September 18, 2001

Linux Professional Institute, Linux+ offer incentives for community involvement

Author: JT Smith

- by Tina Gasperson -
The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) is soliciting beta testers for its new Level 2 certification, which is constructed in part using a psychological testing procedure known as psychometrics. LPI uses statistics gathered from hundreds of working Linux systems administrators to determine exactly what a test-taker needs to know to succeed in a Linux network environment."We ask systems administrators to complete a lengthy questionnaire," says Julie Thornton of LPI, in order to get plenty of raw data to manipulate. Of course, if you ask 10 different sys admins what 50 skills it takes to do the job, you'll get dozens of different responses. But at least some of them will match up, and those agreed upon answers are what LPI extracts and builds its tests upon.

The Level 2 certification is aimed at Linux systems administrators with three to four years of experience. There are two exams included in the certification, and during the beta period, the tests are available at a reduced price of $84 each. Successful test-takers will receive Level 2 certification, provided they have already received LPI Level 1 certification.

Thornton says that beta testers are still needed, but LPI has had help from WowLinux, a training center in Seoul, Korea. Wowlinux, along with Bradford Learning, is offering the LPI Level 2 beta to about 50 systems administrators this week, she says. Additionally, users groups across the country are taking advantage of LPI's offer for proctored exams. Thornton says that interested LUGs can contact her at any time before the October 12 deadline. "The cost to groups of 20 or more Linux systems administrators with three to four years of experience is only $15 during the beta period, with results available by November 2," she says.

LPI is a non-profit organization that exists solely to ensure that vendor-neutral testing standards are established and maintained. LPI is one of two testing organizations that employ psychometrics in test design. The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) also provides a psychometrically-designed certification.

The CompTIA complements LPI certification, says Thornton, because while LPI targets systems administrators, CompTIA's testing is for "any individual interested in demonstrating fundamental Linux knowledge and skills." Like LPI, CompTIA builds its tests using psychometric data compiled from extensive surveys of working professionals.

CompTIA calls its Linux testing program Linux+, and on its Web site says that those passing its certification should potentially qualify for jobs such as entry-level help desk, technical sales and marketing, entry-level service technician, technical writers, resellers, developers, and customer service representatives.

CompTIA is currently looking for input from what it calls Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), which are working professionals with at least one and a half years of experience in any of the positions listed above. SMEs will participate in extensive surveys and workshops to help develop new certification exams, and should be prepared to serve in mentorship positions for entry-level Linux professionals. Those who are chosen to participate will receive a $250 stipend, a voucher for a free Linux+ exam, and other benefits. If you're qualified, you can fill out an online application or contact CompTIAs certification program manager, Eva Chen.

Thornton says that the community-based LPI certification is working on several upcoming projects and needs volunteers. LPI is looking for multi-lingual web developers to help with updating sites with the new Level 2 information. Any people who would like to contribute on these or other LPI projects is encouraged to visit the LPI site to find out where their talents could best be used.


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