Linux is an operating system capable of running a variety of technologies, from desktop computers to mobile phones and video game consoles. Linux is an open-source system; meaning software developers may use, modify and redistribute its source code freely–making it a popular choice among IT professionals around the globe. It is also one of the most powerful systems available: According to Top500.org, as of June 2010, Linux ran the 10 fastest supercomputers in the world.
Linux skills are in demand, according to PCWorld. Find out how a Red Hat certification can demonstrate expertise in Linux.
The flexibility of the Linux operating system makes it a valuable tool for businesses and IT professionals, but learning how to best use and manipulate it requires some training. This is why Linux certifications are such valuable IT credentials for entry-level and seasoned professionals alike.
The value of Linux certifications
The flexibility of Linux makes it appealing for IT professionals and organizations over less customizable systems like Windows, but at the same time, this malleability gives Linux a reputation for being user-unfriendly. Because of this, Linux-certified professionals may earn more than their lesser-trained peers. Global Knowledge’s 2011 IT Skills and Salary Report indicates that Linux-certified professionals earned median salaries ranging from $78,330 to $92,322, depending on the certification earned, which was notably more than the $72,200 that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported as the median annual salary for all network and computer systems administrators just a year earlier.
Because Linux is an open-source operating system, many Linux certifications are considered vendor-neutral. The following are among the most common Linux certifications available.
Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certifications
Linux Professional Institute Certification Level 1 (LPIC-1): The LPIC-1 certification is designed for junior-level IT professionals, certifying that they can work at the command line, perform basic maintenance, and install and configure a network-connected workstation.
Linux Professional Institute Certification Level 2 (LPIC-2): The LPIC-2 is an advanced-level certification that builds upon the skills established through the LPIC-1 curriculum. LPIC-2 certified professionals must be able to administer a small to medium-sized site using Microsoft and Linux servers while being knowledgeable enough about Linux systems to advise upper management.
Linux Professional Institute Certification Level 3 (LPIC-3): The most advanced credential in the LPI certification program, this senior-level certification builds upon the LPIC-1 and LPIC-2 curricula.
CompTIA Linux+: The CompTIA Linux+ certification is an LPI-powered credential certifying that junior-level IT professionals–those with six months to a year of practical experience–can install and use Linux operating systems.
Red Hat certifications
The creator of Red Hat Linux, a popular enterprise operating platform, Red Hat offers a number of Linux certifications. The following represent basic Red Hat credentials; IT professionals can pursue a number of additional, specialized certifications.
Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA): The RHCSA is an entry-level credential that certifies one can install and configure a Red Hat system and attach it to a live network.
Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE): The RHCE certification is for mid-level to advanced IT professionals who have already earned the RHCSA. The RHCE credential certifies that one can tackle more advanced functions, such as security or the installation of common enterprise networking (IP) services.
Red Hard Certified Architect (RHCA): This Red Hat-titled “capstone certificate” is the most advanced Red Hat credential available, building upon the RHCE curriculum with an “enterprise focus.”
Red Hat Certification Training
Red Hat, a leading open source technology company, offers numerous certifications for the IT professional working in a Linux environment. These certifications demonstrate the knowledge and abilities of roles such as system administrators, system architects, system engineers and security specialists working within a Red Hat Enterprise Linux infrastructure. Depending on an individual’s job title, certain Red Hat certifications might be more applicable than others. These credentials are designed to certify substantial knowledge of the Linux environment and the necessary skills to operate a successful and secure IT organization.
To make sure that its certifications meet the demands of IT managers, the company conducted a survey of Red Hat certification holders worldwide to identify the most frequent and critical tasks performed on the job. The analysis from this survey formed the basis of today’s Red Hat certifications.
Overview of Red Hat certifications
Red Hat Linux training courses cover a wide range of skills and specialties. Here is a look at some of the certifications and the expertise they demonstrate to employers:
- Red Hat Certified System Administrator or RHCSA: Candidates for this certification must be able to access a shell prompt and issue commands with correct syntax; create, delete, copy and move files and directories; boot, reboot and shut down a system; list, create, delete and set partition types for primary, extended and logical partitions; and configure firewall settings using system-config-firewall or iptables.
- Red Hat Certified Engineer or RHCE: The RHCE builds upon the skills of an RHCSA certification, which is a prerequisite. The credential requires the skills to route IP traffic and create static routes; configure a virtual host and private directories; and configure a caching-only name server to forward DNS queries.
- Red Hat Certified Security Specialist or RHCSS: The RHCSS demonstrates advanced skills in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Security Enhanced Linux or SELinux, and Red Hat Directory Server. Current RHCEs are eligible to earn this certification by passing three Expertise Exams, which test skills first introduced as part of the RHCE program. These exams cover knowledge in network services, directory services and authentication, and SELinux policy administration.
Red Hat certification exams
Red Hat certifications require the passing of performance-based exams, which means candidates must execute a series of hands-on, real-world exercises to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Their output is then evaluated against specific criteria to determine whether the exam objectives have been met. Exams are typically two hours in length.
Red Hat courses offer formats such as classroom training, virtual training, self-paced training and remote classroom training. Red Hat provides an online skills assessment to help candidates determine which courses are right for them, and whether they possess the skills required to pass exams. Other training providers also offer courses designed to prepare students for Red Hat Linux certification.
The attainment of a Red Hat certification can make a positive impact on an individual’s IT career. Survey results from the Global Knowledge 2011 IT Skills and Salary Report showed these mean annual wages for certified professionals:
- Red Hat Certified Technician or RHCT: $81,918
- Red Hat Certified Engineer or RHCE: $92,322
Skills in the Linux open source operating system are in demand, according to a PC World article, “Linux Skills Are Hot on Improving IT Hiring Front,” which appeared in January 2011.