The Linux Foundation offers many resources for developers, users, and administrators of Linux systems, including the Linux Certification Program, which is designed to help you differentiate yourself in a job market that's hungry for your skills.
To illustrate how well such certification prepares you for the real world, we are 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 (LFCS) or the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) certification is right for you. In this installment, we talk with Joshua Tang.
How did you become interested in Linux and open source?
In 2012, I was working on a research project modelling combustion using high-performance computing and had to learn to navigate around Linux servers as part of the work. After that, I became a researcher in combustion modeling and had to develop code. For me, Linux was the most convenient environment to do this work, and ever since I've been interested in Linux.
What Linux Foundation course did you achieve certification in? Why did you select that particular course?
I completed the Linux Certified System Administrator (LFCS) course. I picked this course mainly because I saw it as the next stage in my Linux development. At the time, I was really only a user with very minor administration skills, and the LFCE course seemed too advanced for where I was at the time.
What other hobbies or projects are you involved in? Do you participate in any open source projects at this time?
At the moment, I'm not involved with any open source projects. A few years ago, I was working with OpenFOAM, the open source computational fluid dynamics software, however, I was only a user and did not develop any substantial capabilities.
Do you plan to take future Linux Foundation courses? If so, which ones?
In the future, I plan to take the Certified Engineer (LFCE) course. I see this, again, as the next progression in my development and understanding of the Linux ecosystem.
In what ways do you think the certification will help you as a systems administrator in today's market?
I think certification is important for business. From an employer standpoint, the certification at least provides information about the basic competencies I have regarding system administration. With this certification, it means that everyone is on the same page when it comes to basic workflows. I think also the certification highlights the ever-changing nature of Linux, which is an important aspect of systems administration.
What Linux distribution do you prefer and why?
If I had to pick one, it would be Ubuntu, I like it because it comes out in stable releases and has a raft of software that I use regularly. However, the main reason I like it is because out of the box it just works. Hardly any fiddling or tweaking required.
Are you currently working as a Linux systems administrator? If so, what role does Linux play?
I am not a systems administrator at the moment. My work however does require the use of Linux as I am working in research using high-performance computing, where Linux is the dominant operating system.
Where do you see the Linux job market growing the most in the coming years?
I think systems administration will always be a sought-after profession. One area I think that will continue to experience strong growth for Linux is in the supercomputing industry. Supercomputers will always be important to the progression of science and practically all supercomputers run Linux.
What advice would you give those considering certification for their preparation?
When getting certified, I think it is important to find the right preparation materials to suit your style of learning. While I found the Linux Foundation Course to be useful, I don't think it matched my style of learning, and I sought out other materials such as those published by the Linux Academy. What’s important is to find what works for you.