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Brainbench and Linux Certification Roundup
Pages: 1, 2

Linux certification recap

In this series of articles, I've discussed Linux certification programs from LPI, Sair, Red Hat Software, and Brainbench. The LPI and Sair programs offer traditional PC-based testing and multiple certificates distributed worldwide. Red Hat Software uses a hands-on approach, which may be seen by some employers as clearer proof of true capability. Brainbench offers exams for free, providing results to their clients for recruitment.

Though each has established a credible following, it's too early to see a clear leader in the overall Linux certification market. Employers will ultimately establish the market value of these progams as they seek qualified Linux administrators. Right now, it's up to us to decide which one will best meet our career goals.

This table includes a brief summary of the Linux certification offerings I've covered in this series, which may help you if you're considering one of these options to enhance your Linux career.

Certificate RHCE LPIC Sair Linux & GNU Brainbench
Offered by: Red Hat Software Linux Professional Institute Sair/Wave Technologies Brainbench
Delivered by: Red Hat and qualified testing centers VUE Sylvan Web
Test Method: Hands-on, lab-based, debugging, written PC-based, static PC-based, static Browser, adaptive
Cost: $749 $100 per exam
$200 total per level
$100 per exam
$400 total per level
  • Lab-based, hands-on monitored exams test actual performance
  • Includes debugging, installation, and general knowledge
  • Mature program
  • Familiar Red Hat brand
  • LPI is objective, non-profit
  • Community developed exam questions
  • Distribution-neutral
  • Only two exams are required for Level 1
  • Cost effective
  • Worldwide availability
  • Distribution-neutral
  • Impressive list of advisors
  • Portion of proceeds returned to the open source community
  • Worldwide availability
  • Exams are free
  • Exams are a placement method
  • Exams can be taken conveniently at home
  • Internet-wide availability
  • Distribution specific, targeted toward enterprises implementing Red Hat Linux
  • Expensive
  • Limited availability
  • PC-based exams aren't hands-on
  • Potential conflict of interest: Sair produces exams, prep materials, and training programs
  • PC-based exams aren't hands-on
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Honor system invites cheating
  • Better for employer verification than objective proof of certification

Jeff Dean is an engineering and IT professional currently writing a Linux certification handbook for O'Reilly Media, Inc..

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