Jidaw Systems

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

What is Linux+

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

Installation 19%

Planning and Installation 16%

Configuration 20%

Configuration 15%

Management/Maintenance 26%

Administration/Maintenance 32%

Security 21%


Documentation 6%


Basic Linux Hardware 8%

Hardware 19%


Troubleshooting 18%

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?

The 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 professional.

All 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?

The 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?

The 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.

A 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?

The 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.

The test questions were written by Linux professionals. A multilevel review process for all the questions ensures that they are accurate as well as psychometrically sound.


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?

The 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.

Data 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?

The 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?

Becoming 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.

CompTIA 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? 

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.

According 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.

CompTIA 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?

The 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 professionals worldwide.


Q11. How does one get preparation resources for the Linux+ exam? And how long does it take to get Linux+ certified?

The 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.

In 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.

The exam itself is 94 questions long. Candidates have 90 minutes to complete the exam.


Q12. Why is there so much buzz and excitement about Linux in the IT field? And how does Linux+ compare to other technical certifications?

Linux 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 editing.


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?

Because 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?

Linux 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 good baseline.


Q15. What are CompTIA's plans for Linux and Linux+? Will CompTIA offer certifications for Linux specialization in future, e.g. Linux security, etc.?

Currently, CompTIA's plan is to launch the live exam in 2005 and begin working on translating the new exam into Japanese and German. 

The 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?

The 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 Linux+ exam.


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:

CompTIA Certifications and Resources

CompTIA, Value and Top Certifications

Linux Certifications  

What is Linux+

Linux Resources


A New Opportunity in Linux


For more coverage and information related to this topic, head to the IT Career Resource Center: http://www.jidaw.com/itcareer.html

Best Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on IT Certification

Your Guide to taking the Right IT Career Decisions

What Do you Have to Say? Post Your Comments about this article Here 



comments powered by Disqus

Olumide from Lagos says:


My name is olumide and i really enjoy all the info i get from you.But
i would like you to expantiate on the LINUX+ BETA EXAM.I still don't
get what message you are trying to convey.I am preparing for the
exams and would be ready by January to take the test.
With this BETA EXAMS , does it mean one would not be able to take the
exams again or, it's been reviewed for example CCNA was updated last
year and there was a sudden rush to take the old exam instead of the
new 640-801 and a deadline was set .
Or does it mean the curriculum is been updated and reviewed which
means those that want to write it and pass must know new topics have
been added .

Please expantiate.


Jidaw from Lagos says:

The Linux+ exam is being updated. The beta is like a test run of the new exam at a lower price before the new Linux+ goes live. The beta exam is also used to provide input on making the eventual live exam better. It is an opportunity to get certified at a lower cost, as if one takes the beta and passes, you will also get the Linux+ certification. The beta opportunity ends on 31 December, 2004.

The new Linux+ exam is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2005. But CompTIA has not announced a specific date yet.

In the meantime, one can still take the old Linux+ exam now as no date has been fixed yet for the retirement of the old exam. According to CompTIA, "A 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".
Whichever option you choose, it's always better to plan and prepare well and in good time.


Funso from Lagos says:

Thanks for the info. But I don't think I can be ready for the beta.


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