Best Linux Certifications for Beginners & Pros (2024 Update)

Best Linux Certifications

If you’ve been in the IT industry for any time, you are well aware of the Linux Operating System and its prevalence. However, for most people, this OS can be more difficult to gain experience in than Windows. 

Luckily, some great training resources and certifications can help you build that experience. However, which one is best for you and your career?

Let’s discuss the best Linux certifications you can achieve to improve your resume and potentially land many job Linux related interviews. 

We’ll cover a basic overview of the certification, what knowledge and skill it validates, how much it costs, and the potential benefits it can have on your career.

Ready? Let’s go. 

Why Get Certified in Linux?

First off, why should you even consider becoming certified in the Linux Operating System?

Let’s look at some stats to demonstrate its prevalence today. TrueList’s 2024 Linux Statistics states that Linux occupies over 96% of the top one million web servers, powers 85% of smartphones, and runs 39.2% of websites worldwide.

Looking directly at professional usage, Stack Overflow found that over 26% of professionals work with Linux in their primary jobs. Critical infrastructure like firewalls, servers, and IoT devices primarily run on Linux, making the OS a more prevalent platform when considering professional exposure.

Because of this, it’s no surprise that ZipRecruiter shows over 44,000 job posting results that include “Linux” in the job description. 

Admittedly, these numbers include entry-level, intermediate, and senior positions. However, it still remains a sought-after skill set in today’s market.

ZipRecruiter

Given the vast number of job advertisements, it’s unsurprising that the identified salary ranges for Linux Administrators vary widely — between $72,000 and $135,000 USD annually. 

However, it does show even more evidence of the attractiveness of Linux skill sets.

Linux Administrator

Now that we’ve looked at the apparent need for Linux-related skills in today’s marketplace let’s look at a handful of Linux certifications that can help boost your career.

Best Linux Certifications for Beginners

If you’re just getting your feet wet with the Linux operating system, the below certifications may be for you.

1. LPI Essentials

Let’s start from the ground level with the LPI Essentials certification

This certification is offered by the Linux Professional Institute and is directed towards those with very little to absolutely no Linux experience.

This certification starts from the very beginning, discussing the history of the Linux Operating System, how open-source technology models work, and Linux professionals as a whole. 

After that, students learn how to navigate and manage the Linux system, how to utilize critical command line tools, and the basics of Linux security and file permissions

Exam Details:

LPI Essentials is a 60-minute multiple-choice exam containing 40 questions. The exam is scored on a scale of 800 points with a minimum passing score of 500.

The knowledge domains are:

  • The Linux Community and a Career in Open Source (17.5%)
  • Finding Your Way on a Linux System 9 (22.5%)
  • The Power of the Command Line 9 (22.5%)
  • The Linux Operating System 8 (20%)
  • Security and File Permissions 7 (17.5%)
LPI Essentials Domains

Cost:

As of writing, the LPI Essentials certification costs $120 USD. There are no recertifying costs, and the certification does not expire.

Why Should You Get This Certification:

This certification is arguably one of the best direct entry-level Linux certifications that can build a solid foundation for anyone wanting to learn about Linux systems. Additionally, the Linux Professional Institute is widely known and a reliable certifying body in the eyes of employers.

2. CompTIA Linux+

Like LPI, another well-known certifying body with a significant presence in the industry today is CompTIA. And again, like LPI, CompTIA offers an entry-level Linux certification, Linux+

This certification is aimed at entry-level professionals looking to kickstart their Linux Operating System expertise. 

Like all CompTIA certifications, Linux+ is vendor-neutral and exposes students to multiple Linux distributions while focusing on a holistic approach. Linux+ teaches critical knowledge points such as system management, security, scripting, automation, and troubleshooting.

Exam Details:

The CompTIA Linux+ certification exam contains a maximum of 90 questions, including multiple-choice and performance-based questions. It’s scored on a scale of 100 to 900 with a passing minimum of 720.

The exam knowledge domains are:

  • System Management (32%)
  • Security (21%)
  • Scripting, Containers, and Automation (19%)
  • Troubleshooting (28%)
CompTIA Linux+Domains

Cost:

As of writing, the Linux+ exam costs $369 USD and is valid for three years. Certification holders can recertify by submitting at least 50 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). You can find CompTIA’s policies on CEUs and what counts as a credit on their program website.

Why Should You Get This Certification:

CompTIA holds a massive name in the IT and Cyber Security industries. This is due to the prevalence of other certifications CompTIA offers, such as Security+, Network+, and CASP+

Earning the Linux+ certification can significantly improve a resume needing additional Linux-related presence, and associating the CompTIA name with that experience will undoubtedly enhance job prospects. 

Best Intermediate Linux Certifications

When it’s time to demonstrate a stronger grasp of the ins and outs of Linux, the certifications below are a great path to follow.

3. LPIC-1, 2, and 3

Returning to the Linux Professional Institute, let’s look at their more advanced certifications, which are best suited for those with a more advanced knowledge of the Linux Operating System. 

LPI offers three levels of professional-level certifications, including LPIC-1, LPIC-2, and LPIC-3’s various forms (Mixed Environments, Security, and Virtualization, to name a few).

