Red Hat Announces Changes to RHCA Certification

The RHCA certification is being split in two.

It's been 25 years since Red Hat first began to broaden the possibilities afforded by open source solutions. Today, Red Hat is a global presence offering enterprise-level solutions for cloud computing, middleware, operating systems, virtualization, management and mobile.


Trusted by more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies, the company has a vast footprint in the open source realm. The name "Red Hat" is almost synonymous with Linux and enterprise-level open source solutions.


With some of the largest industry giants running on Red Hat solutions (including 100 percent of commercial banks, telecoms, and airlines), it's easy to see that there is a demand for IT professionals who are knowledgeable and highly skilled in Red Hat solutions. To meet customer needs for qualified Red Hat Linux professionals, Red Hat developed and maintains a comprehensive certification and training program.


The highest-level credential in the Red Hat certification program is the Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA). Reserved for best-of-the-best strivers, the RHCA focuses on highly skilled and experienced IT professionals. To earn an RHCA, candidates had to first obtain either the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) or Red Hat Certified JBoss Developer (RHCJD) credentials, plus five additional certifications (from an approved list).


High achievers who earn additional certifications beyond the original base-plus-five-credentials requirement qualify for the distinction of being an RHCA Level II, Level III, and so forth as additional certs are earned.


While candidates have always been free to choose any combination of certifications to earn the RHCA, Red Hat previously offered five optional concentrations — DataCenter, DevOps, Application Platform, Cloud, and Application Development — which were meant to serve as a certification guide depending on a candidate's area of interest.


(It should be noted that these concentrations were guides only and all candidates, regardless of the certs obtained, earned the designation of RHCA and not RHCA-DataCenter, for example.)


Always a leader in innovation, Red Hat continually monitors its certification program to ensure credentials are current and meet the changing needs of the industry and client. Now Red Hat has announced significant changes to the RHCA certification program. The changes are retroactive, so both prospective and current credential holders will want to take a close look at the new program and ensure they understand how the changes affect them.


Some of the key changes to the RHCA program include new certifications, recommended certification combinations instead of the old concentrations, and prerequisites.


Two New Certifications


The most significant change to the RHCA program is that instead of a single RHCA credential, Red Hat now offers two distinct RHCA certifications: Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA) in Enterprise Applications and Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA) in Infrastructure.




The RHCA in Infrastructure targets professionals who hold the RHCE credential, while the RHCA in Enterprise Applications is focused on candidates who have completed RHCJD or RHCEMD certification. Since the changes to the RHCA certification program are retroactive, current certification holders will automatically receive either the designation of RHCA in Enterprise Applications or RHCA in Infrastructure depending on whether the base certification used toward earning their RHCA credential was the RHCE or RHCJD.


Recommended Certification Combinations


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Under the new program, Red Hat provides RHCA candidates with recommended certification combinations that serve as a guide to candidates. The recommended combinations will change over time to adapt to emerging and evolving technologies. Candidates are free to follow these recommendations or create their own path to certification.




In the past, the RHCA required either the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) or Red Hat Certified JBoss Developer (RHCJD) credential as a prerequisite. Under the new program, both the RHCE and RHCJD continue to serve as base prerequisites along with the Red Hat Certified Enterprise Microservices Developer (RHCEMD) (which reflects the expansion of Red Hat's product portfolio into middleware).


As mentioned above, the base credential determines whether a candidate is awarded the RHCA in Enterprise Applications (RHCJD or RHCEMD) or the RHCA in Infrastructure (RHCE).




The certification requirements for both the RHCA in Enterprise Applications and RHCA in Infrastructure are similar. Both require candidates to earn a base credential, plus additional certifications. Red Hat offers recommended certification combinations.


RHCA Requirements:


RHCA Table


RHCA Level


Candidates who earn six or more credentials plus the base RHCD, RHCEMD, or RHCJD, earn an RHCA Level II designation. Additional level designations continue to be awarded as more certifications beyond the base and original five certs are earned.


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About the Author
Mary Kyle is a freelance technology writer based in Texas.

Mary Kyle is a full-time freelance writer, editor, and project manager based in Austin, Texas. Formerly employed in various positions at IBM, Mary has more than 10 years of project management experience in IT, software development and IT-related legal issues.