If your IT work is focused on desktop solutions, you probably don’t think much about Linux. After all,the market share of this free operating system is now less than 2% in the desktop category. Yet, Linux is very strong on the server side, nearing 50% of the market. The system also leads the field of supercomputers with its 80% market share.
These numbers show that Linux knowledge is highly beneficial to those willing to boost their career in the sphere of servers and large scale enterprise solutions. These certifications are also beneficial to many IT professionals who run into some Linux operating systems alongside Windows. If you are just mapping out your IT career (oh exciting stage!), don’t underestimate Linux – you might need it in the very near future.
There is a number of options for Linux certifications, which can be combined either with each other, or with credentials that cover related fields (server certifications, for example), ensuring that you maximize your career potential. We have picked Linux certification programs from the following vendors:
Needless to say that CompTIA has an excellent track record with solid vendor-neutral certifications, often created in partnerships with relevant industry leaders. Linux+ is no exception as it is run in partnership with LPI (Linux Professional Institute).
CompTIA Linux+ is an associate-level certification, which validates the candidate’s skills and knowledge required of junior Linux administrators. This credential is also a great stepping stone to more advanced Linux certifications.
To get Linux+ certified, candidates need to pass 2 exams: Two exams are necessary to be certified: LX0-101 and LX0-102.
LX0-101 covers system architecture; Linux Installation and package management; GNU and Unix commands; devices, Linux filesystems, and filesystem hierarchy standard.
LX0-102 covers shells, scripting and data management; user interfaces and desktops; administrative tasks; essential system services; networking fundamentals; security.
As CompTIA Linux+ certification is conducted in partnership with LPI, candidates may choose to have their CompTIA results to be forwarded to the Linux Professional Institute. Certification in CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI, enables candidates to become certified in LPIC-1 as well, enabling further participation in the LPI program if the candidate chooses to take this step.
CompTIA Linux+ candidate job roles include junior Linux administrator, junior network administrator, systems administrator, Linux database administrator and web administrator. This credential is required by many industry leaders, including companies like Dell, HP, IBM, Lenovo and Xerox.
Linux Professional Institute (LPI)
Linux Professional Institute (LPI) is a recognized leader in the Linux operating system. It offers comprehensive certifications on Linux topics and technologies.
The LPI Certification program (often abbreviated as LPIC) includes 3 levels:
- LPIC-1 (Junior Level Linux Certification): covers basic Linux skills, including working at the command line, performing basic maintenance tasks, installing and configuring a workstation (including X Windows), making LAN or Internet connections. Overlaps with, and replaced by CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI, has no prerequisites, 2 written exams.
- LPIC-2 (Advanced Level Linux Certification): Prerequisites include wither LPIC-1 or Linux+. This certification also includes 2 exams which cover significant Linux skills and topics, including the kernel, system startup, file system and devices, advanced storage administration, network configuration, system maintenance, and DNS as well as web services, file sharing, network client management, e-mail services, system security and troubleshooting.
- LPIC-3 (Senior Level Linux Certification): Prerequisite: LPIC-2, where any single exam in the 300 series qualifies a person for Level 3 certification. To obtain this advanced Linux credential, candidates need to pass 3 exams.
LPI certification program is perfect for IT professionals need in-depth yet vendor neutral Linux certification. LPIC levels ensure vendor- and distribution-neutral coverage of Linux topics, tools and technologies, and are highly valued by employers.
Red Hat Linux certifications are a top choice for candidates interested in a platform-focused approach to Linux. These Linux certifications are a natural choice to those who already hold other Red Hat credentials –or are confident of their career with companies using Red Hat technologies. Red Hat Linux Certification Path also includes 3 levels.
- Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator (RHCSA) validates essential skills in handling files, working at the command line, and using system documentation, along with managing systems (boot-up, identifying processes, start/stop virtual machines, controlling systems), configuring storage partitions and logical volumes, and more.
- Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE): validates the skills and knowledge necessary to work as a senior level Linux system administrator. Topics covered include advanced IP routing and services, managing runtime kernel behavior, working with iSCSI, automating maintenance tasks with shell scripts, and working with networking services for Web, FTP, NFS, SMB, SMTP, SSH and more. Holding a valid RHSCA is a prerequisite for the RHCE.
- Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA): advanced level Red Hat certification which validates the architect-level skills in Red Hat Linux solutions.
Although Oracle Corporation has a long history with UNIX (since acquiring Sun Microsystems), today the vendor focuses its certifications on Linux, leaving the UNIX roots behind. Oracle Linux credential would be most appealing to IT professionals already working with Oracle solutions. There are 2 credentials: OCA (Oracle Certified Associate), Oracle Linux 5 and 6 System Administration and OCP (Oracle Certified Professional), Oracle Linux 6 Advanced System Administrator. The credentials require one exam each.
So, your choice of Linux certification path and approach depends on your career goals and needs. If you’re a beginner, we recommend that you start with CompTIA Linux+ certification for an introduction to the system and immediate CV boost, enough until you figure out where you want to do next.