Get Linux Certified & Get Ahead

by Ralph Krause

The tremendous growth of Linux has increased the demand for Linux professionals in the workplace. One factor a company might consider when filling such a spot is whether the candidate has a certification. Get Linux Certified & Get Ahead, written by Anne Martinez, guides readers through the process of obtaining Linux certification. According to its preface, this book provides "specific guidance on how to choose the right certification, earn it in an efficient and cost-effective way, and really put it to work as a career advancement tool". Consisting of fifteen chapters and three appendices filling just over 300 pages, this book does present quite a bit of information on the certification process.

The book is divided into four broad sections: why get certified, how to get certified, how to use your certification to advance your career and a certification reference. The chapters that make up each of these sections contain illustrations, charts and web addresses.

The first section presents some reasons why Linux certification could help your career. It includes an FAQ about Linux and certification programs in general. There are interviews with people who have already obtained Linux certification, highlighting their reasons for obtaining certification and what it has done for their careers. It also contains a chapter introducing some Linux certifications that are available, including CyberTech, Linux Professional Institute, ProsoftTraining, Red Hat, Sair, Brainbench and Digital Metrics.

The second section of the book covers the certification process from start to finish. It helps you determine the cost of getting certified in terms of money (e.g., materials, exam fees, etc.) and opportunity (e.g. less time for work, family and hobbies), as well as the best ways to pay for it. Different methods of study such as prep books, instructor, video computer-based are discussed, as well as techniques for studying effectively. You are lead through the creation of a certification road map that will keep you on track throughout the certification process. This section also contains specific information on the different Linux certification programs such as registration requirements, certification exam formats and exam objectives.

Section three is for use after you have received your certification. It contains tips on advertising your new status as a certified Linux professional, how to use your new status to get a promotion with your current employer and how to find a new job to take advantage of your certification. Techniques for asking for a raise are provided along with interview and job hunting tips. This section also contains information about keeping certification up to date and the possible benefits of obtaining additional certifications.

The final section of the book contains reference information for each of the Linux certifications covered, including contact and price information. It also contains a chart comparing the different certifications presented in the book and a list of study aids and Linux resources.

Although the book is a bit old (it was published in early 2000), the certifications and companies that it mentions are still around. While the individual certification titles and prices might have changed, a trip to the web sites listed in the book will provide the latest information.

The book is a little light on details for some of the certification programs. One minor complaint I have is that all of the screen shots in the book show Microsoft products.

I found this book easy to read and full of useful information. It covers the certification process from start to finish with information on determining which certification to get, how to study and take the certification test and how to use the certification once you have it. It helps you to avoid common mistakes and plan for surprises, increasing your chances of successfully obtaining certification. Also, the planning and study skills it helps you develop can be useful throughout your career.

Ralph Krause lives in southeastern Michigan and works as a free lance webmaster, programmer and writer. He can be reached at

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