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Which Linux Certification?

Posted: May 24th, 2004 | Author: | Filed under: Linux | Comments Off

The first time I installed Linux, I downloaded individual disk images of Slackware over 14.4 or 28.8 dialup.  I was able to snag an image or two from my dial-up shell account each night.  A, AP, D, K, L, N, etc.  It took forever.  LILO and I managed to roach the MBR of the family Pentium 60 a few times.  Oops.  Sorry.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m not a Linux newb.  I’ve installed and tinkered with pretty much every major distro that is out there.  I have an extra machine under the desk as a testbed, just so that I can take a look at the latest and greatest distro that just came out.  I’ve got quite a bit of real-world Linux experience, just not in a corporate environement, and not on paper.

I’d like to change that.  I’d like a Linux cert of some kind or another that can back up what I already know: I know my way around Linux.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure which cert to go after.  A year ago, I would not have been asking this question.  It would have been RHCE, and don’t look back.  They’ve gone for the high end enterprise clients and left the small to medium guys out in the cold.  Hey, it’s a business decision, it had to be done, but Red Hat is no longer the de-facto distro.  Therefore, a RHCE isn’t worth what it used to be.

I flipped through a Linux+ practice exam in the bookstore the other day.  I correctly answered 18 out of 20 that I looked at.  I’m sure with a little cramming I could have nailed the other two.  I’m confident that with a few weeks and a good book, I can fill in the holes to pass a Linux+ with no problem.  But do I want a Linux+ cert?  Is it taken seriously?  Should I be looking at other certs?

After doing a little bit of research, it looks like there are four major Linux certification programs out there.  Here’s what I’ve learned about them so far:

  • RHCE: It used to be the only cert worth having.  Nowadays, I’m not so sure.
  • CompTIA Linux+: This one looks easy to pass, which is good but bad.  Exam cost is around $200 or so, and there’s only the one.
  • Linux Professional Institute currently offers three levels of certification with two exams for each.  It is interesting to note that SUSE is basing their certifications as supplemental to the LPI certs.  I’m a big picture guy, and I think that Novell/SUSE/Ximian could be the next standard platform.  For that reason, I see the LPI certs as attractive.  I could be a SUSE Linux Professional after passing two LPI exams and a SUSE exam.  SUSE has cool logos.
  • SAIR Linux: They have two certification programs: Linux Certified Administrator and Linux Certified Engineer.  The roadmap reminds me a lot of MCSE.  It looks like you have to pass four exams for each cert.  This is the cert that I know the least about.

So whcih one of the above certs is best?  Which is most worth having?  I’m inclined to go the Linux+ route in order to make my resume look more attractive in the short term, but I don’t want to waste my money if it’s a total joke.  Longer term, I can see the LPI/SUSE certs being valuable.  If you have some insight, please email me (<%radio.macros.mailTo ()%>) or stop by the wiki page WhichLinuxCertIsBest.


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