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Certification -- General Issues

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Books are better and more effective that pure
computer-based instruction  for preparing to tests and exams.

Certification definitely has its merits, but one need to understand that it's a mixed blessing. Certification is not a replacement for very skills that are evaluated; with some training one can usually answer multiple choice questions without such skills.

In the absence of certification, employers tend to evaluate prospective employees' skills using probation periods for new hires, practical demonstrations of skill (fix this and that), or bringing trusted technical employees into the interview process.

If certification is available if usually quickly became a part of pre-selection process as employers prefer candidates with certifications. This leads them to ignore or undervalue candidates who lacks certifications, even of the latter has relevant skills. That harms both employee and employer.  Well-marketed certifications give employers an illusion that they can safely rely on the certification as a credential. This is the nature of marketing...

Naturally, once it is established as a "standard", employees are virtually required to obtain it. If a certification can be made into a de-facto "standard", then the employment market for the relevant skill set becomes recursively dependent on that certification.

In view of those considerations I think that system administration certification and its close relatives (networking and security certifications) should:

  1. Be affordable. The price for Sun exam ($150) is IMHO the highest limit for a decent certifications. If the certificationrequeres you to shell $450 for the exam, it is natural to suspect that it is partially a scam.

  2. System administrator certification probably should consists of two parts like in Solaris  -- generic administration issues and advanced  and or "unix-flavour-specific" issues. 

  3. Testing should be administered uniformly with test having approximately the same level of difficulty.

  4. Training should be affordable and not require shelling $3000 per class. Sun training classes are probably the best in the industry but few administrators outside large companies can afford them. I think they should be made more affordable.

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov

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Old News ;-)

[Sep 25, 2014] Announcing the Linux Foundation Certification Program for Systems Administrators

Combined with increased Linux training offerings and a free 'Introduction to Linux' Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) introduced earlier this year, The Linux Foundation Certification Program will help expand the talent pool of Linux professionals worldwide. Key features include:

For more information on the new program, see Jim Zemlin's blog

To sign up for an exam, please visit: For special discounts and promotions, please follow @LF_Training.

[Jun 28, 2006] LPI exam 202 prep, Topic 214 Network troubleshooting LPI exam 202 prep, Topic 214: Network troubleshooting. Intermediate Level Administration (LPIC-2) topic 214 David Mertz (, Developer, Gnosis Software, Inc.

[Jan 16, 2006] Solaris Certification Exams Strategy was added

[Dec 1, 2006] Solaris 9, Part II certification exam page was added

[May 16, 2005] Solaris 9, part I certification exam (CX-310-014) page was added

[Apr 18, 2004] Solaris Certification page was created

[Jan 14, 2003] Information Security Resources and Links at RTEK 2000, The Internet Career Training School in Baltimore, MD -- very good collection of links

developerWorks Linux Education Tutorials - LPI certification 101 exam prep, Part 3 Intermediate administration

Training resources from Resourcemax Top 50 Things to Know to Pass the Sair Exam 104

This month, I'll look at the final exam required by Sair to become a Linux Certified Administrator (LCA). Over the preceding three months, I've dissected exams 101 (Installation and Configuration), 102 (System Administration), and 103 (Networking). You must pass four Sair exams for this entry-level certification, and this month I'll cover Exam 104: Security.

To register for any of the Sair exams, contact a Prometric Testing Center by visiting or VUE testing center at: The links in this article point you to locations where you can learn more about individual topics that I can't delve into here due to space constraints. Be sure to follow the links and learn as much as you possibly can about the products that are included on the exam. Top 50 Things to Know to Pass the Sair Exam 102

(Apr 8, 2001, 17:00 UTC) (2397 reads) (6 talkbacks) (Posted by mhall)
"Last month, I took a detailed look at the 101 (Installation and Configuration) exam from Sair. This month, I turn to Exam 102 (System Administration) and give it the same scrutiny. It is one of the four Sair exams you must pass to become a Linux Certified Administrator (LCA). Passing Exam 102 will earn you the designation of Linux Certified Professional (LCP)."

...[LPI] it's not a Caldera show. It's an independent effort, which Caldera wholeheartedly supports because it "will lead to the best possible certification program, because its not specific to any one distribution."

According to Leibovitch, the LPI is now working with an advisory board that includes representatives form all the major Linux reseller distributors. These include Allan Smart, Caldera's director of education services; Lonn Johnston, Pacific HiTech's VP North American operations; Donnie Barnes, Red Hat's director of technical programs and Marc Torres, SuSE Inc.'s president.

...The first certification, naturally enough, will be the Basic with others to quickly follow. There will also be, later in the game, specific certifications for the major distributions.

But, what will participants be tested on? Plans are, unsurprisingly, sketchy at this point. But, what can be safely said is that someone with the basic level will be able to serve on a Linux helpdesk or work as a system administration assistant. At the next level, Standard, graduates will be system administrator ready. At the top, the Advanced level, graduates will be able, depending on their specializations, to work as a senior system administrator, database system administrator or cross-network system integrator.

Training, however, isn't in the LPI's current plans. For that, resellers will need to turn to still nascent Linux training companies and the existing training programs of Caldera, which are geared to generic Linux, or Red Hat with its Red Hat specific courses.

The LPI still doesn't have its ducks in a row on how the tests will be delivered. Although, LPI has had preliminary contact with such old pros of the testing world as Sylvan Prometric and Virtual University Enterprises, LPI may well try an entirely different approach.

The Linux certification's real value will only be seen when resellers have certificates on their walls and can determine whether they result in more business and/or higher rates. With the support of all the major Linux reseller vendors and a vendor neutral approach, though, this is one certification that should pay for itself.

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**** Information Security Resources and Links at RTEK 2000, The Internet Career Training School in Baltimore, MD


**** Training resources from Resourcemax

**** Computer Certification -

**** How To Get Certified Without Paying An Arm And Two Legs

**** Complete Certification List

University Alliance - Degrees Online


Computer professionals who are certified by Novell or Microsoft are usually more respected than non-certified folks, although the value of Netware and Microsoft-certified professionals deteriorated in recent years ;-). Microsoft has put some good thought into creating an affordable program. See:


Free Tests


SAGE - Certification -vendor neutral certification.


The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

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Last modified: March 12, 2019