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Old 01-27-2012, 05:11 PM   #1
poblano
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RHCSA and its relevance


I've been in the IT world for nearly 30 years, so it goes without saying that my career has taken many twists and turns. After starting out as a Programmmer (FORTRAN, Assembly Language and C) and then a Systems Integrator, I was a UNIX Sys Admin between '91 and '98 with three different companies. After that I took a detour into Application Administration, a close cousin (in that we have root access, configure system-level resources, etc.) but somewhat more specialized. I've recently toyed with the idea of returning to Systems Administration as my full-time role, but have found that prospective employers 1) seem to be looking for more breadth than I expected (i.e. network, RE, LAN and DBA experience), and 2) are often looking for an RHCE - or at least an RHCSA. Having looked at the RHCSA curriculum, I think it could potentially fill in some gaps, but I'm curious to know whether or not any one else in my position (an IT dinosaur who still thinks he's capable of learning) has gone this route.

As always, thanks in advance for any responses.

Last edited by poblano; 01-27-2012 at 05:19 PM.
 
Old 01-28-2012, 12:24 AM   #2
EricTRA
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Hello,

I don't really consider myself a dinosaur but turning 50 this year and having spend the last +20 years in some form of IT I think I can put in my two cents. I don't know how companies in the U.S. put together the requisites for a certain job but here in Europe I've noticed that the last 5 years at last the tendency has been changing. I'm someone who bores quite easily so I tend to change jobs on a rather frequent interval. That's why I've done a lot of interviews. Most companies I've applied / worked for have a tendency to ask for a more widespread knowledge indeed. The more experience in various fields you can demonstrate, the higher you get up their list. By demonstrating I mean of course to prove your knowledge in a technical interview. Certificates however are only considered an advantage in most cases, not a required thing. I for example have no certificates, none whatsoever but have 'won' several interviews only based on my experience and knowledge acquired over the years. This year I've started studying for the LPIC certifications and my goal is to get LPIC-3 certified before mid next year, not because I need it but because I consider it like a personal proof of knowledge.

I currently work for a project owned by the biggest telecom provider here in Spain as Lead System Administrator and a lot of the guys that work on that project don't have certifications. All of them were chosen based on their technical knowledge, demonstrated in multiple technical interviews.

So in a way, I'm like you, I never stop learning and moving forward. If you feel you need a certificate to get a certain job then go for it. With your experience in mind it shouldn't be hard at all. A certificate to me personally, if not accompanied by a certain amount of practical experience, has no value at all. I've seen lots of technicians straight out of school getting certified because they think it will give them the advantage over non-certified engineers only to fail technical questions taken from a real production situation because they lack experience. Not saying certificates are useless, not at all, but in my personal opinion they only have valor if you have the experience to show actual practice in the field.

Kind regards,

Eric
 
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Old 01-28-2012, 12:45 PM   #3
poblano
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EricTRA - Thank you for a very detailed response. I think the word "dinosaur" is a bit harsh - perhaps "seasoned veteran" would be a better description. In any event, there was a time when I was able to ace any technical interview, but having recently been passed over on two different occasions, I need to decide whether to stay in my current role or to find some other way to supplement my existing knowledge. Like you, I can get bored of the same routine after a while, so I don't see the former as a long-term option. This leaves me looking for some way of filling in gaps in my current arsenal. The gaps consist of things I used to know and forgot through lack of use (e.g. the difference between RAID 0 and RAID 1, the maximum size of an ext3 filesystem, etc.) and things I never knew (how to configure an F5 Load Balancer, how to read a SQL explain plan, etc.). Some of these things seem to be covered in the RHCSA curriculum, therefore it has some appeal to me.

LPIC certification, particularly beyond level 1, also seems worthwhile for the reasons you describe: it validates knowledge and experience as well as highlighting areas that could use some fortification. Unfortunately the LPIC certification exams are tough to find here in the U.S., whereas the Red Hat certifications are widely available. I can potentially take a 5-day course right in Boston (15 miles away) and would therefore incur only the cost of the class and exam. Ultimately that might be the route I choose.

Stay tuned - there's still plenty of mileage left in this old jalopy.
 
Old 01-28-2012, 02:15 PM   #4
EricTRA
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Hi,

You're welcome. As you indicated the basics are the first things that usually get 'forgotten', or better said put aside. As they say practice makes perfect, but it's sometimes pretty hard to practice everything. I didn't know the LPIC exams are so difficult to find in the U.S. Here in Barcelona I have at least 6 centers where you can take the exam(s).

Anyway, looking forward to your updates. Best of luck pursuing your goals! The 'old' ones don't surrender that easy!

Kind regards,

Eric
 
Old 01-30-2012, 02:00 PM   #5
thund3rstruck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTRA View Post
Hi,

You're welcome. As you indicated the basics are the first things that usually get 'forgotten', or better said put aside. As they say practice makes perfect, but it's sometimes pretty hard to practice everything. I didn't know the LPIC exams are so difficult to find in the U.S. Here in Barcelona I have at least 6 centers where you can take the exam(s).

Anyway, looking forward to your updates. Best of luck pursuing your goals! The 'old' ones don't surrender that easy!

Kind regards,

Eric
I had no problems what-so-ever finding a local LPIC testing center:
Prometric Certifications Centers

If I can give my humble input, go for the 4 for 1 certification. I got the CompTIA Linux+ Certification and then a few weeks after I completed it, a LPIC-I, Novell Certified Linux Administrator, and Data Center Technical Specialist certificates arrived at my mailbox. I was quite surprised that I got 4 certifications based on two exams! Especially since all my Microsoft certifications required 4-7 tests each
 
  


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