Linux server certs becoming a must-have for IT pros

Becoming Linux-certified professionals can provide financial and career advantages.

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Linux certification is increasingly significant for tech workers as the public cloud and software-defined networking become ever more important. A Linux cert can set IT professionals apart from the herd and potentially put a lot more money in their bank accounts.

Once these certifications were a gauge of reliability, according to CompTIA chief tech evangelist James Stanger. “Twenty years ago, Linux tended to attract people who were a little edgier,” he said. “So certification was traditionally used in the Linux side just to find people you can work with—will they show up on time?”

Now, these certifications are a demonstration not only of proficiency but also dedication to self-improvement. “You can’t go wrong with a certification,” said Joe Faletra, director of infrastructure services at Modis, a technology staffing and consulting firm. “I’ll lean towards certs over experience [in hiring], because this person has put the effort into learning and passing the exam.”

The demand for Linux expertise has ballooned over time, driven significantly by use of cloud services. Public cloud almost universally runs on some form of Linux, which means that familiarity with it is increasingly central to modern IT work, according to Clyde Seepersad, the Linux Foundation’ vice president and general manager for training and certification.

“When you go to the public cloud, you’re by definition becoming a Linux admin, and your people need some level of competence on that,” he said. “Invariably, things will break, and the operating system will need to be called, not just the AWS control plane.”

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