The Linux Foundation offers many resources for developers, users, and administrators of Linux systems. One of the most important offerings is the Linux Certification Program, which is designed to give you a way to differentiate yourself in today’s competitive job market.
How well does the certification prepare you for the real world? To illustrate that, The Linux Foundation will be featuring some recently certified admins and engineers. 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, we talk with Alberto Bullo, who recently completed the certification process for both LFCS (Ubuntu) and LFCE (CentOS).
Linux.com: How did you become interested in Linux and open source?
Alberto Bullo: I started using Linux few years ago out of curiosity when my old computer started to get slow and wanted to try something lighter. At the time, I had a disk of Fedora lying around from a conference and managed to get it installed and working. Since then, I started using it for everyday tasks to get more familiar with the alternative software. I really liked the fact that I could select any distro I wanted and have full control of the operating system. I also used Linux for university projects and started to better understand how to use the utilities and services. Open source projects caught my attention when I started using them on my first job as they gave me the ability to adjust the features and code to my needs but also to contribute back to the community. I then started visiting open source conferences to get more involved and became a big fan of the initiative.
Linux.com: What Linux Foundation course did you achieve certification in? Why did you select that particular course?
Bullo: I started with completing LFCS (Ubuntu) and achieved LFCE (CentOS) afterwards. I chose Linux Foundation certification because I like practical exams where you are in front of a terminal and reflect real-world scenario problems to be solved. This gives you the ability to think of multiple ways to solve a task but also how to find and understand the available documentation from the manual pages and help options. It’s a challenging test, and very different from traditional paper-based exams that I was accustomed to.
Linux.com: What are your career goals? How do you see Linux Foundation certification helping you achieve those goals and benefiting your career?
Bullo: In the long run, I would like to become a system engineer or trainer. The Linux Foundation helped me build a solid foundation of how to manage and administer different systems and services that are crucial to achieve the goal and progress with my career. I am also planning to continue to work with other DevOps training provided by The Linux Foundation to extend my skills in development tools.
Linux.com: What other hobbies or projects are you involved in? Do you participate in any open source projects at this time?
Bullo: I like home automation projects and am currently working on finding different solutions using open source software and micro-controllers. I participated twice in open source projects by raising bug reports, feature requests, and support on language-localization. Currently, I am working on university projects for academic research at the InSPIRE research center of UCLan University. I am looking forward to participating and being more involved in other projects in the near future.
Linux.com: Do you plan to take future Linux Foundation courses? If so, which ones?
Linux.com: In what ways do you think the certification will help you as a systems administrator in today’s market?
Bullo: Being a hands-on test certificate reflecting real-world scenarios, it requires a solid understanding and a lot practice to pass the exam. The knowledge acquired by achieving the certification will help me troubleshoot and perform many system administration tasks in the work environment. Being also a vendor-independent test, it gives you the freedom to select from the available distributions that are more suitable and beneficial, based on your preference. As today’s technology is mostly based on Linux systems this is the perfect way to sharpen and gain necessary skills required to manage and deliver better results.
Linux.com: What Linux distribution do you prefer and why?
Bullo: I am currently using Ubuntu and Fedora as my preferred desktop distributions due to the great communities around them, ease of use, and the long-term support they provide. I have been distro-hopping for some time trying out rolling release distributions like the openSUSE Tumbleweed and Arch Linux derivatives, as I like the idea of having updates as soon as they are released. To that end, I am using a mixture of different distros at home right now. For server use, I tend to prefer CentOS as its very well documented and stable.
Linux.com: Are you currently working as a Linux systems administrator? If so, what role does Linux play?
Bullo: Sadly, I am still not working as a Linux system administrator but my role requires me to troubleshoot issues which need Linux knowledge as most, if not all, of our servers are Linux based.
There were instances where I put into practice what I have learned about how to identify system issues, so Linux plays a very important role on my everyday tasks.
Linux.com: Where do you see the Linux job market growing the most in the coming years?
Bullo: I am sure anything related to Linux will grow exponentially in the coming years, especially with the continued rise of cloud technologies. Companies are continuously developing and utilizing open source software for their needs and benefiting from the great community behind them. Small businesses and startups are also enjoying the ability to scale fast with the open source technologies and started transitioning to Linux based solutions.
Linux.com: What advice would you give those considering certification for their preparation?
Bullo: Practice a lot on a virtual environment. The exams are going to test your knowledge of finding possible problems that prevent you from completing the tasks and require you to find documentation and/or configurations needed to achieve the goal at hand. Don’t be limited to the certification domains but also try to understand the technology behind it, that will make it easier for you to troubleshoot in case you are not able to perform a task on the exam. This is especially true for the LFCE certification, which requires you to know the services and have a solid understanding of the available options. Don’t be limited by studying from one source; there are multiple books available that cover the services and system admin tasks needed to pass and gain the necessary knowledge.
Linux.com: If you have found employment in the IT industry, do you feel like your certification was crucial or beneficial?
Bullo: The course handbooks for both the LFCE and LFCS exams reflect a lot of services that are used in a real work environment. I have no doubt that the certification is beneficial to troubleshoot and perform daily tasks but also in helping with Linux-related questions raised in an interview.
Learn more about Linux through the free “Introduction to Linux” course from The Linux Foundation and edX.