A Complete Open Source Certification Guide
A Complete Open Source Certification Guide
| certifications | cloud - Michael Hess

A Complete Open Source Certification Guide

You just name an enterprise systems area and there’s probably a viable open source option available. With this rush to open source, it’s no wonder that enterprises are looking to hire IT professionals with open source expertise. The Linux Foundation’s 2018 Open Source Jobs Report noted that 87 percent of hiring managers reported having problems recruiting open source talent and that Linux was the highest demand open source skill. Such is the scarcity of qualified recruits, that companies are opting to retrain their own IT employees and pay for them to get certified.

With that in mind, CBT Nuggets has prepared this guide to the Linux open source software certification options available to IT professionals. This Linux Certification guide will focus on the major Linux certification paths.

  • LPI Certifications
  • Red Hat Certifications
  • The Linux Foundation Certifications
  • SUSE Linux Certifications
  • Oracle Linux Certifications

LPI Certification

The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) is a non-profit organization that provides certification and career support for Linux open source professionals. LPI claims to be the largest provider of vendor-neutral. The LPI Linux certification path begins with their  LPI Linux Essentials cert. Although it is not a prerequisite for any of the subsequent certifications, LPI Linux Essentials is suggested as the ideal entry-point to the Linux administration certification for sysadmins (LPIC-1: Linux Administrator) and engineers (LPIC-2: Linux Engineer).

For more experienced Linux Enterprise Professionals, LPI has three specialist certs:

  • LPIC-3 300: Linux Enterprise Professional – Mixed Environment
  • LPIC-3 303: Linux Enterprise Professional – Security
  • LPIC-3 304: Linux Enterprise Professional – Virtualization & High Availability

LPI Linux Essentials

is the LPI’s foundational Linux certification designed for new IT professionals, or experienced professionals — developers, administrators, engineers — who want to establish foundational Linux skills.
The LPI Linux Essentials certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics:

  • The most popular open source applications
  • The major components of the Linux operating system
  • Working on the Linux command line
  • Linux security and administration

Required exam: Earning the LPI Linux Essentials certification requires passing one exam — LPI Linux Essentials (LPI 010).
Prerequisites: None
Required experience: LPIC recommends a basic understanding of the Linux operating system and comfort on the Linux command line.

LPIC-1 Certified Linux Administrator

The LPIC-1 Certified Linux Administrator certification is designed for professionals such as sysadmins and network administrators who will be installing and configuring computers running Linux, setting up basic networking, and performing Linux maintenance tasks. The LPIC-1 certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • The architecture of a Linux system
  • Installing and maintaining a Linux workstation, including X11 and setting it up as a network client
  • Working at the Linux command line, including common GNU and Unix commands
  • Handling files and access permissions as well as system security
  • Common maintenance tasks: helping users, adding users to a larger system, backup and restore, shutdown and reboot

Required exam: Earning the LPIC-1 Certified Linux Administrator certification requires passing two exams — LPIC-1 Exam 101 and LPIC-1 Exam 102.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: LPIC recommends hands-on experience installing and configuring computers running Linux.

LPIC-2 Certified Linux Engineer

The LPIC-2 Certified Linux Engineer certification is designed for professionals such as sysadmins and network administrators who will be administering small-to-medium sized networks of systems running Linux and other operating systems. The LPIC-2 certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Perform advanced system administration, including common tasks regarding the Linux kernel, system startup and maintenance
  • Perform advanced management of block storage and file systems, as well as advanced networking and authentication and system security, including firewall and VPN
  • Install and configure fundamental network services
  • Supervise assistants and advise management on automation and purchases

Required exam: Earning the LPIC-2 Certified Linux Administrator certification requires passing two exams — LPIC-2 Exam 201 and LPIC-2 Exam 202.
Prerequisites: Candidates may take the exams in any order. However, LPIC requires that candidates have an active LPIC-1 certification before being LPIC-2 certified.
Required experience: LPIC recommends hands-on experience administering Linux and other operating systems.

LPIC-3 300: Linux Enterprise Professional Mixed Environment

The LPIC-3: Linux Enterprise Professional Mixed Environment certification is the third-tier of LPI’s multi-level Linux professional certification program. The LPIC-3 Exam 300 certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics:

  • OpenLDAP configuration
  • OpenLDAP as an authentication backend
  • Samba basics
  • Samba Share configuration
  • Samba user and group management
  • Samba domain integration
  • Samba Name Services
  • Working with Linux and Windows clients

Required exam: Earning the LPIC-3: Linux Enterprise Professional Mixed Environment certification requires passing one exam — LPIC-3 Exam 300: Mixed Environment.
Prerequisites: Candidates may take the exams in any order. However, LPIC requires candidates to have an active LPIC-2 certification before they can become LPIC-3 certified in any of the three specialties.
Required experience: LPIC recommends hands-on experience administering enterprise-wide networks of systems running Linux and other operating systems.

