What Can I Do With a Linux Certification?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Explore Linux certification benefits, exam prerequisites, and more in this 2023 guide.

[Featured image] A person in a floral blouse sits at a desk and studies for a Linux certification on dual computer monitors.

Getting certified is an excellent way to showcase your value as a Linux systems administrator. There is a clear demand for Linux skills, and certification exams can help set you apart from other job candidates. Many different types of Linux certifications exist. Use the information you have about your company's systems to direct you to the offerings that best match your needs.

Are Linux certifications worth it?

Getting certified in Linux systems is a strategic way to elevate yourself within the professional world. Hiring companies often use peer-level interviews to evaluate a candidate's expertise in Linux systems. Certification exams require a high level of knowledge and are a valuable way to expand your existing knowledge.

Linux certification and salary

Some employers look for Linux certifications to ensure that job candidates will be able to perform the role efficiently. In advanced or senior-level roles, a Linux certification or Red Hat certifications (RHCE) may even be required. Higher-level roles typically earn more than entry-level or mid-level roles that only sometimes require certifications. Therefore, earning more with a Linux certification is possible because your certification status qualifies you for higher-ranking positions.

Who can benefit from a Linux certification?

Many tech careers can benefit from a Linux certification. A couple of professions that value knowledge of Linux systems include:

  • Network analysts. Network analysts working with Linux software can use Linux system certifications to increase their knowledge of configuration processes.

  • Systems administrators. Systems administrators often use Linux to conduct network analytics and monitor system performance. A Linux system administration certificate can aid them in troubleshooting, data collection, and analysis processes.

Other jobs that could benefit from a Linux certification include IT security specialists and Linux engineers. Most tech professionals who work with network architecture and operation can gain valuable skills from completing Linux certification exams.

Read more: How to List Certifications on Your Resume: Guide + Examples

Types of Linux certifications 

Depending on your personal goals, learning path, and prior experience, you can pursue several types of Linux certifications. In addition to certification exams for specific disciplines, Linux has widely applicable general knowledge certifications.

Linux+ CompTIA

The Linux+ CompTIA Certification offers the foundational skills and knowledge you need to work with Linux systems. It is often considered the baseline certification for Linux users. This Linux certification covers the command line, installation, configuration, and basic networking applications. It also offers critical knowledge for Linux systems maintenance.

This general-purpose certification is suitable for someone who has limited knowledge of Linux systems or is new to the field of expertise. Earning this certification is an excellent starting point for those who plan to pursue other Linux certificates in the future. You can use it not only to familiarize yourself with foundational Linux concepts but with the certification exam process as well.

LPI (Linux Professional Institute) Certifications

LPI (Linux Professional Institute) is an organization that offers a multiple-tier Linux certification program. The program includes specialized professional certifications based on knowledge and experience level. There are three categories of LPI certifications you can explore:

1. Essentials. The essentials program is a junior-level Linux certification for beginners who want to demonstrate their abilities. It includes two exams:

2. Linux Professional. The Linux Professional program was designed to evaluate the skills of Linux systems administrators. It includes six performance-based exams:

  • LPIC-1: No prerequisites, 60 questions, 90 minutes. Five-year validity period unless retaken or a higher level is achieved.

  • LPIC-2: Active LPIC-1 certification required, 60 questions, 90 minutes. Five-year validity period unless retaken or a higher level is achieved.

  • LPIC-3, Security: Active LPIC-2 certification required, 60 questions, 90 minutes. Five-year validity period.

3. Open Technology. The open technology program was designed to evaluate skills and knowledge of open technology tools. It includes two exams:

  • DevOps Tools Engineer: No prerequisites, LPIC-1 certification is strongly recommended. 60 questions, 90 minutes, five-year validity period.

  • BSD Specialist: No prerequisites, at least one year of BSD system administration or a relevant certificate from a developer exam is strongly recommended. 60 questions, 90 minutes, five-year validity period.

Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator (RHCSA)

The Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator Exam (RHCSA) is a high-value option for Red Hat software admins. Red Hat has three primary certification levels: Red Hat Systems Administrator, Red Hat Engineer, and Red Hat architect. Each layer increases in specificity and difficulty. The RHCSA exam is a prerequisite for those wishing to earn the Red Hat Certified Engineer Certification (RHCE).

How to get a Linux certification

To earn a Linux certification, you must pass its certification exam. You can explore several options to prepare for these exams, such as boot camps, classes, and courses. Coursera offers several courses on Linux systems ranging from introductory to advanced levels. Each one is led by industry leaders and universities, like IBM's Hands-On Introduction to Linux Commands and Shell Scripting.

Boot camps 

Boot camps are online packages with instructional videos, resources, and literature to outline your exam's significant concepts and tasks. These boot camps are designed to help you grasp a foundational understanding of whichever Linux concept you choose so you can pass your exams and receive any number of certifications. Top companies such as Netflix, Volkswagen, and Box recommend specific boot camps for their employees in their journey to learn the ins and outs of Linux systems.

Find out more about choosing a bootcamp - How to Choose a Data Science Bootcamp


Certification courses 

Certification courses often include lessons, hands-on experience, and interactive content that you can use to prepare yourself for a Linux certification. For instance, if you are planning to take the Linux Foundation Certified IT Associate Exam, you must possess fundamental IT skills and foundational expertise regarding cloud computing. You can use the Learning Linux for LFCA Certification Specialization to prepare.

Take the next step with Coursera

When you're ready to start studying for your Linux certification, consider enrolling in a course. The Fundamentals of Red Hat Enterprise Linux is an ideal choice for beginners:

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.