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 will be spotlighting 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 or the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer certification is right for you. In this installment, we talk with recently certified James Medeiros.
Linux.com: How did you become interested in Linux and open source?
James Medeiros: I spent my formative years glued to the CRT screen of my 486. In 1997 I was 12 years old and had discovered the local, text-only FreeNet — my portal to the world’s collective knowledge via 2400 baud modem. I quickly became familiar with the Lynx browser and eventually found the Schoolnet MOO (an object-oriented MUD which is still running today) where I made fast friends and began to explore basic coding in the environment. In high school, I was fortunate enough to have a fabulous teacher who gave us free time to experiment with installing our choice of operating systems on machines with swappable hard drives. My first Linux distribution was Mandriva (Mandrake at the time), but I’ve only recently made the switch to Linux as my primary OS.
Linux.com: What Linux Foundation course did you achieve certification in? Why did you select that particular course?
Medeiros: LFCS (+ LFS201 and LFS101 on edX). About 9 months ago, I set a personal goal to “up my Linux game.” I’ve always experienced a huge amount of satisfaction working with a command line and solving problems. The end goal of completing the exam and achieving certification seemed like a good strategy for personal motivation.
Linux.com: What are your career goals? How do you see Linux Foundation certification helping you achieve those goals and benefiting your career?
Medeiros: I currently work in a project manager/learning consultant role for a provincial health care association. My goal is to transfer my skills to the tech sector — taking on progressively responsible roles as a system administrator, or project manager. The LFCS Linux Foundation certification as I see it is an opportunity to demonstrate my passion and technical competency to potential employers.
Linux.com: What other hobbies or projects are you involved in? Do you participate in any open source projects at this time?
Medeiros: My formal training is actually in music performance — I have a graduate degree in singing, believe it or not! I also maintain a home network and lab with a few nodes running BOINC (Berkeley Infrastructure for Network Computing); an open-source project that allows users all over the world to contribute volunteer computing resources to a fairly broad range of worthy projects. As of writing, I’m ranked 20 out of 7100+ users on Team Canada. I would love to participate directly to an open source project in future, but I don’t yet know contribute as someone who isn’t a programmer.
Linux.com: Do you plan to take future Linux Foundation courses? If so, which ones?
Medeiros: Absolutely. I’m interested in progressing to LFS211 (Linux Networking and Administration) as preparation for the LFCE designation. I’m also very interested in containers and VMs, and I’m planning on taking a look at Introduction to Kubernetes, Containers Fundamentals, and Kubernetes Fundamentals.
Linux.com: In what ways do you think the certification will help you as a systems administrator in today’s market?
Medeiros: I genuinely believe that in all settings, employers are looking for demonstrated practical competencies. My sense is that the emphasis on practical examination (vs. multiple choice based), the comprehensive knowledge domains and the high standard of Linux Foundation certifications would make a candidate stand out for the sysadmin role.
Linux.com: What Linux distribution do you prefer and why?
Medeiros: This is a toughy… I currently use Debian on all of my machines. I really like the idea of a community-focused, free/libre and governed distribution, but I have no qualms about using other distros that might be better for a particular use case (I used to play with Puppy Linux on some really old hardware and only now am I beginning to look at distros for embedded devices and inexpensive single-board computers).
Linux.com: What advice would you give those considering certification for their preparation?
Medeiros: I would say if you’re not exceedingly comfortable with the command line and the ins-and-outs of Unix-like OS’s start with the edX Linux Foundation offer as your baseline (LFS101) learning. Next, you should absolutely spend time with LFS201 (Essentials of Linux System Administration) and keep good notes with syntax examples (you’ll have access to the course for a full year from the time you register). Also, if you haven’t already, spin up a bunch of VMs of your chosen distribution for the exam and go to town! (practice, practice, practice!) Lastly, there’s a lot of great (and some not so great) stuff on YouTube: add videos of interest to a playlist that you can watch whenever you have a few minutes: my daily commute became invaluable learning time and I began to really enjoy the routine. I also installed SSH and VNC clients on my phone so I could mess with a Linux test box at home while on the road.
Learn more about Linux through the free “Introduction to Linux” course from The Linux Foundation and edX.