The Linux Foundation has announced the development of a new entry-level certification exam to complement their existing Linux Foundation Certified Sysadmin (LFCS) and Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) exams. This new certification, the Linux Foundation Certified IT Associate (LFCA), targets people just moving into systems administration.
The certification will focus on the test taker’s knowledge of the fundamentals of system administration. We are in a complex world with a lot of systems administration options, and the LFCA intends to touch a little bit on each of the areas a new admin might run into. The test is still in development, but the areas that The Linux Foundation intends to focus on include:
- Linux Fundamentals
- System Administration Fundamentals
- Cloud Computing Fundamentals
- Security Fundamentals
- DevOps Fundamentals
- Supporting Applications and Developers
The categories will be complementary, with Linux Fundamentals including user and password management, for example, but security going more in-depth on that particular topic.
In keeping with being accessible for people with entry-level knowledge of the above areas, this certification will be a single exam. That means a user need not wade through dozens of courses and exams to get started in their chosen area of specialty, and the other two certifications are available when the user is ready to move beyond the basics.
Currently, The Linux Foundation has the following learning path for these exams:
|Introduction to Linux (LFS101)||Training|
|Essentials of Linux System Administration (LFS201)||Training|
|Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS)||Certification|
|Linux Networking and Administration (LFS211)||Training|
|Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE)||Certification|
|Linux Security Fundamentals (LFS216)||Training|
The LFCA is designed to fit between “Introduction to Linux” and “Essentials of Linux System Administration” to make a pairing of courses and certification exams to carry a system administrator through their career.
In the midst of business closings and social distancing both increasing the amount of working from home that knowledge workers are involved in, on-site proctored examinations have suffered. This is unfortunate, as there is a spike in the number of people looking to improve their position through certification.
Since its first exam, the Linux Foundation has offered online exams through a partnership with a proctoring organization. The approach is simple: Webcam, screen-sharing and chat are available to the proctor to monitor the test taker’s activities. Further, the entire session is recorded, so any misunderstandings can be reviewed. The fact that remote proctoring is standard for The Linux Foundation and the organization has been doing it for years hopefully means that proctoring is unobtrusive, and the test-taker can generally just take their test with minimum technical issues.
The rush to remote proctored testing has created problems for some organizations; having had years to work it out should mean this is not a problem for The Linux Foundation in general and LFCA specifically.
So if you have friends/coworkers interested in moving in this direction but are unable or unwilling to work through four years of university to get started, point them toward the LFCA. There are a lot of options, but the LFCA has less overhead than many of the other options and will help them settle on whether they are ready to pursue their dream.
We’ll circle back and do a more in-depth look when the certification is released because there are two parts to a certification—who it benefits and what prospective employers think. We’ll be interested in seeing how this fits with employers’ needs, and to delve into sample questions when they are available.