LPIC-3 303: Linux Enterprise Professional Security

The LPIC-3 303: Linux Enterprise Professional Security is designed for enterprise-level Linux professionals who will be administering and securing enterprise-wide networks of systems running Linux and other operating systems. The LPIC-3 Exam 303 certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics:

  • Cryptography
  • Access control
  • Application security
  • Operations security
  • Network security

Required exam: Earning the LPIC-3: Linux Enterprise Professional Security certification requires passing one exam — LPIC-3 Exam 303: Security.
Prerequisites: Candidates may take the exams in any order. However, LPIC requires candidates to have an active LPIC-2 certification before they can become LPIC-3 certified in any of the three specialties.
Required experience: LPIC recommends hands-on experience securing and hardening enterprise-wide systems of Linux-based servers and services and networks.

LPIC-3 304: Linux Enterprise Professional Virtualization and High Availability

The LPIC-3 304: Linux Enterprise Professional Virtualization and High Availability cert is designed for enterprise-level Linux professionals who will be administering enterprise-wide high-availability networks of virtualized systems running Linux and other operating systems. The LPIC-3 Exam 304 certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics:

  • Virtualization
  • High-Availability Cluster Management
  • High-Availability Cluster Storage

Required exam: Earning the LPIC-3: Linux Enterprise Professional Virtualization and High Availability certification requires passing one exam — LPIC-3 Exam 304: Virtualization.
Prerequisites: Candidates may take the exams in any order. However, LPIC requires candidates to have an active LPIC-2 certification before they can become LPIC-3 certified in any of the three specialties.
Required experience: LPIC recommends hands-on experience planning and implementing enterprise-wide virtualization and high-availability setups using Linux-based technologies.

LPI DevOps Tools Engineer

The LPI DevOps Tools Engineer certification is designed for IT professionals who are involved in applying DevOps practices to reduce delivery time and improve quality in the development of new software. The certification focuses on the practical skills required to work in a DevOps environment and use leading DevOps tools. This is arguably more an open source software certification rather than a Linux certification. The LPI DevOps Tools Engineer certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and technologies:

  • Software Engineering and Architecture
  • Container and Machine Deployment
  • Configuration Management and Monitoring
  • Utilities such as Docker, Vagrant, Ansible, Puppet, Git, and Jenkins

Required exam: Earning the LPI DevOps Tools Engineer certification requires passing one exam — LPI Exam 701: DevOps Tools Engineer.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: LPIC recommends hands-on experience with a variety of open source tools and technologies widely used in DevOps, such as OpenStack, containers, and Kubernetes.

Red Hat Enterprise

Linux competes with Microsoft’s Windows as the server operating system of choice. According to a recent IDC report, Red Hat Enterprise Linux had over 30 percent of the worldwide market share for server operating systems — trailing only Windows which had about 50 percent. IDC reported that Red Hat’s share was growing at nearly 20 percent annually, while Microsoft’s share was falling by 3 percent year-over-year. This means that enterprises are really interested in IT professionals with specific Red Hat Linux certification. Red Hat’s recent acquisition by IBM is probably going to add to this interest. Red Hat certification for Linux is a multi-level program with certs for sysadmins, engineers, and architects.

Red Hat offers three certifications:

  • Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA)
  • Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)
  • Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA)

Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA)

The Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) certification is designed for sysadmins who are new to Linux, as well as experienced Linux administrators or senior UNIX admins. This certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Use essential tools for handling files, directories, and command-line environments
  • Operate running systems
  • Configure local storage using partitions and logical volumes
  • Create and configure file systems and file system attributes
  • Deploy, configure, and maintain systems
  • Manage users and groups
  • Manage security, including basic firewall and SELinux configuration

Required exam: Earning the RHCSA certification requires passing one exam — Red Hat Certified System Administrator (EX200).
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: Red Hat recommends that candidates should have work experience as a system administrator on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or have taken two related courses — Red Hat System Administration I (RH124) and Red Hat System Administration II (RH134).

Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)

The Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) is designed for certified RHCSAs who will be involved in automating Red Hat Enterprise Linux tasks, integrating Red Hat emerging technologies, and applying automation for efficiency and innovation. In 2019, Red Hat announced a new Red Hat certification path that places increased emphasis on automation skills associated with the
recently announced Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

Candidates for the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) can choose from one of two paths:

  • Legacy Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7
  • New Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8

Enterprise Linux 7 Track

The RHCE: Legacy Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 certification places more emphasis on network services skills than the new Linux 8 track. The RHCE certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Handle all responsibilities expected of a Red Hat Certified System Administrator
  • Accomplish without assistance a range of tasks related to configuration and management of System, network, and database services on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

Required exam: Earning the RHCE: Legacy Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 certification requires passing one exam — Red Hat Certified Engineer (EX300).
Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this certification, candidates must earn the RHCSA.
Required experience: Red Hat recommends that candidates should have work experience as a system administrator on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Enterprise Linux 8 Track

This RHCE: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 certification is focused on the automation of Linux system administration tasks using Ansible and shell scripting. The RHCE certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Handle all responsibilities expected of a Red Hat Certified System Administrator
  • Understand core components of Ansible
  • Install and configure an Ansible control node
  • Configure Ansible managed nodes
  • Script administration tasks
  • Create and use static inventories to define groups of hosts
  • Use Ansible modules for system administration tasks

Required exam: Earning the RHCE: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 certification requires passing one exam — Red Hat Certified Engineer (EX294).
Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this certification, candidates must earn the RHCSA.
Required experience: Red Hat recommends that candidates should have work experience as a Red Hat Enterprise Linux system administrator or DevOps professional.

Certified Enterprise Microservices Developer (RHCEMD)

The Red Hat Certified Enterprise Microservices Developer (RHCEMD) certification is designed for Java developers who want to further their ability to develop applications a microservice-style environment. The RHCEMD certification validates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Separate execution logic from business logic using Microprofile Fault Tolerance
  • Probe the state of a computing node from another machine using MicroProfile Health Check
  • Export monitoring data to management agents using Microprofile Metrics
  • Understand and apply MicroProfile Interoperable JWT RBAC: OpenID Connect (OIDC)–based JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) for role-based access control (RBAC) of microservice endpoints

Required exam: Earning the RHCEMD certification requires passing two exams — Red Hat Certified Enterprise Application Developer exam (EX183) and Red Hat Certified Enterprise Microservices Developer exam (EX283).
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: Red Hat recommends that candidates should have considerable experience developing enterprise Java applications in a microservice environment.

Certified Architect in Infrastructure (RHCA)

The Red Hat Certified Architect in Infrastructure (RHCA) certification is designed for Red Hat Certified Engineers (RHCEs) who want to demonstrate greater depth and breadth of knowledge and skills in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and other Red Hat products.

Required exams: Earning the RHCA in Infrastructure certification requires passing five exams from the RHCA in Infrastructure list. Each of these exams also earns the candidate a certification.
While candidates are free to choose any five exams from the list, Red Hat has also organized these exams into four role-related programs:

Open Hybrid Cloud Program

  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Hybrid Cloud Management (EX220)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Gluster Storage Administration (EX236)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Virtualization (EX318)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Administration (EX280)
  • Red Hat Certified Engineer in Red Hat OpenStack (EX310)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Deployment and Systems Management (EX403)

DevOps, Containers and OpenShift Program

  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Administration (EX280)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Ansible Automation (EX407)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Configuration Management (EX405)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Advanced Automation: Ansible Best Practices (EX447)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in API Management (EX240)

Telco Cloud Program

  • Red Hat Certified System Administrator in Red Hat OpenStack (EX210)
  • Red Hat Certified Engineer in Red Hat OpenStack (EX310)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Ceph Storage Administration (EX125)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Ansible Automation (EX407)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Configuration Management (EX405)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Advanced Automation: Ansible Best Practices (EX447)

Linux Mastery Program

  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Linux Diagnostics and Troubleshooting (EX342)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Linux Performance Tuning (EX442)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Server Security and Hardening (EX413)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Identity Management exam (EX362)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in High Availability Clustering (EX436)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Deployment and Systems Management (EX403)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Advanced Automation: Ansible Best Practices (EX447)

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this certification, candidates must earn the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification.
Required experience: Red Hat recommends that candidates should have considerable experience with the networking, development, and the Red Hat products listed in the individual exam objectives.

Certified Architect in Enterprise Applications (RHCA)

The Red Hat Certified Architect in Enterprise Applications (RHCA) certification is designed for Red Hat Certified Engineers (RHCEMDs) and RHCJDs (now a retired certification) who want to demonstrate greater depth and breadth of knowledge in Red Hat middleware and applications.

Required exams: Earning the RHCA in Enterprise Applications certification requires passing five exams from the RHCA in Enterprise Applications list. Each of these exams also earn the candidate a certification. While candidates are free to choose any five exams from the list, Red Hat has also organized these exams into one set of recommended exams and three role-related programs:

Recommended Exams

  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Application Development exam (EX288)
  • Red Hat Certified JBoss Administrator (EX248)

Application acceleration and integration

  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Fast-Cache Application Development (EX453)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Camel Development (EX421)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Messaging Administration (EX440)

Application Automation

  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Business Process Design (EX427)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Business Rules (EX465)

DevOps, Containers, and OpenShift

  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Ansible Automation (EX407)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in Configuration Management (EX405)
  • Red Hat Certified Specialist in API Management (EX240)

Prerequisites: Prior to attempting this certification, candidates must earn the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification.
Required experience: Red Hat recommends that candidates should have considerable experience with the networking, development, and Red Hat products supported by the exam.

