With the South African government pushing the use of open source software and businesses realising the benefits of open source, the demand for IT staff with Linux skills is growing. Fortunately there are a number of quality training courses available to IT workers eager to upgrade their skills. We look at the four best training and certification opportunities.
The CompTIA-administered Linux+ course is an entry-level certification for anyone wanting to learn basic Linux system administration skills. Although anyone can do the course it is ideally intended for technicians with six-months experience installing, operating and maintaining Linux operating systems. The Linux+ exam covers basic Linux management from the command line, user administration and software configuration and management. Because it is a vendor-neutral certification it provides technicians with a solid grounding in all things Linux. Although there are many training institutions that offer Linux+ training locally, the exams can be sat by anyone who has working knowledge of Linux. The exams are intended to recognise on-the-job Linux proficiency.
Linux Professional Institute (LPI)
Another popular vendor-neutral certification is the LPI. Administered by the Linux Professional Institute, the LPI offers a range of certifications that are, like the Linux+, intended to recognise on-the-job Linux skills. The LPI certifications cover three different skill levels. The LPIC1 certification is for junior level administrators and is followed by the LPIC2 and LPIC3 certifications, each of which include two exams.
The LPIC1 exams cover the basic skills required to use the command line to install and configure a workstation and network connectivity. LPIC2 tests an administrator’s skills in running a small to medium-sized site by planning, implementing, maintaining, securing and troubleshooting a small mixed network. LPIC3 covers installing and maintaining Linux on a number of computers, using LDAP to integrate with Unix and Windows services, security, SAMBA and network planning.
The LPI works through master affiliates around the globe. In South Africa the master affiliate is ICDL Africa which administers the examinations. Like the Linux+ course, the LPI certificate is designed to recognise the skills of working Linux administrators. There are, however, a number of training centres that offer LPI-specific courses.
When Novell bought Suse Linux it introduced a set of certifications to recognise two levels of Linux skills. The primary certifications offered by Novell are the Certified Linux Professional and Certified Linux Engineer titles. The Certified Linux Professional certification is aimed at entry-level Linux administrators. The Certified Linux Engineer (CLE) certification is for administrators with more advanced Linux skills.
Because the certifications are based around the Suse version of Linux, some of the skills are not transferable to other environments, although experienced Linux users should have no problem learning the additional skills. Novell has a number of training partners in South Africa which can be found at http://www.novell.com/partnerlocator/emea_locator.do
Novell also has a Certified Linux Desktop Administrator certification which is aimed at desktop administrators that have been working with Windows but now want to extend their skills to the Suse desktop.
Linux giant Red Hat also has a wide range of certifications available. The original certification was the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) launched in 1999. But since then a number of other certifications have been made available. The Red Hat Certified Technician title is for technicians able to set up new Red Hat Linux systems and attach them to networks. The Red Hat Certified Engineer is for more advanced technicians and covers everything from server installs to network configuration and troubleshooting. The Red Hat Certified Architect is more advanced and covers areas such as planning and managing Linux systems in large and complex environments.
Red Hat now also offers the Red Hat Certified Security Specialist and the Red Hat Certified Datacentre Specialist certifications as well as JBoss certifications. Locally, training and certification for the RHCE and RHCT courses are provided by Obsidian Systems. Training on the Red Hat courses are specific to the Red Hat distribution.
Popular Linux distribution Ubuntu also offers a training and certification programme. For users wanting to learn how to use a Linux desktop the Ubuntu Desktop Course will provide them with the skills necessary to use an Ubuntu desktop in their day-to-day work. For administrators looking for certification, the Ubuntu Certified Professional is available. Based on the LPI level one exams anyone wanting this certification must pass the LPI 101 and 102 exams as well as the Ubuntu-specific 199 exams. The certification recognises the ability to install Ubuntu and configure and administrate it and is aimed at administrators familiar with Linux. Locally the Ubuntu training courses and certification are provided by Obsidian Systems.
Linux training in SA – discussion