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What it Takes to Earn Solaris 11 Certification

Oracle Solaris 11 is here, and if you want to be one of the first to have an Oracle Solaris 11 Administrator certification on your resume, you'll need to pass exam 1Z0-821. Michael Ernest has written the book on how to do just that, and he's willing to spill key tips & techniques...

The Oracle Certified Associate Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration exam is the entry point into the Oracle's Solaris 11 system administration certification track. Author Michael Ernest's new exam guide is here to prepare candidates for the new exam, and to stand by as a reference to Oracle Solaris 11 long after that OCA certificate is hanging on your wall.

Since a search of any job board will turn up reams of openings for Solaris Administrators, we recently tracked down Michael to find out more about Oracle Solaris Administrator certification. In addition, his publisher, McGraw-Hill, threw in a few tasty bits and pieces so GoCertify readers can preview some of the goodies this book has to offer. You'll find them at the bottom of the article. First though, let's get started at the beginning:

GoCertify: Who is this certification best suited for?

Michael Ernest: People who work with Solaris on a regular basis and need a working knowledge of its technologies can benefit by preparing for certification. Pre-sales consulting, systems administration, systems integration, and technical management are all roles that need to demonstrate their competence with Solaris systems in advance of a project. Certification is the easiest and most credible way to say "I can contribute" to such a project.

GoCertify: How much overlap is there between Linux skills and Solaris skills? Enough that it would be efficient to prepare for Linux and Solaris exams either simultaneously or in close sequence?

Michael Ernest: If you know both platforms pretty well and have no trouble keeping them straight, there's no reason you can't study for exams at the same time. There are many similar facilities that are merely named and implemented differently.

GoCertify: How long will it take the average person to work through this book and be ready to take the exam?

Michael Ernest: On average, the limiting factor for test readiness is how much exposure a candidate has to a Solaris platform. If you're using it for the first time on the day you open this book, I would bet conservatively and say at least six months. There's just a lot of information to absorb; the rest depends on how quickly you can absorb it. For someone who has a lot of experience with another modern Unix system, maybe two months of nightly study would be more than enough time.

GoCertify: How do you recommend that candidates get hands-on practice with the Solaris operating system?

Michael Ernest: Download the latest version of Solaris 11 from Oracle's website. Install it as a virtual machine. I recommend installing it as a virtual machine if you don't have a separate system you can spare. Any virtual machine player will do -- VirtualBox, VMWare, or Parallels on a Mac. This approach is not only inexpensive, it's faster to restore or reinstall Solaris without disrupting your other work. It's never been less expensive or easier to use Solaris, even if you are new to it.