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Linux Tutorial - Linux Basics - Other Resources - Linux Certification
  Other Resources ---- Working with the System  

Linux Certification

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 this article.

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 future.

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 and recruitment.

While Certification by itself does not make you a recognised Linux Guru, it provides a great start towards that goal.

Certifications provide 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.

Counter the 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 resources.

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 Professional Institute).

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.

Unlike 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.


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.

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User Comments:

Posted by 55musician on August 26, 2014 11:14pm:

Very interesting. The desire to master the Linux system is fired up and burning hotly. Installation should be an easy goal to accomplish. Come what may, learning the various stages of operation and implementing the skill which will accrue is an attainable goal that I will enjoy. Thank you.

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Copyright 2003 by Shankar Iyer. Copyright 2003 Linux For You. All rights reserved. Used with permission. See here for details. All rights reserved.



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