Last week at LinuxCon and CloudOpen, the Linux Foundation announced a new certification program that aims to make it easier for Linux professionals to demonstrate their knowledge.
Targeting both early-career and engineer-level systems administrators, the program offers Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) and Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) designations, verifying skills through performance-based exams that are available online from anywhere and at any time.
The exams cost $300 each, and those who get certified will receive a graphical mark designating their completion of the exam that can be displayed on resumes, LinkedIn profiles and personal websites, for example. The Linux Foundation will also help successful candidates market themselves at venues such as LinuxCon and on Linux.com, it said.
'A Hallmark of Quality'
“Our mission is to address the demand for Linux that the industry is currently experiencing,” said Jim Zemlin, the Linux Foundation's executive director. "We are making our training program and Linux certification more accessible to users worldwide, since talent isn’t confined to one geography or one distribution.
“Our new certification program will enable employers to easily identify Linux talent when hiring and uncover the best of the best," Zemlin added. "We think Linux professionals worldwide will want to proudly showcase their skills through these certifications and that these certificates will become a hallmark of quality throughout our industry.”
The announcement of the new program follows the foundation's launch earlier this year of a free "Introduction to Linux" massive open online course (MOOC); that offering began Aug. 1 with more than 230,000 registered students.
Three Distro Options
A committee of industry experts participated in the creation of the new certification exams, which were two years in the making and reflect a deep analysis of what skills are required of today’s Linux professionals, the foundation said.
Rather than using a traditional format designed to test theory with multiple-choice questions, for instance, the new exams will test professionals on their ability to solve real problems in the command line.
Recognizing the diversity of the Linux ecosystem, the Linux Foundation is giving exam takers a choice of three Linux distributions with which to take the tests: CentOS, openSUSE or Ubuntu.
Exam takers need only have a Web browser, microphone, Internet connection and webcam. They can be anywhere in the world, thus opening up testing opportunities to people who previously might not have had them.
The video below offers an animated overview.
'This Fills a Void'
"I do think there is a need for this type of Linux certification program given the continued need for talent and expertise in this area," Jay Lyman, a senior analyst for enterprise software with 451 Research, told Linux.com. "Not only do you have the normal Linux server administrator and IT operations work, which has continued to grow in the enterprise over the years, but Linux is an increasingly important operating system and ecosystem in terms of virtualization and cloud computing, as well as mobile devices and management.
"I like the focus on community distributions such as CentOS, openSUSE and Ubuntu, which is also something that's needed," Lyman added. "The training and certification programs for the commercial cousins of these distros are already well-established, but they are lacking for these popular, community versions of Linux, so this fills a void."