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CompTIA Linux+ - path to fulfilling and challenging Linux-related career:An Interview with Yvonne Keith, the Linux+ Certification Program Manager for CompTIA (the Computing Technology Industry Association)
Linux brings many opportunities to the market place and its increasing importance has increased demand for skilled Linux professionals. CompTIA's Linux+ is a certification considered by many who want to launch into careers in Linux.
According to Yvonne, Keith, "CompTIA Linux+ was named the fastest growing vendor-neutral certification in the solutions provider sales channel according to a recent survey by CRN magazine. The overall global market has been increasing for Linux as well".
CompTIA had announced that a major revision of the Linux+ would be introduced late in the fourth quarter of 2004. A beta version of the revised CompTIA Linux+ exam is now available.
Who really is Linux+ for? What are the benefits? How, What, Why? Jidaw.com had the following discussion with Yvonne Keith, CompTIA Linux+ Certification Program Manager via e-mail. She talks about Linux+ and Linux certifications.
She provides useful insight on the new developments in CompTIA Linux+, while looking at Linux+ in detail and developments in the Linux and certification fields.
Q1. Let's start with questions on the new release of Linux+. What are the
changes and why has CompTIA done a major revision of the Linux+?
CompTIA Linux+ was originally release in September 2001. As we know technology continues to change. This certification was updated with the latest terms and technology. The following chart compares the 2004 exam objectives to the current objectives, which were developed in 2001.
2004 Exam Objectives
2001 Exam Objectives
Total 100 percent
of the exam
Total 100 percent
of the exam
Q2. Are there any advantages in taking the new exam? How will the new
Linux+ affect the validity and value of Linux+ certifications earned
before the revision?
new exam now contains a security and documentation domain. Our subject matter experts who helped develop the exam,
determined these elements are very important skills for the Linux
certifications earned before this date are still valid as a certified
professional continues to increase their skills and knowledge on the
job. When you take a CompTIA certification you are certified for life.
Q3. CompTIA is presently offering the Linux+ beta exam. Can you tell us
more about the beta in terms of who it is meant for, validity,
deadline/duration and advantages?
beta exam is only $75 USD and is available until 12/1. This exam is meant for anyone interested in Linux and who has a
basic understanding of open source technologies. It is an excellent
opportunity to take the new exam at a discounted price and to provide
input on the beta exam to make the live exam better. More details on the
CompTIA Linux+ beta are available at: http://www.comptia.org/certification/linux/beta2004.aspx.
Q4. Although the Linux+ beta is available now, when will the exam go
live? When will the old Linux+ be phased out? Will there be a transition
period before switching to the new exam?
CompTIA Linux+ exam is scheduled to go live the first quarter of 2005. CompTIA will announce a specific date and other details as
soon as that information is available.
date has not yet been determined when the old exam will be retired, but
there will be some overlap in the new and old exams to ensure candidates
who have been preparing with the 2001 objectives will have the
opportunity to take the appropriate version of the exam.
Q5. What led to the development of CompTIA Linux+ certification?
CompTIA Linux+ certification exam was developed by leading industry
experts. The CompTIA Linux+ certification program was established with
support and financial assistance from IT industry experts and leaders
such as Intel, IBM and Hewlett-Packard. A complete list of CompTIA
Linux+ cornerstone committee members is available at http://www.comptia.org/certification/linux/about.aspx.
test questions were written by Linux professionals. A multilevel review
process for all the questions ensures that they are accurate as well as
Q6. Who is CompTIA's Linux+ certification intended for? What is the
target audience for this certification? What level of experience and
knowledge should prospective candidates have?
target audience for CompTIA Linux+ is a technician with 6-12 months
experience installing, operating and maintaining the Linux operating
system. Those passing the CompTIA Linux+ 2004 exam will demonstrate
knowledge mastery required to provide basic installation, operation,
security, administration, and troubleshooting services for the Linux
operating system on workstations and servers.
indicates that those seeking their first formal Linux training and
certification experience are the ones most interested in earning CompTIA
Linux+. These include students in high school, two and four year
academic institutions, and for-profit training companies, as well as
employed technicians. For a number of individuals, CompTIA A+ and
Network+ training and certification precede the Linux+ experience.
Q7. What is the exam focus of the Linux+ certification? What capabilities
should one expect of a Linux+ certified professional in terms of
specific knowledge and skills?
exam focus of CompTIA Linux+ certification is proof of foundational
level of knowledge of technical knowledge in basic installation,
operation and troubleshooting for Linux operating systems. To find out
exactly what is on the exam, download the objectives at http://www.comptia.org/certification/linux/objectives.aspx?sent=1
Q8. Who benefits from, what is the relevance of, Linux+? Can you give us
tangible benefits and beneficiaries?
CompTIA Linux+ certified gives an individual a recognized industry
credential that offers proof of knowledge and expertise in Linux
technologies. This certification also provides a path to a variety of
fulfilling and challenging Linux-related careers.
Linux+ certification provides tangible benefits to the employee and the
employer. For the employee, it offers provides proof of professional
achievement which can lead to enhanced job opportunities as well as
foundational knowledge for additional certifications. For the employer,
it offers simplified recruiting and hiring, lower training costs and
uniform Linux competency standards.
