Technology / System Admin

Top 5 Linux Certs for Beginners in 2024

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Published on July 4, 2023

Have you ever wondered what you really should know about Linux as an aspiring IT professional? The answer is that we should all continually improve our Linux skills, learning as much as possible. Linux is found in most server rooms, meaning the demand for IT pros who know the ins and outs of this powerful and versatile operating system is high.

IT certifications are a great way to develop and demonstrate competency in a particular IT domain. So where do we start when it comes to Linux certs? If you want to learn Linux skills, here are five certifications you should earn.

1. Linux Essentials

Some people will tell you that it’s a waste of time to pursue fundamental certifications like Linux Essentials from the Linux Professional Institute (LPI). But there’s nothing wrong with starting with the basics. Earning a Linux Essentials cert will help you decide if you really want to go down the Linux track. And it will fit nicely into an incremental, slow but steady approach to learning. 

Linux Essentials will give you a good foundation, covering just enough topics to introduce you to the open-source operating system. Here are some of the topics you’ll learn:

  1. The Linux Community and a Career in Open Source

  2. Finding Your Way on a Linux System

  3. The Power of the Command Line

  4. The Linux Operating System

  5. Security and File Permissions

Every IT professional should know something about Linux, and this is a good start. If you’re a systems administrator, knowing Linux is a must. Linux is found in just about every server room these days. 

2. Linux+

You can’t go wrong with any industry-recognized certification offerings from CompTIA. Because CompTIA certs are vendor-neutral, the knowledge and skills they validate can be applied anywhere — regardless of vendor. For that reason, CompTIA certifications are an ideal starting point for IT newcomers.

The Linux+ covers skills that include:

  • System management

  • Scripting, Containers and Automation

  • Security

  • Troubleshooting

Each CompTIA exam tests the student’s knowledge of a fully detailed list of objectives, which is freely available on their website. Successful completion of the Linux+ certification signifies a robust knowledge of the operating system’s environment and capabilities.

As CBT Nuggets author Josh Burnett points out, Linux+ is a good choice for those seeking to prove themselves as systems administrators, network administrators, or penetration testers. And it’s a good stepping stone for those looking to prepare for higher-level certs, such as CompTIA’s Pentest+ or CySA+. 

3. LPIC-1

Linux+ and LPIC-1 are separate and distinct certifications, but that wasn’t always the case. As Team Nuggets explains in their LPIC-1 vs Linux+ breakdown, “Until April 2019, CompTIA and the LPI had a partnership that guaranteed LPIC-1 certification to anyone who passed CompTIA's Linux+ exam.” Choosing between the two certs today, you may find LPIC-1 more challenging than Linux+, and it may hold more sway in the IT industry. Plus it requires the completion of two exams rather than the single Linux+ test. 

Like CompTIA, LPI exams are vendor- and distribution-neutral.  LPI says that the LPIC-1 validates a candidate's proficiency in real-world system administration.  LPIC-1 is a prerequisite for the more advanced LPIC-2 and LPIC-3 certifications.

4. LPIC-2

While LPIC-1 is the true beginner Linux certification from LPI, we include LPIC-2 here because it’s a good way to round out the skills of a Linux professional early in their career. As expected, it is more difficult and more in-depth than LPIC-1, and it also involves two exams. 

The fact is, an LPIC-2 certification shows that an IT professional can proficiently maintain and configure many of the core technologies on a Linux system, such as DHCP, DNS,  SSH, FTP, and NFS.

You might say that LPIC-2 deals with more of the hands-on, practical tasks of a Linux engineer. It can validate a candidate’s ability to manage small- to medium-sized networks.


Unlike the certifications from CompTIA and LPI, RedHat exams deal with proprietary products. Linux may be open-source software, but many companies have used it to create their own commercial offerings. Like LPI, RedHat uses a multi-tiered certification path to develop the careers of Linux professionals. The entry-level exam is the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA). 

Why get the RHCSA rather than one of the vendor-neutral alternatives? One consideration is money. In a previous article, we made the case that employers are willing to pay higher salaries for RedHat-certified professionals.  

The bottom line here is that if you think you might be administering a RedHat Enterprise Linux environment, or you think you’d like to, the RHCSA is the place to start. 

Final Thoughts

Of course, this is not a comprehensive treatment of all the many Linux certifications you can pursue. Have a look at A Complete Open Source Certification Guide for more along those lines. Every journey begins with a single step, as they say. And you can’t expect to know everything about Linux by preparing for one exam. 

The best advice is to start somewhere, learn what you can, and try to put your knowledge into practice. Developing a respectable Linux skill set will take you a long way on your information technology journey. 

Ready to Add Linux to Your Skillset?

Linux is far removed from being a fancy buzzword. It is now found in just about every server room. As a result, organizations value IT pros who can leverage the Linux operating system and other open-source technologies.

Find the Linux training you need at CBT Nuggets. Whether you are new to systems administration or want to add Linux to your existing skillset, we’ve got you covered. Take your sysadmin game to the next level with online Linux training. 

Not a CBT Nuggets subscriber? Sign up for a 7-day free trial to get a feel of what it’s like to learn IT with us. Browse all of our Linux training and gain skills that will make you a more valuable IT pro.


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