4 Steps To Become a Linux Professional!

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If you want to make a career in Linux, and your first goal is to get a job as soon as possible then what you need to do is to take a certification path. 

If you are a fresher in this field without any computer science background in education, then I would recommend that your first goal should be to enter the job market as a Linux system administrator. The activities you do will involve taking care of all the employees’ computers, make sure everything works as it is expected, install Linux on the new machines purchased by the organization and maintain records of the employees and their devices, etc.

If you have never taken any courses related to computer science, then I would highly recommend going for the CompTIA certifications first.

CompTIA stands for the Computing Technology Industry Association, it’s a worldwide association of academics and industry professionals aimed at improving the IT industry.

They have 2 certifications namely

  • CompTIA Information Technology Fundamentals certification and (link
  • CompTIA A+ certification (link)  

which are aimed at complete beginners.

These 2 certifications will teach you all the basics you will need to learn to work with computers, maintain them and even repair them, both hardware and software repairs!

STEP#1: CompTIA Information Technology Fundamentals

According to CompTIA’s website

The CompTIA IT Fundamentals exam focuses on the essential IT skills and knowledge needed to perform tasks commonly performed by advanced end-users and entry-level IT professionals alike, including:

  • Using features and functions of common operating systems and establishing network connectivity
  • Identifying common software applications and their purpose
  • Using security and web browsing best practices

This exam is intended for candidates who are advanced end users and/or are considering a career in IT. The exam is also a good fit for individuals interested in pursuing professional-level certifications, such as A+.

What this basically means for us is, if you need a career in Information Technology, but you don’t have an educational background in it, then this certification will teach you the essential knowledge needed to get started.

Recommended resources

Recommended online course 1: CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ (FC0-U61)

This is a free course at udemy and it covers all the necessary topics in detail hence its worth giving a look!

Estimated time to complete: 40 hours

Recommended online course 2:  CompTIA IT Fundamentals; FC0-U61. The Total Course

This one is a rather short course on the same certification, with just 5.5 hours of video, from the brand named “Total seminars” which is a trusted brand in the CompTIA certification training industry, and hence it’s worth a shot.

Estimated time to complete: 20 hours

Recommended book 1: ITF+ CompTIA IT Fundamentals All-in-One Exam Guide, Second Edition

This book is again from Total Seminars and it can be used for reference as you follow the online courses mentioned above

Recommended book 2: CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) Study Guide: Exam FC0-U61

This is another good reference book and it comes with some downloadable flashcards and 2 online practice tests and hence it can prove to be a good resource for your certification prep.

Recommended Practice tests: CompTIA IT Fundamentals (Exam: FC0-U51) : Practice Tests

It is a good idea to take some practice tests before you go for the actual exam as it gives you the exam experience and identifies your weak areas for you to improve upon before you go to the test. This will also make sure that you pass the certification in one go and not waste too much time and money on the exam prep. Also I recommend you take it from a different instructor than the ones you used for the prep so that you see which areas need more prep.

STEP#2: CompTIA A+ certification

According to CompTIA’s website, a candidate with a CompTIA A+ certification will be able to

  • Demonstrate baseline security skills for IT support professionals
  • Configure device operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, Android and iOS and administer client-based as well as cloud-based (SaaS) software
  • Troubleshoot and problem solve core service and support challenges while applying best practices for documentation, change management, and scripting
  • Support basic IT infrastructure and networking
  • Configure and support PC, mobile and IoT device hardware
  • Implement basic data backup and recovery methods and apply data storage and management best practices

What this basically means for us is, once you get this certification, you will be able to handle software, hardware and network issues that might typically come up in an organization. Also, you will be able to build a computer from scratch with just the motherboard and components like processor, RAM, SSDs, and Hard-disks.

If you have these 2 certifications, you will already be eligible for so many entry-level jobs.

Recommended resources

Recommended online course: CompTIA A+ 2019 Certification 1001. The Total Course

This one is a very comprehensive course on the A+ examination, I have personally tried it and the instructor Mike Myers does a very good job at keeping the content both informative and interesting.

Estimated time to complete: 40 hours

Recommended reference book: CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, Tenth Edition 

This is another book from Total seminars, which you can use as a reference to understand the difficult topics. I recommend you to take the course and go through the book in a parallel manner as you go through your prep.

Recommended Practice tests: CompTIA A+ Core/2 220-1002 Practice Test

Choice of Linux certifications

Since your goal is to get into Linux, so you need to do a couple more certifications..!

