The Linux Foundation offers many resources for developers, users, and administrators of Linux systems. One of the most important offerings is its Linux Certification Program. The program is designed to give you a way to differentiate yourself in this competitive job market.
How well does the certification prepare you for the real world? To illustrate that, the Linux Foundation will be featuring some of those who have recently passed the certification examinations. These testimonials should serve to help you decide if either the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) or the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) certification is right for you. In this feature, we talk with LFCE Alexandre Krispin.
How did you become interested in Linux and open source?
Back in 2005, when I was 18, I met someone from Germany who used SUSE. In 2007 I bought my first computer from Apple, with Mac OS X. When I had to change my computer—maybe 2 years later—I did not have a lot of money and heard that those using Linux had to pay less to get the same quality offered by Unix systems like Mac OS X. I say “quality” because I read at the time that it was hassle-free because there were no viruses, etc. That’s what initially hooked me on Linux (that and Apple products were too expensive). When I finally started using Linux, I experienced the joy of being free to do whatever I wanted with my own computer—the desktop was completely customizable.
What Linux Foundation course did you achieve certification in? Why did you select that particular course?
I achieved the LFCE. Why? If I’m being honest, I felt I had enough knowledge and skills to allow me to skip the LFCS. Even so, I did study for the LFCS to be sure my level who be sufficient. The LFCE is about setting up web servers, mail servers, troubleshooting with tools, etc.—which is exactly what I wanted/needed.
What are your career goals? How do you see Linux Foundation certification helping you achieve those goals and benefiting your career?
In the long run, I do not yet know my career goals. In the short run, I want to focus on programming, Linux, and networking skills. To be more specific, I am very interested in hacking, all things related to Big Data, and telephony (what can be achieved with the SIP protocol particularly). So in the near future, I want to use Python, take courses with Coursera to learn statistics and how to analyze Big Data. Also (and this is not exactly related), my other field of interest is telecommunication, because I think we can make money with VoIP servers like Asterisk, so why not try to create my own company…once I’ve improved my skills enough to be able to do so.
What other hobbies or projects are you involved in? Do you participate in any open source projects at this time?
I would like to participate in SaltStack, but my skills are not yet where they need to be. I began to learn RabbitMQ because it is better documented than Zero MQ (for me), which is used in Salt Stack. Still Salt Stack remains a challenging project to grasp. Anyway, I am participating in my own small projects so that, later one, I am able to participate in bigger and public projects (by public, I mean easily available via Git, for example, and freely accessible).
Although they are not related to Unix and programming, my main hobbies are martial arts and b-boying (break dancing).
Do you plan to take future Linux Foundation courses? If so, which ones?
It depends; but because I am interested in hacking, I am also interested in security-related topics, so if any interesting security courses are offered, why not? I frequently look to the news, and if I see interesting course outlines, I would like to take it. Right now, I am busy at improving my programming skills. So in the near future, no.
In what ways do you think the certification will help you as a systems administrator in today’s market?
It is very hard to show specific skills without being experienced at the same time. And I admit that the best way to learn is with the work experience. But it is really hard to attract employers without it. At my work there are people just motivated by the paycheck, because they have experience, even though I am better with Linux (particularly troubleshooting), Since they have more experience than I, they will manage to land a job without any problem. So the certification certainly helps when you are inexperienced. Also, it helps you understand your own level of expertise.
What Linux distribution do you prefer and why?
It depends. For my desktop, I use Arch Linux because it is a rolling release distribution. So it’s easy to update. For learning things, I use CentOS because it is free and very well documented. For learning more than what I read, I use Gentoo. If you have the skills to use Gentoo, you have the skills to use any distribution.
Are you currently working as a Linux systems administrator? If so, what role does Linux play?
Not as a Linux administrator. But I do work as a network administrator.
Where do you see the Linux job market growing the most in the coming years?
I would say in telephony, but I don’t have any data to back up that big picture…
What advice would you give those considering certification for their preparation?
I would say that using VirtualBox is very useful for practice (although Myvultr, DigitalOcean, or any service that will rent a virtual machine is better because you can use a real IP and have a real feel of what happens with every ports scan or security issue on the Internet). Also, I would say use the man pages to understand how commands work, as well as all of the options available for every command. Unfortunately, books are always outdated at some point, and man pages are often updated. Lastly, the courses of Sander Van Vugt for the RHCSA and RHCE certifications are really good and are more or less equivalent.
Advance your career in system administration! Check out the Essentials of System Administration course from The Linux Foundation.