Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Jignesh Solanki, Yeshim Deniz, Karthick Viswanathan, Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

The Certification Quandary

Corporate and open source community views on the value of certification

Welcome to the third installment of my Linux Careers column. The last two columns focused on recruiting strategies in the open source community. Now I want to examine certifications and their place within the open source community. This topic will be covered in two separate columns. This month, I examine the Linux/open source community's position on certifications as compared to the corporate culture.

In Part 2, I'll answer one of the most common questions we at HotLinuxJobs are asked by candidates: "Which certifications should I get?" I will provide insight from the corporate point of view on which Linux/open source certifications are the most valuable and marketable.

First of all, why the need for certification? This is an issue that has been debated throughout my four years of experience in monitoring the open source community. Many professionals who have been working with open source software for a number of years feel that the best measure of their expertise is the experience that they have gained through work and personal experimentation. While I largely agree with this assessment, it is the employer that sets the standards candidates must achieve. Many employers still make certification a hiring benchmark. Furthermore, "newbies" to Linux can display a base level of knowledge by obtaining a certification.

So like it or not, whether you feel that it is an "old school" mentality, certifications remain relevant in today's marketplace. In the mind of the hiring authority, they are another measure that can differentiate candidates, much to the extent of a college degree.

So what does the Linux/open source community think about certifications? That's a difficult question. I feel the Linux/open source community looks at certifications differently than other technology sectors and quite differently than corporate hiring managers. The Linux/open source community has operated outside the traditional boundaries of corporate culture for many years. This is rapidly changing as the adoption of Linux/open source grows. We see the two different sides colliding on a daily basis.

Most candidates we speak with are interested in achieving a certification to improve or enhance their skills in hopes of improving their current job performance. Others are looking for a new job, and some people just like the challenge of the exams and the sense of self-worth that they add. I have interviewed a number of candidates who obtain every certification they can, and mainly they relish the challenges and the benefits of having a lengthy list of certifications.

Most of the Linux/open source candidates we speak with feel that certifications are not a bad thing, just not something for them. The candidates have this image in their heads of lines and lines of MCSEs holding a piece of paper above their heads that says they are network administrators. During the tech boom, the qualified IT candidate shortage allowed quite a few people to get jobs in IT who wouldn't have in a normal labor market. People eager to enter the "hot" IT market took multiweek classes that churned out people with these certifications. One of the greatest impacts this has had is lowering the value of certain certifications and making it harder for candidates to stand out to hiring managers. These factors have given certifications as a whole a bad reputation; to individuals in the Linux/ open source community it reduces their perceived value.

Most experienced Linux people see certifications as meaning nothing in the real world. When things break they need to be fixed, and just because you have a piece of paper that says you are a network administrator does not mean you can solve a problem. Those certifications are laughed at because the tests are multiple choice, and anyone who can memorize material can pass the exams.

The corporate world has a very different opinion of certification. Most understand that the person who has the certification was able to pass a specific test on specific information and is not necessarily an expert. However, they use the certification as one criterion in the hiring process.

One of the reasons this practice has been increasing is the rapid adoption of Linux in corporate IT infrastructure. Many corporations want to move to Linux, and some have internal staff with some experience or exposure. So their safest hiring strategy is to require candidates to have specific, relevant certifications. Unfortunately, this methodology may result in candidates with significant hands-on experience being overlooked.

The certification market is very big business - corporations can spend millions of dollars getting their staff certified. You have different vendors selling the value of certifications to companies and tying in conversion and support packages with training and certification.

We've recently encountered a few examples of the Linux/open source community's resistance to certifications. We were working with a client in the Northeast that was recruiting for a senior-level Linux administrator. This client was new to Linux and did not have many people on its staff with Linux experience. In addition, the HR department, which was conducting the search, had no real knowledge of Linux. The job description that we were given required certain work experience plus a degree plus a certification.

The certification ended up being the hardest part for us to match with the level of experience the client required. The senior-level Linux candidates we unearthed had years of hands-on experience but generally did not have certifications. The candidates with certifications did not have the level of experience required. The client kept passing on candidates that were very qualified and had similar industry experience but lacked the certification. Their twin demands for certification and experience produced a profile that was all but unmatchable.

In conclusion, I feel that it is necessary for candidates to consider obtaining a certification(s). Corporations, some well informed and others relatively unsophisticated when it comes to IT, are requiring certifications for their open positions. As a result, certifications will remain both qualifying and differentiating factors when candidates' backgrounds are reviewed.

I always tell candidates that any training and/or certifications that they can achieve will only help their career. The technology field is a never-ending learning opportunity where job success and upward mobility are intrinsically tied to staying current with the evolution of technologies. Nowhere is this more prevalent than with Linux. Certifications will enrich your personal knowledge and make you more marketable to corporations looking for competent Linux administrators. Certification is a vital component in furthering your job prospects and providing a boost to your career growth.

More Stories By Rob Jones

Rob Jones is the president of HotLinuxJobs, an IT recruiting firm specializing in Linux and open source, based in Savannah, GA.

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...