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Preface

Preface

Certification of professionals is a time-honored tradition in many fields, including medicine and law. As small computer systems and networks proliferated over the last decade, Novell and Microsoft produced extremely popular technical certification products for their respective operating system and network technologies. These two programs are often cited as having popularized a certification market for products that had previously been highly specialized and relatively rare. These programs have become so popular that a huge training and preparation industry has formed to service a constant stream of new certification candidates.

Certification programs, offered by vendors such as Sun and Hewlett-Packard, have existed in the Unix world for some time. However, since Solaris and HP-UX aren't commodity products, those programs don't draw the crowds that the PC platform does. Linux, however, is different. Linux is both a commodity operating system and is PC- based, and its popularity continues to grow at a rapid pace. As Linux deployment increases, so too does the demand for qualified and certified Linux system administrators.

A number of programs such as the Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) program, and CompTIA's Linux+ have formed over the last few years to service this new market. Each of these programs seek to provide objective measurements of a Linux administrator's skills, but they approach the problem in different ways.

The RHCE program requires that candidates pass multiple exam modules, including two hands-on and one written, whose goals are to certify individuals to use their brand of products. The Linux+ program requires a single exam and is focused at entry-level candidates with six months' experience. LPI's program is a job-based certification and currently consists of two levels that focus on two-year (Level 1) and four-year (Level 2) experienced candidates.

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