Home > Articles > Other IT Certifications

Linux Certification Roundup

  • Print
  • + Share This
In this first installment of the Certification Roundup series, IT certification expert and Anderson College professor Emmett Dulaney describes why Linux certification is important and provides a survey of the principal credential offerings in this arena. He then offers general preparation tips and links to useful Web sites.
Like this article? We recommend

Before pursuing any IT certification, you should make sure it has value for you. One of the easiest ways to do this is to look for the qualifications required for a position that you would like to have – whether in your existing company or with another firm. Once you’ve identified the requirements, then you should investigate the costs associated with them (single exam, series of exams, labs, and so on) and – if the potential benefits outweigh the costs - pursue them.

What follows is the first in a series of articles comparing similar IT certifications. This entry focuses on those for the Linux operating system, and will be followed by a look at those for security, networking, project management, and hardware.

The first decision to make when deciding to acquire a Linux certification is whether to go after one that is vendor neutral (not focused on any one particular distribution) or vendor specific. Within those two categories, we will look at the most popular certifications and briefly outline methods for studying to obtain them.

Vendor-Neutral Certifications

As the name implies, “vendor-neutral” certifications are not associated with a particular Linux distribution and center themselves on the overarching areas of knowledge that apply to all standard Linux distributions. The two biggest players here are CompTIA and LPI (Linux Professional Institute).

CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI

CompTIA made news in April 2010 when it partnered with certification leader Linux Professional Institute (LPI) to combine the two most prominent entry-level certifications on the market: Linux+ and LPI’s LPIC-1. Linux+ applicants can now choose to have their exam scores forwarded directly to LPI and are eligible to receive both entry-level certifications upon passing the test. The partnership and revised Linux+ exam assuage the concerns of many in the industry that the original exam was too easy and vague to compete with the depth of knowledge tested by LPI exams.

CompTIA’s Linux+ Powered by LPI targets system administrators with at least 12 months of experience with Linux systems and tests candidates on vendor-neutral knowledge in the areas of systems architecture, installation and package management, the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, and more. The certification requires completion of two 90-minute exams, LX0-101 and LX0-102, consisting of 60 questions each. The test costs $160 for non-members of CompTIA.

The Linux+ certification exam prior to CompTIA’s partnership with LPI, exam XK0-002, will be retired on October 31, 2010. Individuals certified with previous Linux+ exams are not eligible to apply for LPIC-1 certification unless they complete the new tests.

For more information on CompTIA’s certifications and partnership with LPI, see http://www.comptia.org/certifications.aspx.

LPI Certifications

While partnering with CompTIA, the Linux Professional Institute has retained its own Linux certifications: LPIC-1, 2, and 3. While the LPIC-1 exams are still available, the double-certification awarded for passing the Linux+ exams isn’t offered for those choosing to take the LPI tests, so skipping the LPIC-1 exams themselves in lieu of Linux+ makes sense if you are looking to add entries to your resume as quickly as possible.

After completing LPIC-1 (or Linux+ Powered by LPI), candidates are eligible to take exams 201 and 202 required for the LPIC-2 certification. LPIC-2 places emphasis on system maintenance and troubleshooting. For a detailed breakdown of the topics and weighting of the exams, see http://www.lpi.org/eng/certification/the_lpic_program.

The LPIC-3 certification requires passing a single exam to receive LPIC-3 “Core” designation. After this initial exam, multiple optional exams may be completed to receive specialty designations including “Mixed Environment,” “Security,” and the newest entry “Virtualization.”

Exams for completion of LPIC-1 and LPIC-2 are 90 minutes in length and cost $160 each. Exam 301 for the LPIC-3 “Core” designation costs $260.

To learn more about certifications provided by the Linux Professional Institute, see http://www.lpi.org/eng/certification.

Vendor-Specific Certifications

The three big leaders in the Linux distribution arena within the United States are Red Hat, SUSE (from Novell), and Ubuntu. The following sections look at each of their offerings.

