Linux Foundation to Debut Entry-Level Cert in November

The Linux Foundation has a new credential for entry-level Linux enthusiasts.

It's hard to overstate the importance of Linux when it comes to the infrastructure that stands behind most modern data centers. That's including those that organizations and enterprises own and operate themselves, as well as the massive, super-sized counterparts that public cloud providers (such as Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Alibaba, and so forth) make available to their customers.


Simply put: Most of that infrastructure, and all top 500 HPC (high-performance computing) installations, run on Linux. Ergo, Linux skills are a valid means of entry into meaningful, interesting IT positions and — taking a longer view of things — career creation and maintenance strategies.


More About The Linux Foundation


It's hard to overstate the shadow that The Linux Foundation casts over the whole computing industry, not to mention the overall Linux community. On the one hand, the organization operates a boatload of important open source projects. This includes such familiar names as Appium; Carrier Grade Linux; Ceph; Cloud Foundry; oodles of development tools for code validation, security, and more; Kubernetes; node.js; Tizen; the Xen project, and lots more.


The Linux Foundation is also relatively long-lived, having been around since 2000. The nonprofit technology consortium's mission describes itself a supporting "the largest and most pervasive open source project in history" (Linux, of course). Here's a cool little chart from their "About" page of amazing Linux facts:


The Linux Foundation has a new credential for entry-level Linux enthusiasts.


The Current Linux Foundation Certifications


There are two certs in The Linux Foundation's collection right now. First let's address the top-tier LFCE, or Linux Foundation Certified Engineer. In keeping with the low-budget, low-cost ethic that motivates the foundation, the LFCE exam costs just $300 and you can buy a training course + exam bundle for the even more reasonable price of $499.


LCFE is aimed at IT pros who have 3-to-5 years of active, hands-on Linux experience, especially those "looking to demonstrate a higher level of skill set to help qualify for a promotion or land a new, more advanced job." The exam itself is performance-based at the command-line, including numerous items designed to simulate on-the-job configuration, maintenance, and troubleshooting scenarios.


Target Linux distros include Ubuntu 18 and CentOS 7. LCFE  holders show themselves ready and able to deploy and configure Linux OSes in enterprise situations, and that they hold the skill set necessary to function as a Linux engineer in a production environment.


The Linux Foundation has a new credential for entry-level Linux enthusiasts.

The intermediate LFCS, or Linux Foundation Certified Sysadmin, is the other item currently in the foundation's certification portfolio. It aims at IT pros just getting started with production Linux computing environments, who are seeking employment as system administrators. As with the other cert, the exam costs and bundle offer are the same.


Ditto for the performance-based exam itself, which focuses itself on workplace tasks and scenarios typical for real-world Linux sysadmins (and permits a choice of the same two Linux distros: Ubuntu 18 or CentOS 7). The skillset aims a bit lower and establishes that successful candidates "can work proficiently to design, install, configure, and manage a [Linux] system installation."


Topics covered include "networking, storage, security, maintenance, logging and monitoring, application lifecycle, troubleshooting, API object primitives, and the ability to establish basic use-cases for end users." It's a non-trivial starter cert that permits candidates to show that they understand and can handle the role of Linux sysadmin in the workplace.


Both exams are delivered online, and include a free retake. Their related certs remain valid for three years. Detailed objectives and further information is available on each cert's home page (links appear in the preceding paragraphs).


The Next Generation: LFCA


What's coming in November 2020 is an introductory/fundamental credential named the LFCA, or Linux Foundation Certified IT Associate. The Linux Foundation positions this offering as a "modern" Linux credential, which means it includes fundamentals for the Linux OS, system administration principles and best practices, and cloud computing concepts, tools, and best practices.


Here's what the objective domains and their relative weights/focuses look like:


? Linux Fundamentals (20 percent)
? System Administration Fundamentals (20 percent)
? Cloud Computing Fundamentals (20 percent)
? Security Fundamentals (16 percent)
? DevOps Fundamentals (16 percent)
? Supporting Applications and Developers (8 percent)


The Linux Foundation has a new credential for entry-level Linux enthusiasts.

The LCFA really is a basic, entry-level cert for those just getting started on the IT career track. It stresses basic IT fundamentals, concepts and best practices. Topics include things like installing and maintaining applications in a Linux environment, installing and configuring hardware on a Linux host, basic command-line shell and programming efforts, networking concepts and operations, and how to harden, secure and monitor/maintain security on a Linux installation.


It's a basic stepping stone to the other certs in the LF portfolio — namely, the LFCE and the LFCS. No word yet on costs, and no plans to offer a specific LFCA course either. Instead the LF plans to partner up with online education platform operators (edX, Udemy, Coursera, and so forth) and with community college programs to make sure their "Intro to Linux" offerings will get candidates ready to take and pass the LCFA. Sounds like a workable and practical approach to me!


To read more about the LCFA and its underpinnings and requirements, please read my old friend (and long-time Linux wizard) Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols' ZDnet story on this offering. It's entitled "Linux Foundation launches new entry-level IT certification" and it's what alerted me to this new offering in particular, and the LF cert program in general. Thanks, buddy!


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About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.