RHCA Level II Designation

Acquiring five credentials from the list of RCHA exams allow candidates with a current RHCE to become a Red Hat Certified Architect – Level I. Earning six or more credentials earns the candidate the RHCA – Level II designation. The appropriate number of certifications must remain current in order to maintain the relevant RHCA status level.

The Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is the organization that hosts the core Linux kernel development project with Linux creator Linus Torvalds. As part of their mission to promote open source, they have created a number of Linux certification and open source certification credentials.

The Linux Foundation offers seven certifications:

  • Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS)
  • Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE)
  • Cloud Foundry Certified Developer (CFCD)
  • Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)
  • Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)
  • Certified Hyperledger Sawtooth Administrator (CHSA)
  • Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator (CHFA)

Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS)

The Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) is designed for aspiring or entry-level IT professionals. The LFCS certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Essential Commands
  • Operation of Running Systems
  • User and Group Management
  • Networking
  • Service Configuration
  • Storage Management

Required exams: Earning the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) certification requires passing one exam — the LFCS exam.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: While the Linux Foundation does not specify qualifications for this certification, the LFCS is a performance-based exam, which means candidates will need to solve problems on the command line.

Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE)

The Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) is designed for Linux engineers looking to demonstrate a higher level of skill. The LFCE certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Essential Commands
  • Operation of Running Systems
  • User and Group Management
  • Networking
  • Service Configuration
  • Storage Management
  • System Design and Deployment

Required exams: Earning the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) certification requires passing one exam — the LFCE exam.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: The Linux Foundation recommends three to five years of hands-on experience with Linux prior to attempting this certification.

Cloud Foundry Certified Developer (CFCD)

The Cloud Foundry Certified Developer (CFCD) is designed for IT professionals developing applications on the Cloud Foundry platform. The CFCD certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Cloud Foundry Basics
  • Cloud-Native Architectural Principles
  • Troubleshooting Applications on Cloud Foundry
  • Cloud-Native Application Security
  • Working with Services in Cloud Foundry
  • Application Management on Cloud Foundry
  • Container Management within Cloud Foundry

Required exams: Earning the Cloud Foundry Certified Developer (CFCD) certification requires passing one exam — the CFCD exam.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: The Linux Foundation recommends hands-on experience with a programming language such as Python, Node.js, or Ruby.

Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)

The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) is designed for IT professionals administering Kubernetes. The CKA certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Application Lifecycle Management
  • Installation, Configuration & Validation
  • Core Concepts
  • Networking
  • Scheduling
  • Security
  • Cluster Maintenance
  • Logging / Monitoring
  • Storage
  • Troubleshooting

Required exams: Earning the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) certification requires passing one exam — the CKA exam.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: While the Linux Foundation does not specify qualifications for this certification, the CKA is a performance-based exam, which means candidates will need to solve problems on the command line.

Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)

The Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) is designed for IT professionals building, configuring, and exposing cloud native applications for Kubernetes. The CKAD certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Core Concepts
  • Configuration
  • Multi-Container Pods
  • Observability
  • Pod Design
  • Services & Networking
  • State Persistence

Required exams: Earning the Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) certification requires passing one exam — the CKAD exam.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: The Linux Foundation recommends hands-on experience with Docker or rkt, and a programming language such as Python, Node.js, Go, or Java. Additionally, CKAD candidates should be comfortable with cloud concepts and architectures. CKAD is a performance-based exam, which means candidates will need to solve problems on the command line.

Certified Hyperledger Sawtooth Administrator (CHSA)

The Certified Hyperledger Sawtooth Administrator (CHSA) is designed for IT professionals building Hyperledger Sawtooth networks for commercial deployment. The CHFA certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Install
  • Configuration
  • Permissioning, Identity Management, and Security
  • Lifecycle
  • Troubleshooting

Required exams: Earning the Certified Hyperledger Sawtooth Administrator (CHSA) certification requires passing one exam — the CHSA exam.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: While the Linux Foundation does not specify qualifications for this certification, the CHSA is a performance-based exam, which means candidates will need to solve problems on the command line.

Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator (CHFA)

The Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator (CHFA) is designed for IT professionals deploying and operating a Hyperledger Fabric network through the command line. The CHFA certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Application Lifecycle Management
  • Install and Configure Network
  • Diagnostics and Troubleshooting
  • Membership Service Provider
  • Network Maintenance and Operations

Required exams:
Earning the Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator (CHFA) certification requires passing one exam — the CHFA exam.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: While the Linux Foundation does not specify qualifications for this certification, the CHFA is a performance-based exam, which means candidates will need to solve problems on the command line.

SUSE Linux Certifications

Though not a market leader, the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) is nevertheless a popular Linux distribution. The SUSE has a multi-level Linux certification program, which covers their base Enterprise Linux, OpenStack Cloud, Enterprise Storage, and Systems Management product sets.

SUSE offers three levels of certification:

  • SUSE Administrator (Level 1)
  • SUSE Engineer (Level 2)
  • SUSE Architect (Level 3)

SUSE Administrator (Level 1) Certifications

The SUSE Level 1 certifications have two divergent paths: Enterprise Linux 15 and Enterprise Linux 12. With the release of the SCA in Enterprise Linux 15 certification, SUSE now has parallel tracks for the Linux 12 and Linux 15 certifications. Linux 12 remains a prerequisite for some SCA+ and SCE certifications. However, SCA in Enterprise LInux 15 is a prerequisite for Linux 15 SCA+ and SCE certifications. In 2018, SUSE released an upgrade certification to bridge the gap between the two tracks.

SUSE offers six Administrator certifications:

  • SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Linux
  • SCA+ in SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability
  • SCA+ in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 for SAP Applications
  • SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in OpenStack Cloud
  • SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Storage
  • SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Systems Management

SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Linux 12

The SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Linux 12 is designed for IT professionals who have experience with SUSE Linux products. The SCA in Enterprise Linux certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Overview of SUSE Linux Enterprise
  • The Linux Filesystem
  • Work with the Command Line
  • The Vim Editor
  • Remote Administration
  • System Initialization
  • Process Management
  • Identity and Security
  • Software Management
  • Network Management
  • Storage Management
  • Administration and Monitoring
  • Installing SUSE Linux Enterprise

Required exams: Earning the SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Linux 12 certification requires passing one exam — SCA Exam 050-747.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: While SUSE does not specify qualifications for this certification, SCA was designed for professionals with hands-on experience with SUSE Linux Enterprise.

SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Linux 15

The SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Linux 15 is designed for IT professionals who have experience with SUSE Linux products. The SCA in Enterprise Linux certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Overview of SUSE Linux Enterprise
  • The Linux Filesystem
  • Work with the Command Line
  • The Vim Editor
  • Remote Administration
  • System Initialization
  • Process Management
  • Identity and Security
  • Software Management
  • Network Management
  • Storage Management
  • Administration and Monitoring
  • Installing SUSE Linux Enterprise

Required exams: Earning the SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Linux 15 certification requires passing one exam — SCA Exam 050-754.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: While SUSE does not specify qualifications for this certification, SCA was designed for professionals with hands-on experience with SUSE Linux Enterprise.

SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA+) in High Availability

The SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA+) in High Availability is designed for IT professionals who have experience with SUSE Linux products. The SCA in Enterprise Linux certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • HA Architecture
  • HA in the Public Cloud
  • Cluster Implementation Requirements
  • Cluster Node Preparation
  • Deploy a Cluster
  • Administer the HA Cluster
  • Split Brain Avoidance
  • Cluster Resources
  • Controlling Cluster Behavior using Constraints
  • Cluster Managed Storage
  • Access Control Lists

Required exams: Earning the SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA+) in High Availability certification requires passing one exam — SCA+ Exam 050-757.
Prerequisites: While candidates may take the exam, candidates must earn one of two certifications —  SCA or SCE in Enterprise Linux 12 or 15.
Required experience: While SUSE does not specify qualifications for this certification, SCA was designed for professionals with hands-on experience with SUSE Linux Enterprise.

SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA+) in Server 12 for SAP Applications

The SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA+) in Server 12 for SAP Applications is designed for IT professionals who have experience with SUSE Linux products. The SCA in Enterprise Linux certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • SLES for SAP Applications Life Cycle
  • SLES Priority Support for SAP Applications
  • SUSE Connect Program
  • Installation Media and Software Channels
  • SAP Certified Hardware
  • SLES for SAP Installation Workflow
  • Required Installation Parameters
  • Software Patterns
  • Networking
  • Kernel Settings and Tuning
  • YaST SAP Installation Wizard

Required exams: Earning this certification requires passing one exam — SCA Exam 050-748.
Prerequisites: Candidates must earn the SCA in Enterprise Linux 12 before earning this certification. This certification is only available on the Server 12 track.
Required experience: While SUSE does not specify qualifications for this certification, SCA was designed for professionals with hands-on experience with SUSE Linux Enterprise.

SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Storage

The SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Storage is designed for IT professionals who have experience with SUSE Linux products. The SCA in Enterprise Linux certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Introduction to SUSE Enterprise Storage 5
  • OpenATTIC Management Console
  • Block Storage in SES 5 with rbd
  • Object Storage Gateway (RADOS-GW)
  • Ceph Object Gateway
  • Installation of the Object Storage Gateway
  • CephFS
  • iSCSI with lrbd
  • NFS-Ganesha
  • Configuring openATTIC
  • Using openATTIC to Monitor SES

Required exams: Earning the SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Storage certification requires passing one exam — SCA Exam 050-751.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: While SUSE does not specify qualifications for this certification, SCA was designed for professionals with hands-on experience with SUSE Linux Enterprise storage solutions.

SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Systems Management

The SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Systems Management is designed for IT professionals who have experience with SUSE Linux system management products. This certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • SUSE Manager and Spacewalk
  • SUSE Manager and Salt
  • SUSE Manager Architecture and Components
  • Installation Process
  • Initial Configuration
  • Organization and SUSE Manager Configuration
  • SUSE Channel Configuration
  • SUSE Manager Web UI Features
  • The First Administrative User
  • Delegation of Administration
  • PAM Authentication

Required exams: Earning the SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Systems Management certification requires passing one exam — SCA Exam 050-742.
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: While SUSE does not specify qualifications for this certification, SCA was designed for professionals with hands-on experience with SUSE Linux Enterprise systems management.

SUSE Engineer (Level 2) Certifications

The second level of SUSE Linux certification is the SUSE Certified Engineer (SCE). Again, there are variants for the SUSE product sets. The SUSE Linux certification path requires that an SCE also hold a valid SCA for the product track. So, for example, a candidate for SCE in Enterprise Linux must possess a valid SCA in Enterprise Linux in order to receive the SCE cert.

SUSE offers four Engineer certifications:

  • SUSE Certified Engineer (SCE) in Enterprise Linux
  • SUSE Certified Engineer (SCE) in OpenStack Cloud
  • SUSE Certified Engineer (SCE) in Enterprise Storage
  • SUSE Certified Engineer (SCE) in Systems Management

SUSE Certified Engineer (SCE) in Enterprise Linux

The SUSE Certified Engineer (SCE) in Enterprise Linux is designed for IT professionals who have experience with SUSE Linux system management products. The Systems Management certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Advanced System Administration
  • Encryption
  • Shell Scripting
  • Hardware
  • Advanced Networking
  • Storage Administration
  • Centralized Authentication
  • Advanced Deployment
  • Configuration Management
  • Packaging and Updates

Required exams: Earning the SUSE Certified Engineer (SCE) in Enterprise Linux certification requires passing one exam — the Enterprise Linux 12 practicum.
Prerequisites: While candidates may take the exam at any time, candidates must pass the SCA in Enterprise Linux 15 exam before earning this certification.
Required experience: While SUSE does not specify qualifications for this certification, SCA was designed for professionals with hands-on experience with SUSE Linux Enterprise systems.

SUSE Certified Engineer (SCE) in OpenStack Cloud

The SUSE Certified Engineer (SCE) in OpenStack Cloud is designed for IT professionals who have experience with SUSE Linux OpenStack products. The OpenStack certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Plan for an OpenStack Cloud Deployment
  • Fundamentals of Networking in the Modern Datacenter
  • Overview of the OSI Model
  • Introduction to Crowbar
  • Install and Configure the Admin Node
  • Deploy a Highly Available SUSE OpenStack Cloud
  • Understand Admin Node Backups

Required exams: Earning the SUSE Certified Engineer (SCE) in OpenStack Cloud certification requires passing one exam — SCE Exam 050-746.
Prerequisites: While candidates may take the exam at any time, candidates must pass the SCA in OpenStack Cloud exam before earning this certification.
Required experience: While SUSE does not specify qualifications for this certification, SCA was designed for professionals with hands-on experience with SUSE products, and advanced networking topics.

SUSE Certified Engineer (SCA) in Enterprise Storage

The SUSE Certified Engineer (SCA) in Enterprise Storage is designed for IT professionals who have experience with SUSE storage products. The storage certification validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics and skills:

  • Understand how to shutdown a cluster
  • Use Deepsea to deploy BlueStore in single and multiple device configurations
  • Plan, define and implement CRUSH Maps and CRUSH Map Rules
  • Add Storage capacity using Deepsea to add additional nodes and OSDs
  • Configure authentication using cephx and manage user capabilities
  • Plan High Availability for SES components
  • Manage the Admin node

Required exams: Earning the SUSE Certified Engineer (SCA) in Enterprise Storage certification requires passing one exam — SCE Exam 050-752.
Prerequisites: While candidates may take the exam at any time, candidates must pass the SCA in Enterprise Storage exam before earning this certification.
Required experience: While SUSE does not specify qualifications for this certification, SCA was designed for professionals with hands-on experience with SUSE enterprise storage solutions.

