Six Hot Linux Certifications for 2023
The Linux operating system turned 31 in 2022. Over the years, the world's most famous open-source software has evolved to become one of the most stable, dependable, and versatile computing platforms. Today, Linux and its array of distros run most of the Internet, cloud infrastructure, and top supercomputers. Android OS, the most popular mobile operating system is Linux-derived.
Demand for experienced Linux technologists, such as system administrators, engineers and architects, has increased due to robust growth of cloud platforms. A range of distribution-specific as well as vendor-neutral certifications are available at entry, intermediate and senior levels and in different specialties for IT professionals aspiring to develop foundational or advanced Linux skills.
For a beginner, it might make sense to start with a distribution-neutral credential. A general Linux cert validates broad-based Linux skills and foundational knowledge applicable across many different distributions and services.
Red Hat and Oracle are the leading vendors of Linux in the enterprise segment, which is why their certifications are the most sought-after vendor-specific credentials. The most respected Linux certifications include the following:
This early-career role-focused Linux credential is managed by CompTIA. It is the most popular vendor-neutral Linux certification for system administrators who set up and maintain Linux systems.
CompTIA Linux+ validates the foundational knowledge required to set up, run, secure, and manage enterprise systems and cloud infrastructure. It would suit a range of junior tech professionals, including cloud engineers, Linux administrators, web developers and administrators, systems and network administrators, DevOps support technologists, tech support specialists, and cybersecurity professionals.
CompTIA Linux+ covers the fundamentals of system management, security, scripting, containers, and automation, as well as how to troubleshoot hardware, user, and application problems. It’s necessary to have hands-on experience in these topics.
CompTIA's exams are designed to enable candidates to handle Linux admin tasks so that they are capable of configuring, managing and supporting the main Linux distributions. Candidates will also learn how to develop a solid understanding of how Linux powers cloud systems.
To earn this credential, candidates need to pass one 90-minute, multiple-choice and performance-based exam, with a passing score of 720. The brand new XK0-005 exam debuted last year; exam XK0-004 will retire on Jan. 16, 2023.
CompTIA recommends a minimum of 1 year of professional experience in Linux system administration. CompTIA also recommends either CompTIA A+ or Network+ or Server+ or a similar credential. CompTIA Linux+ is valid for 3 years from the date of your exam. You can renew it by participating in the Continuing Education (CE) program. You need to earn 50 CEUs in three years for renewal.
A range of exam prep options are available from CompTIA, including eLearning, virtual labs, exam prep, study guides and instructor-led training. Details are available on the CompTIA website. Training is also available from CompTIA’s Authorized Training Partners.
Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator (RHCSA)
Red Hat offers a set of solid hands-on certifications that are in demand among Linux professionals and employers alike. Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator is Red Hat’s foundational certification for IT professionals handling or looking to handle fundamental tasks related to configuring, running, maintaining and securing Red Hat Linux systems in an enterprise environment.
RHCSA validates knowledge and hands-on skills in Red Hat Linux systems administration across different enterprise environments and deployment structures. System administrators working on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) systems and seeking validation of their expertise or other Linux administrators with adequate experience and who are required to certify by their employer or to comply with the DOD 8570 directive or another mandate would find the RHCSA suitable.
This credential is also designed for aspirants who have attended the RH124 and RH134 courses, technologists aspiring to earn the RHCE credential or recertify as well as DevOps professionals who wish to validate their understanding of the basics of container technology. To earn the RHCSA, you need to pass the 2.5 hour performance-based RHCSA exam (EX200). There are no prerequisites for the RHCSA.
Red Hat offers exam training courses to suit candidates with varying levels of Linux experience. For Windows system administrators as well as candidates with very limited Red Hat Enterprise Linux experience, there are Red Hat System Administration I (RH124), Red Hat System Administration II (RH134) or Running Containers (RH065) courses. Administrators who work with Linux or UNIX might find the RHCSA Rapid Track course with exam (RH200) suitable.
Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)
The Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) credential is designed for Red Hat Certified System Administrators who wish to develop the skills needed to automate Red Hat Enterprise Linux processes, employing shell scripting and Ansible Automation. RHCE validates knowledge of Red Hat Ansible Automation and its application in automating system administration functions and scaling enterprise systems.
