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Six Hot Linux Certifications for 2018

Skilled Linux professionals will continue to be in high demand in 2018. Certification can give you an edge. These six credentials will help you sharpen your skills and be ready to compete for top jobs.

Linux 2018 penguin squawkThe Cloud is changing everything. Like a giant vacuum, cloud computing is sucking up the IT industry and Linux, in all its forms, is riding the wave. The Linux footprint continues to expand — more than 80 percent of the market now relies on Linux in some form or fashion — and demand for Linux-trained professionals is at an all-time high


Big Data is the highest growth market for the Linux Platform because it relies on Linux and its proficient operation to be able to solve some of the world’s toughest problems. In 2018, even more companies will capitalize on this high-growth market by offering certifications.


The industry leader in the arena is Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions. Red Hat has a great business strategy. It’s like the water company — they bundle a free resource and sell it to the consumer.


As with the water company, the consumer only needs to go to the seller to receive support and the “throat to choke” model applies. As a household name in the IT community, Red Hat holds the top three slots for Linux related certifications — the ones employers regularly look for in potential candidates.


First up is the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA). Although not Unique, RHCSA is at the heart of all the other certifications listed below. It also must be completed prior to attempting the others. Employers have come to expect RHCSA certification and certified individuals can anticipate an average annual salary of six figures. Better still, there is currently no shortage of open positions requiring an RHCSA — a quick online search found more than 400.


A great follow-up to the RHCSA is the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE). Recently, the RHCE has experienced a resurgence thanks to a mandate by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Directive 8570. According to the government’s web site, "8570 provides guidance and procedures for the training, certification, and management of the DoD workforce conducting Information Assurance functions in assigned duty positions. It also provides guidance on reporting metrics."


RHCE is impactful due to its specialized focus on administration and network engineering via Linux. Employers really like this certification because it validates that a potential employee has all the skills needed to administer their systems. While U.S. government agencies already require it, private companies are following suit and eagerly looking for RHCEs.


Per Red Hat, RHCEs are capable of the following specialized skill sets:


● Configuring static routes, packet filtering, and network address translation
● Setting kernel runtime parameters
● Configuring an Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) initiator
● Producing and delivering reports on system utilization
● Using shell scripting to automate system maintenance tasks
● Configuring system logging, including remote logging
● Configuring a system to provide networking services, including HTTP/HTTPS, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), network file system (NFS), server message block (SMB), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), secure shell (SSH) and Network Time Protocol (NTP)


As mentioned above, you need the RHCSA to pursue the RHCE, but once added to your resume, an RHCE will command an approximate annual salary of $140,000. Demand is high as well, with currently more than 1,500 online jobs postings.


Rounding out the Red Hat triumvirate is the Red Hat Cloud Architect (RHCA). This certification identifies an RHCE who has also achieved a cloud concentration. My recent online query of IT job boards revealed more than 2,000 employers seeking RHCA certified individuals, with a top annual salary of $160,000. The RHCA is also listed on the government’s DOD requirement.


Earning this credential isn’t for the faint of heart. Candidates must first have their RHCE and then pass any five of the following exams:


● EX210 – Red Hat Certified System Administrator in Red Hat OpenStack exam
● EX220 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Hybrid Cloud Management exam
● EX236 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Hybrid Cloud Storage exam
● EX280 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Platform-as-a-Service exam
● EX310 – Red Hat Certified Engineer in Red Hat OpenStack
● EX318 – Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator exam
● EX403 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Deployment and Systems Management exam
● EX405 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Configuration Management with Puppet
● EX407 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Ansible Automation


You will really have to dive deeply into Linux to earn an RHCA, but what if you want to start out small and slowly dip your toe into the Linux water? Maybe you just want a certification that is broad, not company or platform specific and isn’t too expensive?