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Top 10 Unix System Administrator Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for Unix system administrators, including requirements, benefits, and potential career paths.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 15 min read

Certifications are an important asset for any Unix system administrator in the job market. They demonstrate a level of knowledge and competence that employers look for when hiring new candidates. Certifications provide employers with an assurance that the candidate is proficient in the relevant technologies and can hit the ground running on day one. Additionally, certifications provide proof of a candidate’s commitment to staying up-to-date on industry developments and best practices. Finally, certifications are often seen as a mark of prestige and can give candidates a competitive edge over non-certified applicants.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Unix System Administrators and explain how they can help advance an unix system administrator's career.

What are Unix System Administrator Certifications?

Unix system administrator certification is a professional certification that demonstrates mastery of the Unix operating system. This certification covers topics such as installation, configuration, troubleshooting, and maintenance of the Unix operating system and its associated software applications. It also includes an understanding of networking and security best practices.

Having a Unix system administrator certification can help you to stand out from other applicants when applying for jobs in the IT field. It shows employers that you have a solid understanding of the Unix environment and are knowledgeable about how to manage and maintain it effectively. Additionally, having a certifications gives you more credibility with potential employers since it indicates that you have taken the time to gain additional knowledge and skills related to your profession. This can help give you an edge over other job seekers who may not have taken the same steps in their career education. Finally, having this certification may also lead to higher salaries or promotions as it proves your expertise in this field.

Pro Tip: When considering Unix system administrator certification, make sure to do your research on the various certification options available and focus on certifications that are relevant to your current job position or desired career path. Additionally, ensure that you have a complete understanding of the exam material and requirements for the certification before registering for the exam.

Related: What does an Unix System Administrator do?

Top 10 Unix System Administrator Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Unix System Administrators today.

1. Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA)

RHCSA is a certification program offered by Red Hat, Inc. It is designed to validate an individual’s skills in managing and deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems. The RHCSA certification provides proof that an individual has the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully manage and deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems.

The RHCSA exam typically takes around 2 hours to complete and consists of multiple-choice questions. To get certified, individuals must pass the RHCSA exam with a score of at least 75%. The cost of the exam varies depending on the location but typically ranges from $400-$500 USD.

In order to prepare for the RHCSA exam, individuals can take advantage of various training courses offered by Red Hat or third-party vendors. These courses provide hands-on experience with Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems and help individuals gain the necessary knowledge needed to pass the exam.

2. Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC)

The Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC) is an industry-recognized certification program that verifies a professional’s knowledge and skills in using the Linux operating system. It is designed to assess a wide range of skills, including installation and configuration, system administration, network services, security, scripting and automation.

The LPIC certification consists of two exams: LPIC-1 and LPIC-2. The LPIC-1 exam covers basic Linux concepts such as installation and configuration, command line usage, user management, file permissions, package management, networking basics and more. The LPIC-2 exam focuses on more advanced topics such as network services, security and web server configuration.

It typically takes about three months to prepare for the LPIC exams. Preparation involves reading technical documentation, completing practice tests and studying for the exams themselves. There are also various online courses available to help candidates prepare for the exams.

To get the LPIC certification you must pass both the LPIC-1 and LPIC-2 exams with a score of 70% or higher. The cost of taking an exam varies depending on location but generally ranges from $100-$200 per exam.

3. CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI

CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI is a certification program designed to demonstrate proficiency in the Linux operating system. It is an industry-recognized credential that validates a person’s skills in administering, configuring, managing, and troubleshooting Linux systems.

The CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI exam consists of two parts: LX0-103 and LX0-104. The LX0-103 exam covers system architecture, the command line interface, user interfaces and desktops, essential system services, networking fundamentals, security, server side tasks and scripting fundamentals. The LX0-104 exam covers advanced administration tasks such as storage management, authentication services and system maintenance.

It typically takes between three to six months to prepare for the CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI exams depending on your experience level with the Linux operating system. You can take the exams at any Pearson VUE testing center or online through ProctorU.

The cost of the CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI exams is $319 USD each or $638 USD for both exams combined.

