I’ve been mucking around with computers since I picked up a Timex/Sinclair in a K-Mart somewhere in Virginia around 1980. I’d been working as a Typesetter on a computerized system (CompuGraphic EditWriter) and a Field Engineer (FE) gave me an 8″ floppy with a few games on it.
My first certification was the result of quite a few classes for working on 3Com 3+Share local area network products. I was certified as a 3Wizard.
My second set of certifications was the result of becoming a Unix Administrator. I’d taken several different courses on Token Ring, Novell Networks, and Microsoft LAN Manager before I got to this point. I took and got the Sun Certified System Administrator and Sun Network Administrator. Mainly I took those certs to test my knowledge in Unix and specifically Solaris 2.5.1. Currently Oracle has Solaris at version 11 (sunos 2.11) so it’s been a while.
My third set of certifications came about when I went through several company changes when working at NASA HQ. One of the things I wanted to do was learn more about the deeper networking stuff so I asked to get a Cisco Certified Network Administrator class so I could get my CCNA certification. The company happened to have a CCNA/CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) fast track class for me (a cram type course intended more for folks who were already pretty knowledgeable about computers and needed the extra bits to reach certification status). Once class ended, I spent the following few months getting my CCNA and then taking the tests for each of the categories that elevated me to CCNP.
It’s now that time again. I’ve signed up to take the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) test followed up immediately by the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) test the same day (that afternoon). I will note that you can’t take the RHCE test until you’ve passed the RHCSA test so there’s a bit of hubris here in knowing I’ll pass the one before the other. The tests are $400 each but as long as I pass, the company will reimburse me for them. Red Hat claims that the pass rate for the certification tests are as low as 50% of candidates but they’re pushing their classes as well so take it with a grain of salt
In reviewing the RHCSA exam prep page, I find the requirements fairly normal for a Unix admin. There are a few bits that only exist in smaller or Red Hat exclusive shops such as using KVM to manage virtual machines, SELinux, system level firewalls (iptables or firewalld), and a few other things. In review, I believe I could pass the RHCSA test right now without studying for it. I do want to do well (not perfect) so I’ll do some poking about at it to make sure I at least understand the bits we don’t normally do in an Enterprise environment.
In reviewing the RHCE exam prep page, I find again that most of the stuff being done would be in a dedicated Red Hat shop however they are things that I do now for the most part. Configuring various services like http, ftp, nfs, smb, smtp, ssh, and ntp, networking like routing, packet filtering, and NAT, and other (for me) standard system admin tasks.
I also have the RHCSA/RHCE Study Guide, which is a couple of years out of date but still should be relevant especially when I use it with a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 VirtualBox Virtual Machine.
I don’t think I’ll have much of a problem with this but I do want to pass and $400 twice is a bit much to blow on a couple of tests if I fail them.
I will note that I’m also creating a study group at work to go over the requirements and do some studying for the exams.