SUSE Architect (Level 3) Certification

The SUSE Certified Engineer (SEA) in Enterprise Storage is designed for IT professionals who have experience broad experience all SUSE products.

Required exams: Earning the SUSE Certified Engineer (SEA) in Enterprise Storage certification requires passing at least six exams:

  • Three (3) Administrator certifications
  • Two (2) Engineer certifications, which require Administrator certifications in the same track
  • One (1) elective certification from any track

Prerequisites: Candidates attempting the SEA certification should refer to the individual Administrative and Engineer level certifications to determine prerequisites.
Required experience: While SUSE does not specify qualifications for this certification, SCA was designed for professionals with extensive hands-on experience with SUSE products.

Oracle Linux Certification

Oracle has a two-level Linux certification path for systems administrators, as well as a stand-alone Oracle Linux certification for implementation specialists who work for Oracle Linux solution providers. Oracle offers three Linux certifications:

  • Oracle Certified Associate, Linux 5 and 6
  • Oracle Certified Professional, Oracle Linux 6
  • Oracle Linux 6 Certified Implementation Specialist

Oracle Certified Associate, Linux 5 and 6

The Oracle Certified Associate, Oracle Linux 5 and 6 System Administrator certification is designed for IT professionals who administer the Oracle Linux operating system. The OCA: Linux 5 and 6 certification validates a wide range of Linux and Oracle topics and skills, including:

  • Installing Oracle Linux
  • Understanding System Configuration options
  • Managing Ksplice
  • Managing System Logging
  • Managing Users and Groups
  • Managing Storage Devices
  • Managing File Sharing
  • Managing Linux Security
  • Using OpenSSH
  • Managing the Network Configuration

Required exams: Earning this Oracle Certified Associate certification requires passing one exam — Oracle Linux 5 and 6 System Administrator (1Z0-100).
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: While Oracle does not specify qualifications for this certification, the OCA: Linux 5 and 6 was designed for professionals with hands-on experience with both Linux and Oracle systems, specifically the Oracle Linux operating system.

Oracle Certified Professional, Oracle Linux 6

The Oracle Certified Professional, Oracle Linux 6 System Administrator certification is designed for IT professionals who administer the Oracle Linux operating system. The OCP: Linux 6 certification validates a wide range of Linux and Oracle topics and skills, including:

  • Btrfs File System
  • Linux Containers (LXC)
  • Oracle Cluster File System 2
  • Core Dump Analysis
  • Configuring and Maintaining BIND
  • Virtualization with Linux
  • XFS for Oracle File System
  • Managing SELinux
  • Dynamic Tracing with Dtrace
  • Control Groups (cgroups)
  • Managing Web and Email Services

Required exams: Earning this Oracle Certified Professional certification requires passing one exam — Oracle Linux 6 Advanced System Administration (1Z0-105).
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: While Oracle does not specify qualifications for this certification, the OCP: Linux 6 was designed for professionals with hands-on experience with the Oracle Linux operating system.

Oracle Linux 6 Certified Implementation Specialist

The Oracle Linux 6 Certified Implementation Specialist certification is designed for IT and business professionals who sell and implement the Oracle Linux operating system. The Linux 6 Certified Specialist certification validates a wide range of Linux and Oracle topics and skills, including:

  • Linux Boot Process
  • Oracle Linux Package Management
  • Automate tasks and System Logging
  • Oracle Linux File Systems and Storage Administration
  • Basic Security Administration
  • Installing Oracle Linux 6
  • Oracle Linux System Configuration and Process Management
  • Ksplice Zero Downtime Updates
  • Oracle Linux System Monitoring and Troubleshooting

Required exams: Earning this Oracle Certified Professional certification requires passing one exam — Oracle Linux 6 Implementation Essentials (1Z0-460).
Prerequisites: None.
Required experience: Oracle recommends hands-on experience in the field installing and configuring Oracle Linux-based systems prior to taking this certification exam.

Open Source Recertification and Renewal

The Linux certifications we have discussed have a variety of “sell-by-dates.” Let’s take a look at some of the “rules-of-the-road” for recertification and renewal.

Linux Professional Institute (LPI) Recertification and Renewal

Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certs are each valid for five years from passing the exams for the highest level certification held. In order to retain an ACTIVE LPI certification status, a cert holder is required to recertify within five years of the certification designation.