4. Oracle Linux System Administration Certification

Oracle Linux System Administration Certification is an industry-recognized credential that certifies an individual’s technical skills and knowledge in administering Oracle Linux systems. It validates the individual’s ability to configure, manage, and troubleshoot Oracle Linux systems.

The certification exam is a one-hour long performance-based test that assesses the candidate's ability to install, configure, secure, and maintain Oracle Linux systems. The exam consists of multiple choice questions as well as hands-on tasks.

It typically takes about 3 months to prepare for the exam. Candidates can prepare for the exam by taking online courses or attending classroom training sessions. They can also refer to official documentation and practice tests available online.

The cost of the certification exam varies depending on the country where it is taken but generally ranges from $150-$200 USD.

5. SUSE Certified Linux Administrator (CLA)

SUSE Certified Linux Administrator (CLA) is a certification that verifies the knowledge and skills of Linux system administrators. It is administered by SUSE, a leading provider of enterprise Linux solutions. The CLA certification is designed to demonstrate proficiency in managing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server environments.

The CLA exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete. It covers topics such as installation and configuration, system administration, networking, security, storage management, and troubleshooting.

To get the CLA certification, you must pass the SUSE Certified Linux Administrator (CLA) exam. You can register for the exam online through Pearson VUE or at your local testing center. The cost of the exam varies depending on your location but typically ranges from $200-$250 USD.

6. Novell Certified Linux Professional (CLP)

Novell Certified Linux Professional (CLP) is a certification program designed to validate the skills and knowledge of Linux professionals. The CLP certification is offered by Novell, Inc., a leading provider of open source software solutions. It is designed to certify that an individual has the necessary skills and knowledge to install, configure, manage, and troubleshoot Linux-based systems.

The CLP certification requires passing a single exam which covers topics such as system administration, networking, security, scripting, and other related areas. The exam consists of multiple choice questions and may take up to four hours to complete.

To become certified as a Novell Certified Linux Professional (CLP), an individual must pass the CLP exam with a score of 70% or higher. The cost of the exam varies depending on where it is taken but typically ranges from $200-$300 USD.

In order to prepare for the CLP exam, there are several resources available including books, online training courses, practice tests, and study guides. Additionally, Novell offers instructor-led training courses which provide hands-on experience in addition to classroom instruction.

Overall, becoming certified as a Novell Certified Linux Professional (CLP) can be an invaluable asset for any IT professional looking to expand their knowledge base and gain recognition in the industry.

7. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Server Administration on Windows Server 2012/2016

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Server Administration on Windows Server 2012/2016 is a certification that validates an individual’s skills and knowledge in administering, configuring, and troubleshooting Windows Server 2012/2016.

This certification requires passing two exams: Exam 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012/2016 and Exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012/2016. The exams are designed to test the candidate's ability to install, configure, manage, maintain, and troubleshoot servers running the Windows Server operating system.

It typically takes around 3 months of study time to prepare for the exams. There are many resources available online such as practice tests, tutorials, and study guides that can help you prepare for the exams. You can also attend instructor-led courses or take self-paced online courses to help you better understand the material.

The cost of taking each exam is $165 USD per exam. This means that it will cost $330 USD total to get this certification.

8. VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV)

VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV) is a certification program developed by VMware to validate the skills and knowledge of IT professionals in designing, deploying, and managing VMware vSphere 6.0 environments. It is designed for IT professionals who have experience with vSphere 6.0 and want to demonstrate their expertise in the field.

To become certified as a VCP6-DCV, you must first attend an authorized training course from VMware or its partners. After completing the course, you must pass two exams: one on vSphere 6 Foundations and another on the VCP6-DCV exam. The VCP6-DCV exam is a multiple choice test that covers topics such as installation, configuration, management, troubleshooting, and more.

It typically takes about three months to complete the training course and pass both exams. Depending on your experience level and how quickly you can study for the exams, it may take longer or shorter than three months to become certified as a VCP6-DCV.

The cost of becoming a VCP6-DCV depends on where you take your training course and which exam package you purchase from VMware or its partners. Generally speaking, expect to spend anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 USD for everything needed to become certified as a VCP6-DCV.

