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 a job market that’s hungry for your skills.
How well does the certification prepare you for the real world? To illustrate that, The Linux Foundation is highlighting some of those who have recently passed the certification examinations. These testimonials should help you decide if either the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator or the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer certification is right for you. In this article, recently certified engineer Georgi Yadkov shares his experience.
Linux.com: How did you become interested in Linux and open source?
Georgi Yadkov: My first experience with Linux was 15 years ago when I received a CD with Knoppix as a gift — one of the first live CD Linux distributions. Back then, I was totally amazed when I booted from the optical drive, and some minutes later I was browsing the Internet.
Some years later (while attending university), a couple of students and myself proposed to the faculty to install MOODLE (open source course management system) in order to improve the collaboration and communication between the students and teachers. That was the first time I’d ever installed a Linux web server. I was very pleased with the results. Later, it would become my career.
Linux.com: What Linux Foundation course did you achieve certification in? Why did you select that particular course?
Yadkov: My journey started a year ago. I decided to enroll myself for the e-learning course for LFCS (which was huge at that time) and if I managed to pass the exam to prepare for LFCE. At that point, I had approximately five years of experience with server and desktop Linux machines. My overall level was very low and my knowledge was condensed in the bookmarks with the tutorials which I used to configure my servers (like how to install Apache, etc.). I learned about the course from the edX free course and decided that it will be great opportunity to expand my knowledge in this area.
There were numerous challenges for me during the last 12 months, like difficulties in understanding some of the topics and grasping the concepts, technical failures during the exams, lack of time (my second daughter was born last June), and lack of peer support (we have a strong commitment to Microsoft in the office). The most difficult moment was when I finished the LFCS training materials and was heading to enroll for the exam. I checked the competency document, and I found that I was missing a lot of things and would have to go back to the basics with the edX course. It was quite frustrating and demoralizing, and it took me a considerable amount of time to overcome it (2-3 months).
In May 2017, I successfully passed LFCS, and in July 2017 the LFCE.
When I was researching the available options for certification, I chose The Linux Foundation because I liked the curriculum, the practice-oriented approach of the exam, and mainly because I was able to prepare and take the exam from home.
Linux.com: What are your career goals? How do you see Linux Foundation certification helping you achieve those goals and benefiting your career?
Yadkov: I see myself in the future designing, implementing, and maintaining complex infrastructure by integrating different technologies. For me, the Linux Foundation certification is a step toward that direction. I was able to grasp how some of the fundamental Internet technologies work and how they fit in the Linux server. Definitely the biggest eye-opener was that I realized how much I don’t know.
Linux.com: What other hobbies or projects are you involved in? Do you participate in any open source projects at this time?
Yadkov: In my free time, I tried to be offline as much as possible. Usually I spend my time with my family and friends.
Linux.com: Do you plan to take future Linux Foundation courses? If so, which ones?
Yadkov: Maybe in the near future the OpenStack Administration Fundamentals.
Linux.com: In what ways do you think the certification will help you as a systems administrator in today’s market?
Yadkov: The Linux Foundation courses cover the main foundations of Linux server administration. Passing the exam not only provides a credible certificate but validates that the candidate can apply the knowledge to solve practical problems related to server administration under time constraint.
Linux.com: What Linux distribution do you prefer and why?
Linux.com: Are you currently working as a systems administrator? If so, what role does Linux play?
Yadkov: I’m working as IT manager in a language school. Maintaining our MOODLE installation and the underlying infrastructure is a part of my responsibilities. We rely on Linux for almost everything related to MOODLE — web server, DB server, mail server, backup server, etc. Also we rely solely on Linux for the software development process — it’s the OS of the developers and testers, web server for the tasks and bug tracking system, etc.
Linux.com: Where do you see the Linux job market growing the most in the coming years?
Yadkov: Many organizations will switch to cloud services and infrastructure, and there will be a lot of demand for experts which could design and maintain complex infrastructure.
Linux.com: What advice would you give those considering certification for their preparation?
Yadkov: The preparation for the exams demands persistence and a lot of dedicated time for learning and practice. Looking back, I don’t think that cramming for a couple of days before the exam is a viable option for success.
Having a good plan is a huge step toward the certification. I personally prefer to imagine every step backwards — from the exam date back to today. This exercise helped me to list all the required tasks, to evaluate the needed time, and to plan my daily schedule accordingly.
Another key aspect for me was practicing. You should practice, practice, practice, and while practicing you shouldn’t only try to do the things right but rather to examine how the system behave when something is wrong. I found, at least for myself, that by making mistakes I was able to understand and even memorize the things better and thus be better prepared when the time comes for the production servers.
The positives from this journey in the Linux world are many and with enormous value for me and the people around me (employer, colleagues and friends):
The exams for the certificate and the fee motivated me to keep going through the course (which can’t be said about the free edX course).
I can now explain some of the key Linux concepts.
I have a position in the emacs vs vim war — just joking. I know like 10 percent of the functionality, and it is awesome.
I gain confidence that I when don’t understand something I can read the manual and grasp the key points.
I can set up and maintain basic server configurations and desktops (doing it faster and better with each instance).
Learn more about Linux through the free “Introduction to Linux” course from The Linux Foundation and edX.