Phoenix TS IT Security Blog

Top Linux Certifications [2017]

October 18, 2017

Bita Beigishah

Linux is the central OS for most IT infrastructures throughout the world, so chances are your IT career will require you to leverage some Linux skills. If you are trying to step up your Linux game this year, then here are the top Linux certifications you should be adding to your resume.

Top Certifications For Linux Admins

1. CompTIA Linux+

This is the ideal starting point for any new Linux admins as it accredits the KSAs necessary for configuration, management and troubleshooting of Linux systems. This certification is distribution-neutral, so the skills acquired during the preparation process can apply to any specific Linux distributions such as Red Hat or SUSE. It is also a good lifetime certification and does not need to be renewed.

Another reason to start your Linux training with CompTIA Linux+ is that once you pass your Linux+ certification exams, you can also apply to earn your LPIC-1 (#3 on this list). Note, this only works by earning your Linux+ first you can’t earn your LPIC-1 and apply for the Linux+. For instructions on how to apply for the LPIC-1, visit the CompTIA website.

2. Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS)

The Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator is a performance-based certification for Linux System Administrators in which testing can take place on either CentOS 7, openSUSE 42 or Ubuntu 16 operating systems. This credential validates the KSAs needed to handle intermediate-level command-line tasks. The core competencies addressed include:

  • command-line
  • file system and storage
  • shell scripting
  • software management
  • local system administration
  • local security

The Linux Foundation is the certifying body of this credential and that brings its own unique advantages to the mix, one of which is that they employ the Linux OG himself, Linus Torvalds. Additionally, they are the only certifying body that offers performance-based exams in every major Linux distribution.

3. LPIC-1: Linux Administrator

The LPIC-1 certification is very similar to CompTIA’s Linux+. There are no prerequisites and the certification addresses the basic skills needed for Linux system administration such as navigating the command line, performing maintenance tasks, configuring a workstation, and more.

While you can test directly for the LPIC-1 certification, we advise you to take the Linux+ certification instead and submit the necessary documentation to gain the LPIC-1. It is simply more bang for your buck that way.

4. Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), Oracle Linux 5 and 6 System Administrator

This certification is based on the Oracle Linux Operating System. As such, its value is to those who currently work with the Oracle Linux OS or are pursuing work with an employer that requires knowledge of it. To earn this certification, professionals need to pass one exam that addresses both general Linux knowledge and Oracle-specific capabilities.

5. Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator (RHCSA)

Within the Linux certification world, most professionals seek distribution-neutral credentials since that knowledge can be applied to any Linux OS and can be carried into virtually any role and employers understand that. The one shining exception to this is the Linux empire built by Red Hat. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is distro-specific, however it is THE DISTRIBUTION of Linux that virtually everyone recognizes. Couple this with the fact that Red Hat exams are notorious for their difficulty; achieving any Red Hat certification is a major accomplishment that will garner you respect from your organization and any other place you apply.

RHCSA, while it is Red Hat’s foundation level certification, requires at least 3 years of system administration experience either within Linux or Windows. The exam is entirely performance-based and lasts for several hours; unfortunately, it has one of the industry’s highest failure rates on the first attempt but this does make it even more valuable to hold. The certification itself validates one’s ability to handle files, navigate the command-line, managing systems and more all within RHEL.

Top Certifications For Linux Engineers

1. LPIC-2: Linux Engineer

Prerequisites: LPIC-1 

This certification is designed for Linux Engineers administering small to medium sized networks and it verifies the ability to perform advanced system administration, networking, security, configuration, and more. To achieve this certification, professionals must pass two exams, LPIC-2 201 and 202. Just like LPIC-1, this certification is distribution-neutral.

2. Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE)

LFCE is the next step after the LFCS and it focuses on the design and implementation of Linux systems. This certification can be earned for any of the following Linux distributions:

  • CentOS 7
  • openSUSE 42
  • Ubuntu 16

The LFCE exam domains and their respective weights include:

  • Essential Commands – 25%
  • Operation of Running Systems – 20%
  • User and Group Management – 15%
  • Networking – 15%
  • Service Configuration – 10%
  • Virtualization – 5%
  • Storage Management – 10%

3. Oracle Certified Professional (OCP), Oracle Linux 6 System Administrator

Prerequisites: OCA Oracle Certified Associate

The OCA certification is really only pursued if the individual is in a role that utilizes Oracle Linux, the same is true for the OCP certification. This certification will introduce experienced administrators to the Oracle IaaS Cloud Solution and validate the KSAs needed for effective configuration, implementation, deployment, management, and troubleshooting within an Oracle Linux instance.

4. Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)

Prerequisites: RHCSA 

If you thought RHCSA was a tough certification to earn, don’t think the next step on the Red Hat cert ladder will get any easier. The RHCE expands on fundamental command line based Linux Administration in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL) environment. RHCEs understand, at an advanced-level, how to configure and manage a RHEL system, install and configure various network services and database services.

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