Q9. How does the market look for Linux+ candidates and certificants? Can
you give examples of possible career opportunities?
Linux+ was named the fastest growing vendor-neutral certification in the
solutions provider sales channel according to a recent survey by CRN
magazine. The overall global market has been increasing for Linux as
to research company International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide
Linux server revenues were $2.3 billion (USD) in 2002. This number is
expected to reach $7.9 billion in 2007. Gartner, Inc. forecasts the
percent of Linux PCs in the installed base of desktop PC units worldwide
will double from 1.3% in 2004 to 2.6% in 2008.
Linux+ is the perfect launching pad into a career in Linux. Job roles
and titles for CompTIA Linux+ certified professionals are available on
the CompTIA TechCareer Compass (TCC), a comprehensive Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) free career guidance web tool. The
compass is the leading industry-designed resource to identify ICT job
roles, detail the unique knowledge and skills required for these job
roles and map them to all industry certifications, including CompTIA
Linux+. The CompTIA TCC is available free of charge at http://tcc.comptia.org/.
Q10. How many people have achieved the Linux+ certification? What is your current estimate of number of people attempting the
Linux+ exam every month?
estimated number of people attempting the exam each month is
confidential information. However,
I can tell you that there are over 5,000 CompTIA Linux+ certified
Q11. How does one get preparation resources for the Linux+ exam? And how
long does it take to get Linux+ certified?
CompTIA Learning Alliance (CLA) is the seal of recognition for quality
training providers. It is a global training channel program that has
been created to establish and maintain global industry-wide quality
standards in instructor-led learning in preparation for ICT
certifications. Find a CLA member at http://cla.comptia.org.
addition to in-person training, there are currently many books available
on the current CompTIA Linux+ exam. CompTIA Authorized Quality Curriculum (CAQC) training materials
are reviewed by industry experts to ensure they meet strict quality
standards and exacting requirements. CAQC approved training material is
required for use in many CompTIA training environments, including CLA
training providers. To find CAQC materials for CompTIA Linux+, go to http://www.comptia.org/certification/linux/get_CAQC.aspx.
New material reflecting the new exam should be available between the
first and second quarter of 2005.
exam itself is 94 questions long. Candidates have 90 minutes to complete
Q12. Why is there so much buzz and excitement about Linux in the IT
field? And how does Linux+ compare to other technical certifications?
offers a choice to people who do not want to be locked into one
operating system. Linux is
free, which is a big plus. As a user you have direct access to the
source code so that you can make changes however you see fit. There are many different distros or flavor so a person can use
the one that has the specific features he or she needs. In addition to the free operating system, there are numerous Open
Source projects creating free applications that run on Linux. These applications include everything from word processing,
spreadsheet, email applications to graphic manipulation and sound
Q13. What relationship does Linux+ certification have and how does it
compare with other Linux or certification efforts such as LPI, SAIR, Red
Hat, Novell, etc?
of the growing interest by businesses in the Linux open-source operating
system, technicians and helpdesk personnel are increasingly required to
have knowledge of Linux applications. CompTIA Linux+ gives the
technician new marketable skills. CompTIA Linux+ training and
certification validates for employers foundation level Linux knowledge.
CompTIA developed the Linux+ certification as the entry point for a new
generation of technicians — people who want to know more about Linux.
Q14. How do you see the future demand for Linux expertise? What trends do
you see in Linux developments that businesses and IT professionals
should be considering? And how does Linux+ fit in?
will continue to grow given not only the fact that it is free, but also,
the number of applications that are available to it continue to grow.
Companies will continue to look at it as a viable option in their
infrastructure where it is effective and meets their needs. As this happens, it will be more and more important for IT
professionals to have a clear understanding of what Linux can provide
and where it best fits in the business and network. This will enable them to make informed business decisions on the
value that Linux can bring to their organization. A vendor neutral Linux certification such as CompTIA Linux+ is a
Q15. What are CompTIA's plans for Linux and Linux+? Will CompTIA offer
certifications for Linux specialization in future, e.g. Linux security,
CompTIA's plan is to launch the live exam in 2005 and begin working on
translating the new exam into Japanese and German.
new Linux+ exam already contains a domain on security so at this time,
there is not a need for a specialized Linux security exam. CompTIA is
working with our members to evaluate skills requirements for ICT jobs.
Future certifications will be based on future industry requirements.
Q16. What tips and advise would you have for students, who are working to
get their CompTIA Linux+ certification? What would you encourage them to do?
first step in preparing for the CompTIA Linux+ exam is to go to www.comptia.org and download the objectives. I would encourage students to use these
objectives in whichever study method they use to prepare for the CompTIA
Jidaw.com thanks Yvonne Keith for her time as well as for the great work she is
doing with Linux certification.
Yvonne Keith is the CompTIA Linux+ Certification Program Manager.
The interview was conducted through Jidaw.com's IT Resource center:
More on CompTIA and Linux Certifications:
For more coverage and
information related to this topic, head to the IT Career Resource
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