March 21, 2002

Linux certification training for everyone from newbies to nerds

- by Tina Gasperson -
Caldera's education wing
launched OpenLearning this week. It's a new package of Linux curriculum
based on the 2.4 kernel. It's customizable, you can take the courses online, and
you don't have to be a geek to do well.David Acheson, director of Education
Services for Caldera, says the curriculum is desirable because it can easily be
customized by picking and choosing from any of 31 units that fall
naturally into five "courses:"

System Administration
Network Infrastructure
Network Services
Enterprise Administration
Enterprise Security

Acheson says that anyone with basic computer skills can work through the 15
days of training and end up certification-ready. "You don't
need to already be an MCSE. The courses go in a natural progression; the system
administration course is the introductory one." However, he adds, a newbie will do
best if he signs up for one of the instructor-led courses instead of Caldera's
self-study programs, which are designed for self-motivated learners.

The courses are designed so that students will be prepared for vendor-neutral
certification by the end of the track. "We have built the curriculum so that in
and of itself it is applicable to all Linux distributions," says Acheson. "To
teach Linux systems administration, you have to use some distro as a basis --
funny enough, we chose OpenLinux (Caldera's own Linux distribution). The courses
give specific information on that distribution, but there is so much that is
alike that learning in Caldera helps you to become a sysadmin in any other

Customization happens when a company wants specific types of training for its
employees. For example, a bank or law firm might want to focus on enhanced
security techniques, while a large corporation may decide to get
its staff up to speed on enterprise administration. Or, more advanced Linux
experts could skip the basic stuff and take the final few units in
order to get prepared for certification through LPI or CompTIA's Linux
Plus testing.

Caldera offers its courses through partners or providers located around the
United States and the world. Training centers pay a yearly fee for the right to
offer Caldera's courses, plus a fee for the actual course materials. Acheson
says Caldera gives its partners wide latitude in marketing and branding the
courses, and eventually training centers will be able to offer the full range of
Caldera's educational products online as part of their own Web sites. "It allows
them to train students in a classroom setting, create a customized course,
or take this content and have a mentor do instruction online, through email or
chat," says Acheson. "They can distribute the course content, have people read
it at their leisure, and charge a premium for these extra services."

The five-day instructor-led Linux Systems Administration portion of the course
costs about USD $1,995, depending on the provider.

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