These are all fantastic certifications for those wanting to deepen their Linux knowledge or even achieve advanced-level skills with the LPIC-3 certifications. 

These levels validate proficiency in intermediate and advanced level system administration, command line scripting, security protocols, building packages, and using a wide breadth of technologies on the Linux stack.

Exam Details:

Let’s break down the LPIC-1, LPIC-2, and LPIC-3 Security exams to understand what these certifications require to pass. 

Here is a very brief overview of different knowledge domains covered in these certifications:

LPIC-1

  • Linux Installation and Package Management
  • Linux Virtualization
  • GNU and Unix
  • Shells and Scripting
  • Essential Services

LPIC-2

  • Capacity Planning
  • Linux Kernel
  • System Startup
  • Adv. Storage Device Administration
  • Networking (DNS, HTTPS, and LDAP)

LPIC-3 Security

  • Cryptography
  • Host Security
  • Access Control
  • Adv. Network Security
  • Threats and Vulnerability Assessment

Take note that you must pass two exams to earn LPIC-1 and LPIC-2. However, in both certifications, the exams are identical, so we’ll list the matching requirements.

LPIC-1LPIC-2LPIC-3 Security
Time Limit90-minute 90-minute90-minute
Number of Questions60 questions60 questions60 questions
Types of QuestionsMultiple-Choice and Fill-in-the-blankMultiple-Choice and Fill-in-the-blankMultiple-Choice and Fill-in-the-blank
Scale0-8000-8000-800
Passing Score500500500

Cost:

All Professional-level certifications offered by LPI have a $200 USD exam costs and last for five years. Here is the breakdown of the total costs and validity.

NameLPIC-1LPIC-2LPIC-3 Security
Total Cost$400 USD (2 exams)$400 USD (2 exams)$200 USD
Validity5 Years5 Years5 Years

Why Should I Get This Certification:

As we discussed with LPI Essentials, the LPI organization is well-known in the industry and carries a healthy brand recognition. Achieving a professional-level certification from LPI is a clear indicator of proficient Linux Operating System knowledge and experience.

Best Advanced Linux Certifications

When looking to validate a mastery of Linux, either of these two certifications will make you stand out from other candidates.

4. Red Hat Certified Engineer

Since we have already discussed two entry-level certifications, let's look at an intermediate level. 

The Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification is the second-level certification offered by Red Hat, one step above the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA). 

This certification is aimed at RHCSA professionals ready to enhance their automation abilities, become able to integrate Red Hat emerging technologies, and conduct advanced system administration.

Red Hat is a premier Linux-based organization with products all over the IT landscape. 

Understanding Red Hat systems and managing them at a high level offers a major career and resume boost.

Exam Details:

The RHCE exam is a fully practical exam where students are given access to a Red Hat environment and provided a list of tasks that need to be completed. Exams are scored test-by-test to evaluate if your system(s) met the specified exam criteria.

During the exam, you’ll be required to conduct tasks such as installing and configuring the Red Hat Ansible Engine. 

You can be tasked to create Ansible Playbooks, utilize playbooks for specific configurations, and implement configurations on fresh systems in which the configurations persist post-reboot.

Red Hat does not publish official scores. However, students are typically informed of the results within three business days.

Cost:

As of writing, the RHCE exam costs $500 USD. The certification lasts for three years and can be renewed. To do this, you can retake the exam or earn another Red Hat certification, which will auto-renew your RHCE.

Why Should I Get This Certification:

Red Hat skillsets are highly desirable in the market today. Holding not only a Red Hat certification but also the RHCE can greatly boost your job prospects for positions requiring advanced Linux skills.

5. Oracle Linux Certified Administrator

Sticking with another vendor-specific certification, the Oracle Linux Certified Administrator certification proves high-level experience with Oracle’s Linux platform. 

Certification holders have a solid understanding of the skills required to deploy, configure, and administer Oracle Linux 8 production server environments.

Exam Details:

The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions to be answered within 90 minutes. To pass, students must score at least 60% on the exam.

Some of the published exam topics include:

  • Understanding Linux Boot Process and Service Administration
  • Installing and Maintaining Packages
  • Automating Tasks
  • Managing Storage Devices
  • Using OpenSSH
  • Basic and advanced networking

Cost:

As of writing, one exam voucher costs $245 USD.

Why Should I Get This Certification:

Like Red Hat, Oracle is a prevalent Linux Operating System in today’s IT industry. Not only will this advance your skill set in the platform but holding an Oracle-specific certification can boost your resume’s ability to land Linux-specific jobs.

This is especially prevalent as Oracle is primarily used for cloud development. Having a certification in a primary cloud-related technology can boost any resume in today’s market.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen, there’s no one best Linux certification, and these are just a handful of them. There are others from SUSE, GIAC, the Linux Foundation, and even OffSec

However, as we’ve seen with CompTIA, Red Hat, LPI, and Oracle, a variety of high-quality sources are available in the marketplace to not only learn the Linux Operating System but also prove your skillsets with verifiable top Linux certifications.

Achieving a Linux certification can significantly benefit your resume and career in the long run. The StationX Accelerator Program can help. 

With thousands of courses and labs, career mentorship, a vibrant community of students and professionals, study and mastermind groups, and a custom certification roadmap, we can help rocket you to the next level of your career.

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