The computing world is chock-full of certifications of all kinds, and there is no doubt that the many hundreds of available certifications are beneficial to only the testing industry. Even the rugged individualistic Linux world has its share. But is it worth your while to acquire Linux certifications? As always, the answer is "it depends." Certifications have two benefits: They reassure customers or potential employers that you are qualified, and you receive some organized training.
Of course it is possible, and not uncommon, for some system or network administrators to have "paper skills" only, and not much in the way of real skills. But let's assume that everyone reading along is skilled and capable, and looking to expand skill sets and paychecks alike. What does the Linux certification world offer?
First of all, it offers five types of certifications:
- Red Hat's Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) and Certified Engineer (RHCE)
- Linux Professional Institute Certified (LPIC) offers vendor-neutral certifications, and now offers an Ubuntu certification
- CompTIA's Linux+
- Novell has two: Novell Certified Linux Professional (CLP) and Novell Certified Linux Engineer 9 (CLE 9)
What about training costs, do you need a Fortune 500 budget? The short answer is no. There are a some low-cost or free ways to get training. Here are a couple of examples:
- IBM Developerworks has a free Linux Professional Institute (LPI) exam prep series.
- RHCE prep books, such as "RHCE Red Hat Certified Engineer Linux Study Guide" by Michael Jang, which offers in-depth study, or "RHCE: Red Hat Certified Engineer Exam Notes" by Bill McCarty, which delivers a quick cram.
As far as developing skills, any of these are worthwhile. You cannot skate through the exams; they require real knowledge.