[lpi-discuss] NetworkWorld editor looking for feedback on Linux certifications (in article on Red Hat Security certification)

Ross E. Brunson ross at brunson.org
Thu Oct 20 19:21:02 EDT 2005


Dan,  you bet we're not shy. 

I may be biased in my views, but having given over 350 classes and 
seminars, and personally been responsible for over 50 bootcamps on 
various certifications, I present my views here as an attempt to give 
reasonable and usable input to Phil and anyone who may be undecided as 
to the value of certifications.  I regularly get emails and frequently 
talk to and see students from classes over the years.  I always ask 
about how they are progressing, jobs and other advancements and without 
any more scientific methodology than drinking a beer and chatting with 
like-minded folks, I can say that defninitely those who pursued the 
certification and made the investment in themselves of gaining the 
knowledge needed to achieve said certification, have benefitted as a whole.

I have found that certifications are a unit of measure for managers who 
aren't technical or in the same discipline as the candidate.  I liken 
certifications to the signs on the more exciting rides at theme parks, 
the ones that say "You must be at least XXX tall to ride this ride".  A 
good certification is one that lets the person doing the hiring depend 
on an independent 3rd party that this person is at least as good as the 
certification required them to be in order to pass it.

LPI has definitely raised the bar of certification relevance with it's 
tough exams, ever-changing and updated pools of questions and the right 
mix of affordability of the exam, appropriateness to the task and it's 
use of fill-in-the-blank and other very tough question types, all 
culminating in an exam that's hard to achieve if you don't know the 
topics and very relevant to the tasks being tested.

I can directly relate my current job to my certifications, if I didn't 
have them I would never have made it past the checklist in the HR 
department, and I find that for companies and employers that use 
certifications as a screening methodology, they do filter out a lot of 
unqualified candidates,  making it easier to focus on candidates that 
have taken the immense time and effort needed to get the various 
qualifications/certifications.   Years ago, in a process that started 
out with 300 applicants and came down to myself and another equally 
qualified (both in years of experience and interview skills) candidate, 
it was my having gotten the CNA (Novell beginner Sysadmin Cert) that 
pushed me to the top by 2 points.  Did that help make me a believer in 
the value of certifications?  You decide.

To those who say that certifications are worthless, I can only say that 
I have found that when I sat down and planned out how I would study and 
prepare for the various certifications, that I ended up learning the 
topic much more deeply and with greater breadth as a result.  We all 
work in our fields and have a lot of competency, certification 
preparation leads us often into areas that we haven't worked in yet, and 
makes us aware of tasks that we may have to learn or perform in the 
future, either because we change jobs, or the set of objectives for our 
jobs change.

I have forwarded an article to Glenn McKnight that I wrote a while ago 
for LinuxUser magazine overseas, and will be happy to engage with Phil 
at any time on the topic.

Dan York wrote:

> lpi-discuss folks,
>
> FYI, a Network World newsletter out yesterday talks about a new 
> security certification coming out of Red Hat, but the newsletter 
> author also asks if Linux certifications have helped anyone.  Since I 
> knew that this list contains folks not shy about voicing their 
> opinions, I thought I would pass it along in case anyone cares to 
> share their opinion with this editor.  I've put the relevant parts up 
> on top but included the whole newsletter below.
>
> Enjoy,
> Dan
>
> --------------------------------------------------------------
>
> <snip>
>
> The market is flooded with IT certifications. As far as Linux
> goes, what certifications (if any) matter to you? Has a
> vendor-specific, or general Linux certification (such as those
> offered by the Linux Professional Institute) ever landed you a
> job? Or are these just nice pieces of paper to have on the wall?
> As always, I'm interested to hear readers' opinions on this
> topic.
>
> <snip>
>
> Phil Hochmuth is a Network World Senior Editor and a former
> systems integrator. You can reach him at
> <mailto:phochmut at nww.com>.
>
> --------------------------------------------------------------
>
>
>
>
> ----- Forwarded by Dan York on 10/19/2005 09:53 PM -----
>
>
> "NW on Linux" <Linux at nwfnews.com>
> 10/19/2005 07:00 PM
> Please respond to Linux Help
>
>
>         To:     dan_york at mitel.com
>         cc:
>         Subject:        Red Hat offers security certification
>
>
> NETWORK WORLD NEWSLETTER: PHIL HOCHMUTH ON LINUX
> 10/19/05
> Today's focus:  Red Hat offers security certification
>
> Dear dan_york,
>
> In this issue:
>
> * Red Hat rolls out Certified Security Specialist certification
> * Links related to Linux
> * Featured reader resource
> _______________________________________________________________
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> _______________________________________________________________
> This newsletter is sponsored by Arbor Networks
>
> Network Perimeter defense has become an industry in of itself.
> But what if the danger to your network lurks from within - a
> disgruntled employee, misuse of a VPN, 3rd party access,
> employee access for personal reasons? In the following report,
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> _______________________________________________________________
>
> Today's focus:  Red Hat offers security certification
>
> By Phil Hochmuth
>
> Red Hat introduced a new security certification recently with a
> specialized focus on server and client machine security.
>
> The Red Hat Certified Security Specialist (RHCSS) certification
> is targeted at experienced Linux IT administrators and system
> engineers who are proficient at installing and running
> Linux-based networks. The certification program tests users in
> areas such as locking down services running on a Linux machine
> and administering policies with SELinux (a secure version of
> Linux included in Red Hat software). The program also tests the
> knowledge of users for setting up specific security-focused
> applications, such as creating a secure directory on a Linux
> machine with single sign-on, as well as configuring VPNs and
> firewalls with Linux.
>
> The RHCSS program joins the leading Linux vendors other popular
> programs, which include the Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA)
> and Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certifications. The vendor
> claims that over 10,000 IT pros have received Red Hat
> certifications since the vendor began offering the programs. Red
> Hat certifications are offered as Red Hat locations worldwide
> and cost around $150 per exam.
>
> The market is flooded with IT certifications. As far as Linux
> goes, what certifications (if any) matter to you? Has a
> vendor-specific, or general Linux certification (such as those
> offered by the Linux Professional Institute) ever landed you a
> job? Or are these just nice pieces of paper to have on the wall?
> As always, I'm interested to hear readers' opinions on this
> topic.
>
> The top 5: Today's most-read stories
>
> 1. Cisco finally brings security push to LAN
> <http://www.networkworld.com/nllinux9181>
> 2. Nortel replaces CEO Bill Owens
> <http://www.networkworld.com/nllinux9182>
> 3. Help Desk: When the Windows VPN doesn't work
> <http://www.networkworld.com/nllinux9183>
> 4. Microsoft cuts costs of virtual servers
> <http://www.networkworld.com/nllinux9184>
> 5. WiMAX just around the corner
> <http://www.networkworld.com/nllinux9185>
>
> _______________________________________________________________
> To contact: Phil Hochmuth
>
> Phil Hochmuth is a Network World Senior Editor and a former
> systems integrator. You can reach him at
> <mailto:phochmut at nww.com>.
> _______________________________________________________________
> This newsletter is sponsored by Arbor Networks
>
> Network Perimeter defense has become an industry in of itself.
> But what if the danger to your network lurks from within - a
> disgruntled employee, misuse of a VPN, 3rd party access,
> employee access for personal reasons? In the following report,
> Internal Intrusion Prevention, read about this threat and
> providing multidimensional protection.
> http://www.fattail.com/redir/redirect.asp?CID=117640
> _______________________________________________________________
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