Red Hat

The Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification leads the IT world as one of the most rigorous and well-recognized certifications in the industry. The certification process formerly consisted of two exams, but was consolidated into one 3.5-hour performance-based test. This exam varies greatly from the multiple-choice CompTIA or LPI exams because it requires candidates to perform hands-on installations, maintenance, and troubleshooting of Linux systems and to be graded based on the performance of these systems.

Red Hat offers the Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) certification in addition to the RHCE. The RHCT consists of a 2 hour performance-based exam that tests more basic knowledge of system administration than the RHCE. All the competencies tested for the RHCT are included in the RHCE, so it is possible for an RHCE candidate to not pass the exam but still receive RHCT certification.

Additionally, the Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA) certification is offered as a capstone to the RHCE and requires completion of five additional exams. Candidates looking to expand their Red Hat expertise can also pursue Red Hat Certified Datacenter Specialist and Red Hat Certified Security Specialist certifications.

The RHCE exam costs $799. The multiple exams required for the RHCA or “expertise” certifications such as the RHCDS cost $749 each but are reduced to $549 when purchased with a corresponding training course. To learn more about all of Red Hat’s available certifications and recommended courses for each, visit http://www.redhat.com/certification.

Novell

Novell’s entry-level certification, the Novell Certified Linux Administrator (CLA), can now be attained through a simple application process without exams or fees by all LPIC-1 certified individuals. To view the application on Novell’s website, see http://practicum.novell.com/LPI2CLAForm.php. After receiving the CLA, candidates can move on to the Certified Linux Professional (CLP) certification, which validates and expands on the administrative skills tested in the CLA.

Above the CLP is Novell’s Certified Linux Engineer (CLE) certification. The CLE is targeted at “engineer-level” architects and managers. The latest version of the CLE tests skills on systems based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 or 11. The CLP and CLE are awarded through single 150-minute exams for a price of $195.

The plethora of certifications offered by Novell extends well beyond these choices. To see a complete listing of certifications and requirements for each, see http://www.novell.com/training/certinfo/.

Ubuntu

In yet another expansion of the Linux Professional Institute’s array of certifications, the LPI now offers the Ubuntu Certified Professional (UCP) certification. To receive the certification, candidates must complete LPI 101 and 102 exams (or already be LPIC-1 certified), as well as the Ubuntu 199 exam. The $155 exam applies the administrative skills tested for LPIC-1 certification to Ubuntu-based systems specifically. The Ubuntu-specific exam may be taken before or after the general exams. For additional information, see http://www.lpi.org/eng/certification/ubuntu_certified_professional.

Preparation

When considering how to study and prepare for certification exams, it is important to first evaluate your reason for obtaining certification. If you are working toward a specific certification required by an employer or organization and don’t plan on expanding your certification repertoire in the future, devoting your studies to the particular skill and knowledge expectations of that exam may be the most effective means of preparation.

If you are using certifications as a guided path for increasing your Linux expertise or are starting to build a large body of certifications, working through exams in a logical order will end up saving you time and effort. With LPI’s expansion and partnership with various other certification providers, starting off with CompTIA’s Linux+ Powered by LPI will get you going in the right direction (multiple directions, actually). With the Linux+ cert in your hand, you can immediately receive LPIC-1, apply for Novell’s CLA, and be just one exam away from the Ubuntu Certified Professional. As you can see, starting with a good foundation can expedite and simplify your progress through the world of certifications.

While every certification organization offers training courses to prepare you for their exams, none of those listed in this article requires completion of coursework to obtain certification. The necessity of hands-on experience is stressed heavily by every certification provider, however, so candidates should always recognize the value of day-to-day work on Linux systems in regard to their certification pursuits.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Pearson IT Certification Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Pearson IT Certification and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Pearson IT Certification products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.pearsonitcertification.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020