A couple of weeks ago, I posted a general Linux Certification Overview that listed all of the different Linux certification options that are available today. I also posted a more in-depth overview of the LPIC Certification.
Today we continue our examination of Linux professional certification options with CompTIA’s Linux+.
Most of you may be familiar with CompTIA’s A+ or Network+ certifications. This certification leader has also added their own distribution-neutral certification similar to the LPIC path.
Linux+ covers Linux basics and is targeted toward entry level professionals, with a minimum of six to twelve months of Linux and/or Windows experience.
There is no prerequisite for the the exam, but candidates should be familiar with the subject matter covered in CompTIA A+ and Network+.
From a Linux perspective, you should have broad experience with the Linux command line, general administration and troubleshooting skills.
According to CompTIA’s website, both Oracle and Novell recognize Linux+ in their own certification paths.
The Linux+ Exam
The 98 question exam must be completed in 90 minutes and covers five domain areas, weighted as indicated below:
- Installation and Configuration (22%)
- System Maintenance and Operation (28%)
- Application and Services (23%)
- Networking (14%)
- Security (13%)
CompTIA uses statistical analysis to determine passing scores. On a scoring scale of 100-900, you must receive a minimum score of 675 to pass. When you complete the exam, you will receive your score, indicating whether or not you passed, along with a breakdown by section.
You can download a complete list of objectives here, but we’ll review the highlights below:
1.0 Installation and Configuration:
- Compare and contrast installation sources (physical media & network options)
- Implement partitioning schemes and filesystem layout using tools such as – RAID, fdsk, and mkfs
- Explain the purpose of local and network filesystem types such as EXT2/3, NTFS, NFS and others
- Conduct routine mount and unmount of filesystems
- Explain the advantages of having a separate partition or volume for directories such as: /boot, /home, /usr
- Explain the Linux system directories and their purpose
- Configure the GRUB boot process
- Perform package management functions: deb, rpm and source
- Configure profile and environment variables system-wide and at the user level
- Troubleshoot boot issues
- Manage devices using standard tools including but not limited to: lspci, modprobe, and lsusb
2.0 System Maintenance and Operations:
Correct usage of basic Linux tools, techniques and resources including but not limited to: directory navigation, file commands, kernel, editing and process/device management and I/O operations.
- Basic BASH tasks
- Analyze system and application logs to troubleshoot Linux systems, based on scenario
- Backup and restore operations
- Explain the features and concepts of X11
- Explain the difference in runlevels and their purpose (levels 0 – 6)
- Manage filesystems using the following: disk usage, quotas, file system management, NFS, and swap files.
- Manage task scheduling using cron
- Utilize performance monitoring tools and concepts to identify common problems
3.0 Application and Services:
- Manage Linux system services using: etc/init.d , start, stop, restart, inetd, xinetd, and chkconfig
- Implement Windows interoperability with these tools: rdesktop, vnc, Samba and security
- Implement, configure and maintain standard Web and FTP services – Apache & FTP
- Explain the purpose of these web-related services based on presented scenario: Tomcat, Apache, and, Squid
- Troubleshoot web-related services with: curl, wget, ftp, telnet
- Scenario based troubleshooting of common FTP problems including active vs. passive, ASCII vs. binary
- Perform these scenario based MySQL administrative tasks:
- Locate configuration file
- Starting and stopping
- Test the connection
- Explain the purpose of each of the following mail services, protocols and features:
- Protocols: SMTP, IMAP, POP3
- MTA: Postfix & Sendmail
- Email aliases: /etc/aliases & newaliases
- Deploy and manage CUPS print services
- Set up, install, configure and maintain a BIND DNS server and related services
- Perform basic administration of the DHCP server
- Scenario based troubleshooting of NTP related issues
- Identify common networking ports and the associated service
- Perform network interface configuration
- Implement configurations and/or configuration changes for the following
- Packet filtering: iptables
- Hostname lookup
- Explain the different DNS record types and the process of DNS resolution
- Troubleshoot basic connectivity issues using: netstat, ping, traceroute, telnet, route, and arp
- Troubleshoot name resolution issues using: dig, host, nslookup, and hostname
- Manage user and group accounts with these tool:
- useradd, userdel, usermod, groupadd, groupdel, groupmod, lock, who, w, last, whoami
- Select file permissions, set ownership and troubleshoot typical issues
- Explain the basics of SELinux
- Change and manage privileges with sudo, su, and sudoers
- Explain the usage of these security related utilities: nmap, Wireshark, NESSUS, Snort, and Tripwire
- Use checksum and file verification utilities
- Implement remote access solutions using SSH and VNC
- Explain these authentication methods: PAM, LDAP, NIS, RADIUS, and two-factor authentication
Linux+ Certification Process
If you’re one of the lucky ones and pass the exam on the first try, within four to six weeks, you’ll receive an ID card and certificate. If you fail an exam, there is no waiting period between retakes. However, if you fail an exam twice, you must wait at least 14 days before trying again.
Linux+ Exam Pricing
For non-members, the exam is $239. Members receive a discount, at $191. If you’re interested in becoming a member, here’s where you can find membership information.
Exam vouchers may be purchased via testing partners or directly from CompTIA.
At the moment, the Linux+ certification doesn’t seem to be affected by the recent Certification Renewal Policy that CompTIA put in place earlier this year. However, as all policies are subject to change, I’d recommend periodically checking CompTIA’s website for the most up to date information on this issue.
How to Prepare for the CompTIA Linux+ Certification
This outline is a snapshot of the skills necessary to obtain this certification. You’re probably wondering where to begin, and what resources are available to help you prepare for an exam covering such a broad range of topics. CompTIA has a document with even more detailed test objectives on their website. In addition, sample questions are available for download.
CompTIA also has a list of approved training materials that have been reviewed by ComTIA Authorized Quality Curriculum program (CAQC) which you can access here — just select the Linux+ certification option and the media type for your training.
At the moment, there is only one approved training option for the 2009 Linux+ objectives and that is the CompTIA Linux+ Study Guide: 2009 Exam self study book by Wiley.
Be sure to join me for the next article in this series, which will cover the Novell Linux certification options.