[DISCUSS] Linux Jobs & Certification

Craig Buchek craig at buchek.com
Fri May 24 20:27:24 CDT 2002

> Is it worth obtaining a Certification?


> what would a Linux Certification (GNU Linux Certified 
> Administrator) can do for you in today's market with 
> no experience other than practicing at home with some 
> Linux boxes?

Not much.

Especially *that* cert. I worked for Wave, who bought Sair, which gives 
that certification. I have nothing against Wave (which only exists as a 
former shell of itself) but I have no respect for that certification. It 
was written by college students with little Linux experience for near 
minimum wage, and it shows. It doesn't compare to any of the other 
professional exams I've take (which is a lot).

A certification is just an extra feather in your cap. A little flag that 
says you accomplished something, and know at least some base level things. 
But without the experience to back it up, it's pretty meaningless. Any 
manager worth working for is going to want to know what you can do, and 
find out for herself. That said, if a manager is looking at 2 identical 
resumes except for certifications, she's more apt to want to interview the 
one *with* the certs. And it is possible for a manager to be able to 
assess your skills even if your experience is not "real world".

If you are going to pursue a Linux certification, go for the Linux+ first. 
It's the base level, and is a single exam. After that, go for the LPIC-1. 
You should be able to pass those with just a couple years of experience 
and maybe a couple months of study. If you get really advanced, go for the 
RHCE, but even then, you're probably best off taking the training class.

> I personally believe experience is better than a 
> Four Year Degree

My advice on this is similar to my advice on certification. Don't go to 
college just to get a job -- if that's what you're looking to get out of 
it, you'll be disappointed. Go to learn. Go to have new experiences. Go to 
broaden your horizons with new ideas. Go to learn how to think in a 
structured and disciplined manner.

> Is that why most of the hand full of job postings I've seen 
> lately (and always) require at least 3 years of experience?

Any job "requirement" was set by HR, and has nothing to do with reality. 
(I'm actually quite serious about this!) The manager just wants someone 
who she believes can do the job. Unfortunately, the requirements are used 
to filter the candidates, even though the criteria don't necessarily 
correspond to the ability to do the job. The only way to get around the 
filter is "networking".

Realize that most job openings aren't posted to the public. Like it or 
not, a lot of positions are only offered to contracting companies, or 
given to friends of friends. Learn how to take advantage of that. More 
importantly, build your "network" of contacts. It took me years to believe 
that old saying that it's who you know, and to build that network for 
myself. (Attending user group meetings and getting to know the folks there 
does wonders.)

Good luck,
Craig Buchek
LPIC-1, LCA, CNE, CNA, MCSE, MCP, A+, Network+, I-Net+, CCNA, SCP - Java 2
Hopefully soon: CISSP, Solaris 8, Server+, Linux+
St. Louis Unix Users Group - http://www.sluug.org/
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