Linux is a computer operating system that relies on free and open source software development and distribution. It is based on UNIX, is used to run web servers, and has been in development since the early 1990s. Certification is offered by vendors that sell products based on the Linux operating system; organizations that offer “vendor-neutral” certifications to evaluate skills on a standard Linux operating system; and schools that offer certification and training Linux, in addition to many other information technology and computer sciences disciplines.
Certification in the operating system is available through Novell, and is focused on the skills necessary to perform administrative tasks using a Novell product, the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Novell is a software company that specializes in workplace products. Its services include products specializing in security and desktop management. The company divides its products into three main areas: collaboration, which includes GroupWise, Data Synchronizer, and Vibe; file and networking services, which includes Open Enterprise Server, File Management Suite, and Business Continuity Clustering; and endpoint management, which includes Service Desk and ZENworks.
The Certified Linux Professional program offered by Novell covers skills specific to the products the company has based on the Linux operating system. The skills evaluated are similar to those for any overall operating system in a workplace, and include: installing and configuring Linux Enterprise Server systems, file system maintenance, managing printing, managing software, and managing processes. Certification in Linux also is available through IBM. The computer software and hardware company offers several levels of certification, testing skill sets of entry-level and advanced workers. In an introductory course, a student might learn skills including: administration on Linux, configuration and compilation, networking, and file sharing.
IT professionals also might look into certifications that are not focused on a single vendor. Some certifications are offered by the Linux Professional Institute, at www.lpi.org, which works with affiliates for training and offers exams in Linux skill sets. All exams and training are set up for any standard Linux system, and are what LPI calls “vendor-neutral.” The website offers an introductory “Linux essentials” course, as well as three more advanced levels of Linux skills. The goal is to establish a global standard for Linux operating system certification, according the lpi.org. Other organizations offering non-product-based certification programs are CompTIA, which offers a Linux+ administrator certificate, and Red Hat, which, based on its distribution system, provides credentials and certifications related to Linux.
Some schools offer Associate’s degree programs specifically in Linux systems operation. Prospective students might look into the offerings at a local community college or trade school, or research programs available through computer sciences programs online. These courses can help provide the training necessary to pass the types of exams offered by the Linux Professional Institute; they may also carry their own weight if a student is successful in the program. For example, the Linux Systems Administration Postbaccalaureate Certificate available through Kaplan University has program highlights including: network administration, installation and configuration, network services, security, and recovery. Students take four courses to earn the certification.
After earning certification in Linux and related systems, IT professionals may look into career paths including Linux systems administration and web server administration.