A Linux cert can help you progress in your IT career.The increase of open source technologies, using primarily either Linux itself, or one of its many offshoot flavourf, has led to greater demand for experienced IT professionals trained in those domains — especially here in India as our reputation for IT talent grows. Linux is fast becoming an essential skill for web developers and other IT professionals. As noted by CompTIA, Linux “powers most of the world’s super-computers, the majority of web servers” and millions of Android devices.

This article provides a brief overview of the Linux certifications most in-demand by Indian firms. Possessing any of these certifications is certain to increase the likelihood of a successful Linux career.

CompTIA Linux+

CompTIA offers some solid entry level certifications for junior-level system administrators and web and software developers. This certification provides a great framework for knowledge of Linux.

Earning Linux+ — formally known as Linux+ Powered by LPI — certification requires two examinations: LX0-101 and LX-102. While there are no prerequisites for the exam, it is recommended that candidates complete certifications in CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and have at least 12 months of experience as a Linux administrator. Each exam has 60 questions, with a duration of 90 minutes. A passing score is 500 out of a range of 200 – 800.

The exam is currently only available in English. There are plans to soon make it available in other languages: German, Portuguese (Brazilian), Traditional Chinese, and Spanish.

In addition to the CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI certification, candidates can receive two other recognized certifications at no additional costs or examinations — LPIC-1 and SUSE Certified Linux Administrator (CLA). For additional information on registering for the additional certifications, click here.

LPIC-1 (Linux Server Professional)

If you don’t want to go the route of earning CompTIA’s Linux+, you can earn LPIC-1 by itself — the Linux Professional Institute’s first certification in its multi-level Linux certification program. LPIC-1 certification focuses on the basics of Linux such as command line, maintenance tasks, help users, add users, backup and restore, shutdown and reboot, install and configure workstations and adding workstations to a network.

In order to achieve this certification, candidates will need to have cleared the 101 and 102 exams. As mentioned above, if you already have CompTIA Linux+ Certification Powered by LPI, you can receive this certification without additional fees or exams — just apply for it with your registered LPI ID.

LPIC-2 (Linux Network Professional)

LPIC-2 is the second certification in LPI’s multilevel Linux certification program and focuses on the administration of small to medium sized networks. This includes the skills necessary to plan, implement, secure, and troubleshoot networks that include LAN server, internet Gateway, firewall, VPN, SSH, Internet Server, and automation.

In order to achieve this certification you need to clear exams 201 and 202. An active LPIC-1 certification is a prerequisite for earning the LPIC-2.

LPIC-3 (Linux Enterprise Professional Certification)

LPIC-3 is the top level certification in LPI’s Linux program. LPIC-3 is for professionals working at the enterprise-level. Prerequisites for this certification include active LPIC-1 and LPIC-2 certifications, and passing one of the specialty exams in the areas of Mixed Environment, Security, or Virtualization & High Availability.

Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA)

This entry level certification is offered by Red Hat and focuses on system administration skills. RHCSA certified individuals have the skills to perform core system administrations required in Red Hat Enterprise Linux environments. According to Red Hat, RHCSA certificate holders are able to:

  • Understand and use essential tools for handling files, directories, command-line environments, and documentation
  • Operate running systems, including booting into different run levels, identifying processes, starting and stopping virtual machines, and controlling services
  • Configure local storage using partitions and logical volumes
  • Create and configure file systems and file system attributes, such as permissions, encryption, access control lists, and network file systems
  • Deploy, configure, and maintain systems, including software installation, update, and core services
  • Manage users and groups, including use of a centralized directory for authentication
  • Manage security, including basic firewall and SELinux configuration

There are no prerequisites to the RHCSA, but Red Hat recommends candidates attend one of their training courses for Windows system administrators — RH124 or RH134. Candidates will need to clear the EX200 exam which is performance based with a half-day hands-on-lab.

Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)

RHCE is a mid-to-advanced level certification focusing on the more advanced Linux system administration skills like security and installation of common enterprise network services. This is a great certification for RHCSAs who want to move up in their domain, and experienced senior system administrators who need a certification.

As a prerequisite, candidates must possess an active RHSA certification. The RHCE certification exam is the EX300. This is also a performance based 150 minute hands-on lab based exam. Red Hat recommends that candidates planning to sit for the exam have completed Red Hat courses Linux essentials (RH033), Linux administration (RH131 or RH 133) and Linux networking and security (RH253).

Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA)

Red Hat‘s capstone certificate! A RHCA is an RHCE who has attained their highest certification. The RHCA credential authenticates that professionals have expertise in the areas like OpenStack, Pass-Platform as a Service, Hybrid cloud storage, and JBoss Administration. This is the most complete enterprise level certification. In order to achieve this certification you need clear any five exams out of the following list:

  • EX210 – Red Hat Certified System Administrator in Red Hat OpenStack exam
  • EX220 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Hybrid Cloud Management exam
  • EX236 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Hybrid Cloud Storage exam
  • EX248 – Red Hat Certified JBoss Administrator exam
  • EX280 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Platform-as-a-Service exam
  • EX318 – Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator exam
  • EX401 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Deployment and Systems Management exam
  • EX413 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Server Hardening exam
  • EX436 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Clustering and Storage Management exam
  • EX442 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Performance Tuning exam
  • EX333 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Enterprise Security: Network Services exam (Retired)
  • EX423 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Directory Services and Authentication exam (Retired)
  • EX429 – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in SELinux Policy Administration exam (Retired)

Red Hat strongly recommends candidates prepare for these exams by completing the respective courses for each.

Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) – Oracle Linux 5 and 6 System Administration

A Linux cert can help you progress in your IT career.The OCA is one of two excellent Linux certifications offered by Oracle. It covers a variety of Linux skills — installation using the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernal, configuring Linux services as well as monitoring and troubleshooting.

OCA is targeted for system, technical and database administrators and support engineers, The OCA exam (1Z0-100) consists of 109 multiple-choice questions to be completed in 150 minutes. 64 percent is a passing grade. Oracle recommends candidates complete Oracle Linux System Administration for this exam preparation.

One caveat to remember, passing scores for Oracle exams are subject to change without notice and may vary between the same exams administered on different dates.

Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) – Oracle Linux 6 Advanced System Administration

OCP certificate holders are skilled in utilizing the advanced features of Oracle Linux to more effectively manage system resources. To be eligible for the OCP level exam (1Z0-105), candidates must be certified either as an OCA, or an Oracle Linux Administrator Certified Associate (retired).

The OCP exam passing scores and format have yet to be determined, but should be available June 29, 2015. It is recommended that candidates successfully complete the Oracle Linux Advanced Administration course and have significant levels of hands-on practice or “on-the-job” experience completing tasks that may be on the exam. To view a complete listing of possible exam topics click here.

The demands of India’s IT Industry are increasing daily and continue to vary widely. However, a strong background in Linux with any of these certifications will give you more opportunity and success in your career.