Linux Foundation certifications are taking off

The new Linux Foundation certification exams are proving to be very popular, but very tough.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

According to a study conducted earlier this year by Dice, the tech career site, 93 percent of hiring managers are looking to employ Linux professionals. If you want one of those jobs, a great way to increase your chances is to go to human resources with one of the Linux Foundation's new certifications as a Certified SysAdmin (LFCS) or Certified Engineer (LFCE).


The fact that Linux jobs are hot has not gone unnoticed. According to Dan Brown, The Linux Foundation's PR & Marketing Manager, "The Linux Foundation’s Intro to Linux Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which can help with basic prep for the LF Certified SysAdmin Exam, has had over 270,000 registrations from 100+ countries." That has made this online class the biggest MOOC ever.

While these Linux Foundation certifications are designed to be complementary to the lower-level Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certifications, they're more comparable to high-level certifications such as Red Hat's Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) in that they're not easy to pass. 

The exams are all conducted from a Linux shell — no easy-to-use graphical tools here! — and have a pass-rate of below 60 percent. As tough as they are, however, 80 percent of the people who've taken the exam would recommend seeking the certification to a friend.

Scared of those odds? Well, I can't blame you, but there's now a free exam prep guide to help you get ready and build up your courage.

In addition, The Linux Foundation's CMO Amanda McPherson, recently blogged, "When you sign up for the exam you can set the date to take it well in the future or you can choose a date when you’re ready. It’s not an instant process since a proctor has to be scheduled and so on. We encourage you to sign up for the exam and get your testing date scheduled so you can get your preparation underway. You have 12 months from the time you sign up to take the exam, so you can give yourself as much time as needed to prepare and you’ll be in the system for updates or changes."

The Linux Foundation will also be publishing stories about people's experiences with the exams. The first of these tells the tale of Will Sheldon, an IT manager for open source consulting company Appnovation Technologies, who took the LFCE exam and passed. If you like hearing about how other people faced the same situation you're getting ready for, stories like Will's can be helpful.

Unlike the Red Hat exams, which are Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)-specific, there are three varieties of Linux Foundation exams: Ubuntu, CentOS, and openSUSE. So far, half of the exam takers have chosen Ubuntu with 45 percent taking the CentOS exam, and only 5 percent opting for the openSUSE test.

The LFCS and LFCE exams cost $300 each. Certification holders will receive a graphical mark designating their completion of the exam that can be displayed on resumes, LinkedIn profiles, Web sites and more. If you elect to take one, I wish you all the luck in the world.

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