System administrator Matthias Holm began using Linux as a teenager and has now worked exclusively on Linux for nearly 10 years. In 2005 he quit his current job to take his first full-time Linux job at a startup in Stockholm, Sweden. Then through an interest in technology and an “endless hunger for challenges and understanding how things work” advanced his career, he says.
Holm now works for Intel as an engineering lab manager in Stockholm, running infrastructure and services for a small software development lab with about 40 developers. This summer he became one of the first Linux pros to pass the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer exam. Here he discusses why he got certified, what he thought of the exam, and his advice for those planning to take it.
Why did you decide to get certified by the Linux Foundation?
I had been thinking about getting some kind of Linux certification for a while and I liked the idea about the performance-based approach that is used in the exam.
What, if anything, did you do to prepare for the exam?
I did not really do any preparation, most of the items covered in the LFCE exam are things that I work with on a daily basis so I decided to just go for it.
What did you think of the exam?
I really liked it, the questions could have been a bit more detailed at some point but apart from that it was a really good experience and I wish more certification providers would adapt the performance based approach.
What surprised you, or stood out about the exam? (Did it meet your expectations?)
It definitely met my expectations, no real surprises. I did think that it would be a lot harder than it was but maybe I was just fortunate enough to have previous experience in most of the items covered by the exam.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering taking the exam to get certified?
Two hours is not a lot of time. When I started the exam my approach was quite calm thinking that two hours was more than enough time. Two hours is not really that long when you run into your second or third “minor” issue. Also, if you are using templates for day-to-day configurations, make sure to have a look at them before you start the examination.
I have a few configuration templates that I usually use for basic configurations, those were of course not available during the exam and I have managed to forget some of the more basic parameters so my web server ended up with a quite interesting configuration.
It was also hard not being able to work simultaneously with multiple terminals.
What are you hoping to do with the certification, now that you have it?
I have not really thought about it, but hopefully something good will come out of it in the end.