Linux, how do they begin offering classes? A certification
program allows a training center to provide a path for training that can
generate good business and a healthy competition. Further, a Linux certification
program will help promote the overall growth of the Linux operating system
through the training programme.
If you're an IT professional working with Linux,
you have a handful of options if you want a certification, and the vendors are
jockeying for the position as the dominant product.
There is a cottage industry
of Linux training companies, which have grown around the certifications. Users
can choose among a distribution-specific hands-on training and certification
program (Red Hat), a test-and-training combo (Sair Linux and GNU Certification),
or a community-driven test where you choose your own training (Linux
Let s look at some of the options:
CompTIA Linux+: This is an entry-level, vendor-neutral certification intended to
demonstrate foundation level proficiency with the Linux operating system. Earning it,
requires passing a single exam covering seven domains: planning &
implementation; installation; configuration; administration; system maintenance;
troubleshooting; and identifying, installing, and maintaining system hardware.
The exam is in multiple-choice format and consists of 95 questions. It s
available through Prometric and VUE testing centers.
Linux Professional Institute Certified (LPIC):
The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) is a
non-profit organisation formed specifically for the purpose of creating a
vendor-neutral certification programme for Linux. The group began organising in
late 1998 and officially incorporated on Oct. 25, 1999. The first exams became
available in October 2000.
The LPIC programme is designed to offer three
certifications signifying increasing skill level, with each
requiring two exams. The first two
tiers are fully operational; level 3 is yet to be developed. The two exams
required for Level 1 certification are titled General Linux I and General Linux
II. They cover topics such as: GNU and UNIX commands; devices; Linux file
systems; boot, initialisation, shutdown, and run levels; documentation;
installation and package management; hardware and architecture; and additional
subjects. At Level 2 (again, two exams) candidates will be queried on advanced
administration and networking topics, including how to track and solve problems,
kernel administration, mail and news services, among other subjects.
Sair Linux/GNU Certified (LCP/LCA/LCE/ MLCE): Sair (pronounced zair) is an acronym
for Software Architecture Implementation and Realisation. Sair Inc. started out
in 1992 as a software development firm, only turning its attention to building a
Linux certification programme in 1999. As in a familiar dot-com story, Sair was
acquired by Wave Technologies, which was in turn acquired by Thomson Learning,
which is the current owner/operator of the Sair certification programme.
Sair certification was originally created with three levels: Linux/GNU Certified
Administrator (LCA), Linux/GNU Certified Engineer (LCE), and Master Linux/GNU
Certified Engineer (MLCE), each requiring passage of four exams. The original
design was cleanly organised around four system usage areas (thus four exams at
each level): Linux installation; network connectivity; system administration;
and security, ethics, and privacy.
Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE): Red Hat
Inc. has been a favourite in the Linux marketplace virtually since its
inception. It s also a leader in the world of Linux certification. The first
RHCE exam was administered in February 1999, when the vendor-neutral Linux
certification vendors were just getting organised.
To date more than
5,000 people have earned the RHCE title. While not an astounding number, but to
appear for the exams, candidates must travel to a Red Hat testing center.
the other certification vendors, Red Hat doesn't offer an entry-level option.
There is only one exam, aimed at intermediate to advanced users of the Red Hat
distribution of Linux. The exam is a three-part affair that includes a written
test (1 hour); a server install and network services configuration lab (2.5
hours); and a diagnostics and troubleshooting lab (2.5 hours).
The exam covers
installing and configuring Red Hat Linux; understanding limitations of hardware;
configuring basic networking and file systems; configuring the X Windowing
System; basic security, common network (IP) services, basic diagnostics and
troubleshooting, and Red Hat Linux system administration.
CHOOSING A CERTIFICATION
As you decide which Linux certification to pursue, consider the
skill level you ultimately wish to have, as well as your current abilities. It
may be necessary to hop from one certification programme to another to meet your
long-term goals. Neither of the multi-level programmes has their advanced
certifications up nor running yet. This doesn t reflect lack of progress, but
rather a shortage of people who have yet to acquire lower-level certifications.
Linux, as a technology, has matured much faster in its development than any
other technology or operating system. It has changed the information technology
landscape for good. In such a scenario, certification will always play a very
vital role in the selection criteria of IT professionals for organisations.
Given the opportunity in today s industry, Experience with Certification
adds weight to being selected. certification
This article was written by Shankar Iyer, Head Training, Red Hat India.