9. Citrix Certified Administrator for XenServer 6

Citrix Certified Administrator for XenServer 6 (CCA-X) is a certification program that demonstrates an individual’s expertise in the installation, configuration and maintenance of Citrix XenServer 6. The certification is designed to validate an individual’s ability to deploy, manage and troubleshoot virtualized environments using the Citrix XenServer 6 platform.

The CCA-X exam consists of 65 multiple choice questions that must be completed within 2 hours. To obtain the certification, you must pass the CCA-X exam with a score of 70% or higher.

To get started on your journey to becoming a CCA-X certified professional, you will need to purchase the relevant training materials from Citrix. This includes a course book and access to online learning resources such as practice exams and labs. Once you have completed your training, you can register for the CCA-X exam through Pearson VUE or Prometric testing centers.

The cost of the CCA-X exam is $200 USD.

10. Cisco Certified Network Associate – Security (CCNA-Security)

Cisco Certified Network Associate – Security (CCNA-Security) is a certification program from Cisco Systems that validates an individual’s knowledge and skills in network security. It is designed to provide professionals with the ability to secure Cisco networks and systems. The CCNA-Security certification requires a foundation of knowledge in network security, including topics such as firewall technologies, intrusion prevention, content security, identity management, and virtual private networks (VPNs).

It typically takes around six months to complete the CCNA-Security certification. This includes studying for the exam and taking practice tests. To get certified, candidates must pass both the ICND1 (100-105) and ICND2 (200-105) exams. The cost of the exams varies depending on location but generally ranges from $200-$300 USD each.

Do You Really Need a Unix System Administrator Certificate?

The short answer is, it depends. Becoming a certified Unix System Administrator can be beneficial for many IT professionals, but it is not always necessary. The primary benefit of certification is that it can demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in the field to potential employers. Certification also provides an opportunity to become more familiar with the technology and gain experience in working with Unix systems.

For those who are already employed as a Unix System Administrator, certification may be less important, as employers will likely value their experience over any certificate. However, gaining certification may still be beneficial if there are opportunities for advancement or if the individual plans to change jobs in the near future. It can also provide a way to stay current on new developments and trends in the industry.

For those who are new to the field or considering entering it, becoming certified can be invaluable. Certification shows potential employers that an individual has taken the initiative to learn about Unix systems and has achieved a certain level of expertise in them. It also helps establish credibility when competing against other job applicants who do not have this type of formal training or recognition.

Ultimately, whether or not someone needs a Unix System Administrator Certificate will depend on their career goals and current employment status. For those looking to enter the field or advance their careers, obtaining certification could prove to be very helpful.

Related: Unix System Administrator Resume Examples

FAQs About Unix System Administrator Certifications

Q1. What is a Unix System Administrator Certification?

A1. A Unix System Administrator Certification is a credential that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and skills in managing, configuring, and troubleshooting computer systems running the Unix operating system. It is designed to validate the abilities of system administrators working in enterprise environments.

Q2. How do I become certified as a Unix System Administrator?

A2. To become certified as a Unix System Administrator, you must pass an exam that tests your knowledge and skills related to the management, configuration, and troubleshooting of computer systems running the Unix operating system. You can typically find these exams through vendors such as Oracle or Red Hat.

Q3. What topics are covered in a Unix System Administrator Certification exam?

A3. Topics covered in a Unix System Administrator Certification exam typically include installation and configuration of server hardware; setting up user accounts; security management; system monitoring; backup and recovery procedures; scripting languages such as Bash or Perl; system administration tools; user permissions; file systems; networking protocols; and more.

Q4. How long does it take to become certified as a Unix System Administrator?

A4. The amount of time required to become certified as a Unix System Administrator depends on your level of experience with the platform, but typically takes anywhere from one to three months of study and practice before taking the actual certification exam.

Q5. Are there any prerequisites for becoming certified as a Unix System Administrator?

A5: Generally speaking, there are no prerequisites for becoming certified as a Unix System Administrator other than having some experience working with the platform either through academic coursework or on-the-job training/experience