Thursday, 23rd January 2020

Why now is the time to get Linux Certified

By Amanda McPherson, VP of Developer Programs at the Linux Foundation.

Linux is the fastest growing platform in the world, so it’s no surprise the industry needs more Linux talent to support its growing open source systems and enterprises.

Linux Jobs Report figures, from the Linux Foundation and, tell us this year after year. According to this year’s results, ninety-seven percent of hiring managers will bring on more Linux talent relative to other skills areas in the next six months. Based on the conversations we’re having with hundreds of companies around the globe, this demand isn’t going to slow down any time soon.

The good news for the industry is that we’re also seeing the demand for Linux training courses increasing, as best demonstrated by the 300,000 people who have registered for the free Intro to Linux course on edX. But as more people join the Linux community, the more important it is for Linux pros to stand out from the crowd, especially in areas of growing demand like the cloud. Forty-two percent of hiring managers say that experience in OpenStack and CloudStack will have a major impact on their hiring decisions this year, while 23 percent say it is security, and 19 percent are looking for Linux talent with Software-Defined Networking (SDN) skills.

Last year, we launched the Linux Foundation certification exams for SysAdmin and Linux Engineers, which you can take anytime, anywhere through your computer. We created this program because we know Linux talent exists everywhere and we want everyone to be able to showcase that talent through a performance-based, challenging exam, testing the skills Linux pros use every day.

The response has been fantastic with thousands of people signing up to take the exam from all corners of the globe. We have also engaged with large companies who are buying certifications in mass as a requirement for their teams. It’s been very satisfying to see so much engagement with the program.

Becoming a Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator or Engineer is a way for candidates to show employers they’re among the best Linux talent on the market. Successful candidates will be especially well positioned in the job market this year. According to the Jobs Report, 44 percent of hiring managers said they’re more likely to hire a candidate with a Linux engineering certification, and 54 percent expecting either certification or formal training of their SysAdmin candidates.

But becoming Linux certified is no small feat.If it’s something you’re thinking about doing, here are a few things to make sure you’re prepared.

Know what’s involved

The exams were informed by The Linux Foundation and a committee of 20 industry experts, from more than 10 countries across the globe to identify the critical skills, knowledge and abilities applicable to each certification. The exam items themselves are updated on an ongoing basis to match the competencies required. Because the exams are performance-based, the goal is not to choose the correct pre-formulated answer, but instead to adequately address a challenge. It has been designed this way to demonstrate actual working knowledge of Linux systems.

When you sign up for the exam you can set the date to take it well in the future or choose a date sooner if you’re ready. We encourage you to sign up for the exam and get your testing date scheduled so you can get your preparation underway. You have 12 months from the time you first register to take the exam, so you can give yourself as much time as needed to prepare and you’ll be in the system for updates or changes.

Determine which exam is right for you
A Certified System Administrator has the skills to do basic to intermediate admin work from the command line and can support Linux systems and services. They are responsible for first line troubleshooting and analysis, and decide when to escalate issues to engineering teams. A Certified Engineer, has a wider range and greater depth of skills and is able to design and implement system architecture. They provide an escalation path and serve as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for the next generation of system administration professionals.

Utilize resources to prepare

Look for resources that fit your style of learning. There’s a wealth of books, videos and user forums to help you master the certification exams.But because the exams are performance based, the best way to prepare is to get practicing. Candidates should gain as much hands-on experience as possible.

We have a free exam prep guide with basic information on what is covered in the test, such as a list of the domains and competencies and the system requirements for itself. This year we also launched a new self-paced Essentials of System Administration course (LFS201), which comes bundled with a Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator exam.

If you’re thinking about becoming a Linux certified pro, there’s no better time. The future of Linux has never been brighter and getting Linux certified is one way you can show just how valuable you are to this ever-expanding industry.

Learn more at

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