I guess it can be a bit overwhelming to do certification after certification, but just think of certifications as college-level courses that you need to pass. If you need a break, then you always go for a job with the A+ certification and do then Linux certification 6 months or 1 year later maybe..!!

You can either go for  CompTIA’s Linux+ certification (link) or if you are serious about Linux, then the Linux Professional Institutes certifications are better, as Linux Professional Institute certifications are purely for Linux enthusiasts and you can always improve your skills by going through their next levels of certifications

You can see the list of the certifications offered by Linux Professional Institute below.

  • Linux Essentials (010-160)
  • LPIC-1: Linux Administrator
  • LPIC-2: Linux Engineer
  • LPIC-3 300: Linux Enterprise Professional – Mixed Environment
  • LPIC-3 303: Linux Enterprise Professional – Security
  • LPIC-3 304: Linux Enterprise Professional – Virtualization & High Availability
  • DevOps Tools
  • BSD Specialist

So this path of certification will lead you to become a Linux professional in no time..!

To get into the Linux industry and get a job as a Linux administrator, you just need to complete the 1st two certifications in the above list, i.e the Linux essentials certification and the LPIC 1 certification.

STEP#3: Linux essentials certification

Once you pass this certification you will be able to

  • understand Linux and open source industry
  • learn to use the most popular open source Applications;
  • learn to work on the Linux command line
  • get a basic understanding of security and administration related topics such as user/group management

Thus once you have completed this one, you would be having a strong foundation for your Linux career and you are almost there to get a job as a Linux administrator.

Recommended resources

Recommended online course: LPI Linux Essentials (010-160) Complete Course and Exams 

This is rather the only course on this topic I could find on udemy at the time of writing this article, and it seems to cover the exam objectives in a brief manner and give the student a good overview of the basic concepts on Linux. This course also include some practice tests to help you prepare better.

Estimated time to complete: 20 hours

Recommended reference book: LPI Linux Essentials Certification All-in-One Exam Guide

This book is again by Total seminars that you can use as a reference as you study for the certification.

Like I mentioned previously, it’s a better idea to take practice tests from a different instructor just to identify weak areas and hence I recommend taking this one.

Recommended Practice tests: Practice Tests for LPI 010-160 Linux Essentials Exam

STEP#4: LPIC-1 certification

Once you complete this certification you will be able to

  • understand the architecture of a Linux system
  • install and maintain a Linux workstation
  • work at the Linux command line
  • handle files, access permissions and system security
  • maintenance tasks: add users, backup, restore, shutdown and reboot.

Also, once you have completed this certification, you are eligible to get a job as a Linux administrator and start your career as a Linux professional..!

Recommended resources

Recommended online courseThe Complete Linux LPIC-1 Certification Course Exams 101-102

This course is one of the few detailed courses on LPIC 1 available on udemy. Though some of the topics are not covered to the depth you would like to, the instructor has managed to cover most of the topics required for the certification in enough detail and its the only course available! Hence you would need a study guide to go with the course.

Estimated time to complete: 40 hours

Recommended reference book: LPIC-1: Linux Professional Institute Certification Study Guide

This is a good study guide for the exam, but it is a study guide and hence it will only touch on the areas that the author felt are important for the exam. I would suggest you to use the book below too.

Recommended book: Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible

This book is considered to be the best book on bash and shell. Scripting and hence I usually recommended to anyone who wishes to learn Linux in general

Recommended practice tests: LPIC-1 Linux Professional Institute Certification Practice Tests: Exam 101-500 and Exam 102-500

Alright, I guess that covers all the steps for making yourself eligible to enter the Linux Professionals world!

Once you start your job and stabilize yourself in a good position by gaining some experience, you can always do the next levels of LPIC certifications part-time and level-up your career..!

Related Articles

If your interest goes beyond just getting a job as a professional I suggest looking at these articles to get a more thorough picture of what else is possible in the world of Linux.

10 Steps To Master Linux Being A Complete Beginner..!!

Other Related Articles

A Step By Step Plan To Learn Linux The Fun Way..!

How To Get A User-Level Understanding Of Linux For Your Hobby Projects

I hope you found this article valuable.

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Balaji Gunasekaran
Balaji Gunasekaran is a Senior Software Engineer with a Master of Science degree in Mechatronics and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. He loves to write about tech and has written more than 300 articles. He has also published the book “Cracking the Embedded Software Engineering Interview”. You can follow him on LinkedIn