For example, LPIC-2 holders need only pass (within five years) the relevant current LPIC-2 exams to keep both their LPIC-1 and LPIC-2 credentials valid. If a holder does not renew their credentials with the five-year window, then their certifications will become INACTIVE. At that point, they will need to retake and pass the LPIC exams for ALL of their certs.

LPIC certifications can be verified on-line at the LPI Certification Verification page, using the holder’s LPI ID and their certification’s verification code. The holder can retrieve the verification code by logging on to their LPI Profile page.

A Red Hat certification does not expire, but it can become “non-current.” This is because as the technology changes, the content of the original certification does too, therefore the cert itself can become outdated.

All Red Hat certifications are current for three years, by which time you can renew them by gaining a higher level certification, or by simply passing the current version of the original Red Hat certification exam. For the Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA) certification, holders must keep their Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) current, as well as maintain current certs in five or more of the eligible certifications from the Red Hat system administrator list.

CompTIA Linux+ Certification

The CompTIA Linux+ certification expires three years from the date of original certification and must be renewed before its expiration date. CompTIA recertification and renewal comes under the auspices of the CompTIA Continuing Education (CE) program and holders must be enrolled in that program to renew their CompTIA Linux+ certification.

Open Source Salary and Career Information

There is a strong demand for IT professionals with Linux and other open source skills. A 2018 open source job report said that 87 percent of hiring managers were having trouble finding open source talent and that 80 percent of hiring managers were looking for professionals with Linux skills.

Let’s consider what a salary an IT professional could command with an equivalent Microsoft certification. We looked at data collected by the compensation data provider PayScale for the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA), which is roughly equivalent to early-career Linux admin certifications. The average salary for IT professionals holding an MCSA was $73,000, with systems admins averaging $65,000 and senior sysadmins earning $83,000.

Compare this to salaries for Linux Systems Administrators holding the CompTIA Linux+ cert. The average salary for all jobs was $70,000, but dedicated Linux admin salaries were averaging up to $74,000. Salaries for holders of the LPI Linux Certification – Level 1 were similar, with an average of $73,000 for all jobs and senior systems admins averaging $86,000.
When we come to the entry level Red Hat Linux certification, it’s a different story. Employers are paying an average of $84,000 to people who are certified as a Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA). Linux sysadmins averaged nearly $74,000 and senior systems admins averaged a shade under $100,000. Clearly, there’s a high “willingness to pay” for people who hold a Red Hat admin cert.

Stepping up a level, the average salary for the Linux Professional Institute Certification 2 (LPIC-2) was $76,000, with Linux System Administrators averaging $85,000. At the second tier of the Red Hat Linux certification path, the average salary for Red Hat Certified Engineers (RHCE) was $98,000, with salaries for Linux system administrators reported as high as $112,000 and as high as $121,000 for senior systems admins.

There appears to be a higher willingness to pay for people with the vendor-specific Red Hat certs, compared with the vendor-neutral CompTIA and LPI Linux certifications. Clearly, there must be some element of supply and demand that drives up Red Hat certification salaries, but a look at PayScale’s list of most common employers for people holding the certs, may give us an additional clue. The top employers for RHCEs were all leading high tech vendors — Rackspace, Cisco, Dell, Apple, Google, Intel, and Red Hat themselves. By contrast, the top employers for CompTIA Linux+ certified people are systems integrators and defense contractors like General Dynamics, Leidos, and Raytheon, whose expenditures are constrained by the terms of the government contracts that they are servicing.

Clearly, a Linux certification will be just one component in the determination of the salary that an IT pro can command. Other factors will play a big part in how much a job will pay. So, for example, although the average salary for CompTIA Linux+ is $70,000, PayScale reports salaries up to $107,000 for Linux+ people in Seattle and up to $132,000 in Washington DC.

Open Source & Linux Certification Training

As we mentioned earlier, there is a strong demand for IT professionals with Linux skills. Such is the demand that 55 percent of employers surveyed are offering to pay for employee certifications. With that in mind, be sure to check in with CBT Nuggets for relevant video training courses to help you prepare for your chosen Linux certification path.

CBT Nuggets has a full set of training classes that support the Linux certification programs from CompTIA, the Linux Foundation, and the Linux Professional Institute (LPI).

In addition, we have training on other Linux distributions such as CentOS and Ubuntu, as well as popular open source technologies like the Ansible open-source software provisioning tool and the Apache Hadoop big data platform.

Finally, of course, the Kali Linux distribution is an important tool used by cybersecurity specialists for penetration testing. Our video course Penetration Testing with Linux Tools is helpful preparation for certification as a Kali Linux Certified Professional or as an Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP).

Good luck to you as you start on your Linux certification path. Our course offerings do change from time-to-time, so be sure to check CBT Nuggets for new and updated on-line courses that are relevant to your personal Linux certification program.

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