This mid-level Linux certification covers knowledge and skills required for efficient systems management in a DevOps environment, using automation. Topics include automation of deployment, configuration, administration and support of enterprise-level infrastructure with emphasis on Ansible Automation and how it works with other Red Hat technologies.
To earn the RHCE, you need to be a Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) and then pass the performance-based RHCE exam (EX294). The exam covers automation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux tasks. Red Hat recommends their Red Hat Enterprise Linux Automation with Ansible (RH294) course as preparation for the RHCE exam.
Oracle Certified Professional Oracle Linux 8 System Administrator (OCPOL8SA)
Oracle Linux is a stable, secure and flexible operating system that is optimized for enterprise workloads. Oracle’s Linux distribution is application binary compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which means that applications developed for RHEL can run on Oracle Linux.
Oracle bundles and distributes Oracle Linux free of cost. It is available under the GNU for download and use. Oracle Linux is designed to deliver high performance and availability in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. It is likely the best OS for Oracle Databases.
The Oracle Certified Professional Oracle Linux 8 System Administrator certification demonstrates deep knowledge and skill in deploying, configuring, running and managing Oracle Linux 8 systems in a production environment. The exam is designed to assess each candidate’s ability to install, set up, run and monitor Oracle Linux systems and employ advanced features, including those introduced with version 8 of Oracle Linux.
To earn the OCPOL8SA, you need to pass the 90-minute Oracle Linux 8 Advanced System Administration 1Z0-106 exam. Oracle offers an IT Infrastructure Learning Subscription, which might suit candidates looking for guided exam preparation. The package includes updated digital courses, training and practical experience gained through lab or field work.
Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS)
The Linux Foundation is a respected nonprofit that promotes the development of Linux through education, collaboration and meetings. The organization offers a few industry-recognized vendor-neutral Linux certifications, such as Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) and Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE).
The Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) is an early-career credential that is popular among junior Linux system administrators who wish to demonstrate their ability to design, set up, configure and maintain a Linux system installation both on premise and in the cloud. The performance-based exam includes simulations of real-world scenarios and tasks that test the candidate’s understanding of Linux networking, storage, deployment, maintenance, monitoring, security, users and groups, applications and troubleshooting.
To earn the LFCS, candidates need to pass one 2-hour online performance-based exam. There are different exam prep resources, including Practice Questions, available from Linux Foundation. Candidates might find the organization’s Certification Preparation Guide helpful. The System Administration Essentials course is designed to train students for the LFCS exam. LFCS is valid for three years.
Linux Professional Institute Certification - 3 (LPIC-3)
The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) is a widely-recognized nonprofit focused on promoting open source and establishing a global certification standard for Linux. LPI manages a respected vendor-neutral professional certification program.
The LPIC-3 certification is the most advanced credential in the multi-level LPI professional program. LPIC-3 is directed at experienced enterprise-level Linux professionals. This certification is available in four specialties: Mixed Environments, Security, Virtualization and Containerization, and High Availability and Storage Clusters.
LPIC-3 would suit experienced Linux technologists looking for an advanced distribution-neutral Linux credential with the option of specializing in a specific area.
LPIC-3 Mixed Environments covers Samba basics, Active Directory Domains, Samba share and client configuration, Linux identity management and file sharing.
LPIC-3 Security covers access control, cryptography, application security, operations security, network security, threats and vulnerability assessment.
LPIC-3 Virtualization and Containerization covers full virtualization, container virtualization, and VM deployment and provisioning.
LPIC-3 High Availability and Storage Clusters covers high availability cluster management and storage, high availability distributed storage and single node high availability.
To earn any one of the LPIC-3 certifications, you need to be LPIC-2 certified and pass the exam for the specific specialty. Whatever your choice of exam prep materials or courses, LPI emphasizes the importance of a thorough review of individual exam objectives. LPIC- is valid for 5 years.
Go for IT
No matter which credential you achieve, ultimately, a potential employer will prioritise the extent of your hands-on experience in setting up, running, managing and securing Linux systems in enterprise data centers and virtualized environments.