Thursday, March 12, 2009

Which UNIX/Linux certification to do?

Let it be real life or Internet Community Boards or Chat rooms, every time I meet a fresher or experienced one working in the Unix/Linux platform, I seem them discussing 'Which Unix/Linux certification to do?". Nothing wrong, everyone needs recognition yeah J Well, I am not going to say, "Don't go for a certification. Rather practice. Have hands-on and real time experience with the system. That is how you would become a great *nix person and not just by means of a paper - the so called certification!" Even though, what I said is 100 percent true, certifications do play a major role.

It is the certification that adds weight-age to your resume. It is the certification that helps you estimate yourself as to where you stand in the level of expertise. However, certification solely does not speak for your expertise but experience does. I don't really want to discuss the merits and demerits of IT Certification here. Rather, I will suggest which certification path to go for...

Do NOT read any further if you are not aware of what UNIX and Linux are. I don’t want to waste your precious time :)

Recommended UNIX Certifications available in the Market:





Recommended Linux Certifications available in the Market:

LPI Certification

Red Hat Certification

Novell Linux Certification

CompTIA Linux+ Certification

Which one will best suit you?

This is a tricky question but I said in the beginning of this article that we will together try to choose the most suitable one for you. So, let's work it out together :) I want you to answer some questions... Help me out in helping you :)


1 – Beginner Level

Start with LPI-1 or CompTIA’s Linux+ certification. These certifications are not specific to any distribution and they test your general *nix skills that are common to almost all the distributions

2 – Advanced Level

Go for LPI-2. I am not sure if you would want to do LPI-3 as well. I leave it to you. To brief on LPI-3, it is designed for the "enterprise-level" Linux professional.

3 – Distribution Oriented

If you have reached here from “Personal Interest” then read this

Here you have wide variety of choices. There are various distributions of Linux and various flavors of UNIX including the ones I quoted above under” Various UNIX/Linux Certifications available in the Market”. Choose the one which interest you. If you ask me for a suggestion, I would then say the RHCE and Solaris distributions are the most widely used distributions in the current IT industry. (Please note - I am not saying that the other distributions are not used at all. My point is that RHCE & Solaris are the MOST widely used ones)

If you have reached here from “My Job Demands” then read this

This is very clear. If you job demands one then get the one which it demands. Generally speaking, Job will demand only distribution based certifications. So, pick the one which is relevant to your job.

4 – To make my career in any *nix environment

When you say ‘*nix career’ it can either be a development (a.k.a. programming) career in an UNIX/Linux based environment. You know the Shell scripting, UNIX Programming, Cronjobs sort of stuff. The other kind of *nix career would be to be a System Administrator. If you prefer to work on development side in any of the UNIX environment then the basics will do. You need not break your brain with the installation and troubling shooting stuff. It does not hurt to know but not really needed anyways. So you can go for the basic UNIX or Linux certifications like the LPI and CompTIA’s Linux+ etc.

5 – To make my career as a *nix administrator

To be a UNIX or Linux system/network administrator is to be able to install, maintain, troubleshoot and the secure the system and network whichever you administrate. From the Market demand’s perspective I would suggest you to go for RHCE or Sun Solaris either. The former one is a hottie! I think no employer would want to reject a RHCE certified person unless and until

  • that employer is not recruiting for a *nix opening [OR]
  • you passed the RHCE using dumps or luck and hence you did not qualify the interview round

6 – What do you need is not a certification but a break! Get some sleep and come back here tomorrow

Yes! Not trying to be funny here but you should know what you need a certification for. If you say you don’t know, you are not in need of one. Spend time learning and not in wasting your bucks on certifications. There is a beautiful saying in Alice in Wonderland.

Alice: “Which road do I take?"
Cheshire cat: "Where do you want to go?"
Alice: "I don't know,"
Cheshire cat: “Then It t doesn't matter. If you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there”

To conclude and also to remind you again, getting a certification does not mean that you know it all! It is just a proof that you know stuff, a value-add to your profile.

Happy learning :)