Linux Certification: Vendor-Specific or Vendor-Neutral?

Plenty of organizations offer Linux certification, with some geared for a specific flavor and some focusing on Linux overall. What’s the best option?
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Talk to anyone who follows hiring trends in IT and they’ll tell you the same thing: having Linux proficiency is growing increasingly important in getting and keeping a job in IT.

From sysadmins to help desk workers to database miners, knowledge of open source has moved from being a cutting-edge “gee whiz” skill set to a must-have tool for IT staffers.

Naturally, this increases interest in Linux training programs. It’s often said that “you can’t get a job without experience,” but how do you get a foot in the door to gain that experience without demonstrating competency first?

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That’s where Linux certification comes in. These cert programs boost your chances of scoring one of the many jobs that now require Linux smarts.

But there’s an odd fact about Linux certification: there is no central organization that governs it. Linux itself, of course, is not “owned” by anyone, so no one company or organization has the final say about certification.

Consequently, there have sprung up several organizations and companies that offer Linux certification, all of whom are happy to take your money, test you, then award you a nice piece of paper that says you know something. One certification company even gives you a lapel pin if you pass the exam.

(You know you’re a geek if you wear a lapel pin that tells the world you passed a Linux test. Still, while it won’t help you get a date, it might help you get a job.)

Given all the competing choices an IT staffer has when selecting a certification program, what’s best? Is it more advantageous to earn a vendor-specific cert, or one that demonstrates overall Linux proficiency?

To answer that question, Datamation spoke with representatives from four leading Linux certifiers: Red Hat, Linux Professional Institute, CompTIA, and SAIR Linux GNU. As you’ll see, the programs, prices and approaches are as different as the organizations themselves.

The final answer as to which is the "best" Linux cert depends, of course, on what stage you are with your career, and what you plan to do in the future.

Take a look at these leading Linux certification programs:

Red Hat

Linux Professional Institute



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Tags: open source, Linux, IT certifications, Red Hat, Linux certification

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