To RHCE and Beyond…

rocketOver the past decade or so, the little Linux company has grown up into a Linux powerhouse:  Red Hat! And as the company has matured, it has branched out its technology into multiple domains.  Under the Red Hat technology umbrella you now have Enterprise Virtualization, OpenShift and OpenStack (Cloud), Storage Server (GlusterFS), and even JBoss application development. Of course, this means more opportunities for Red Hat professionals to broaden their skills portfolio beyond the RHCE.  While the RHCE still may be the most respected and well-known Linux certification on the market, its popularity means that you may want to further differentiate yourself as a technology professional. 

Over the years, your IT expertise matures along with your career. You typically start off as a generalist and move into more of a specialist role with deeper, high-value skills and expertise. The RHCE certification is the perfect platform to launch from for the rest of your IT career since it’s the starting point for several advanced Red Hat certifications, including Red Hat Certified Security Specialist (RHCSS), Red Hat Certified Datacenter Specialist (RHCDS), and the Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator (RHCVA).  

The Red Hat Certified Datacenter Specialist (RHCDS) is a natural extension of the RHCE focused on virtualization, systems management, storage, and directory services. Three exams will get you this advanced Red Hat certification and prepare you for the next step.

The RHCSS is perfect for security experts. Focused on SE Linux, authentication, and vulnerabilities in network protocols and services, the RHCSS requires three exams and also provides a base for the next step.

Finally, there’s the Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator with one exam on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, hypervisors, and KVM.  While you don’t have to be an RHCE to get this certification, it is an exam that can lead you to the grand-daddy of all Red Hat certifications the Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA). Given that you need five challenging exams for the RHCA, it’s a big next step after your RHCE and I think it’s better to focus on the more digestible (RHCDS, RHCSS, and RHCVA) certifications which are less intimidating. But, if you’re able to achieve the pinnacle Red Hat certification, the RHCA, you’ll be in rare company.

If you hadn’t heard, there are now options to take your Red Hat certification exams outside of the Red Hat classroom; Individual Exam Sessions (or IES) give you the flexibility to take Red Hat exams on your schedule. 

There is life beyond the RHCE.  As Red Hat has matured, I’m sure that many Red Hat certified professionals are looking to achieve the same level of expertise and skills in the open-source arena.  These advanced Red Hat certifications are the natural, linear progression for any senior Linux professional with years of experience under their belt. 

Related Courses
RHCE Rapid Track Course with RHCSA and RHCE Exams (RH300)
Red Hat System Administration I (RH124)
Red Hat System Administration II (RH134)

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2 comments

  1. Steven Mercurio Reply

    I am 1 exam from RHCA and have my RHCE, RHCVA and RHCDS. I’ve gone this far and have taken the RH442 class so all that is left is the EX442 exam.

    I find myself wondering if it was worth it because ALL the jobs in the NYC, NJ, Philadelphia area do use Linux and most require/want an RHCE most do not even know what a RHCA is and unless I get a job with Red Hat I am not going to use RHEV, Satellite server, or too much of the RH333 or EX442. What I DO need is things like puppet, chef, kernel bypass and tweaking skills, etc. While RH Satellite 6 will contain puppet it may be too little too late.

    What I mean by that is most EVERY large Red Hat shop has not waited for Red Hat and already deployed a full and roubus platform around tools like Puppet, chef, etc and will not be able to justify the cost of Satellite 6.

    Also EVERY cloud implementation I have ever seen including my last 2 employers which were global IT shops that used only Red Hat and installed public/private clouds went 100% with VMware so Red Hat has a LOT of ground to gain IF they can gain it. I say IF because there are a LOT more cloud platforms built around VMware AND because large banks and Telcom/cloud providers get VMware at a price point that makes it hard to justify the extra work required to add another vendor.

    One shining star though from the RHCA is RHCS. Due to the incredibly high cost of other clustering platforms I am seeing the VERY large global bank I work for now pushing RHCS a LOT and have done dozens of RHCS installs with a LOT more coming which still shows Red Hat owns the OS and low level tools marketplace.

    The question is given only 50% AT MOST of the RHCA will be used is the RHCA worth it right now? That may be why they are not many RHCAs out there and why Red Hat will not say just how many there are.

  2. Steven Mercurio Reply

    One more thing to note is that I have over 11 years of production work with Red Hat Linux starting in 2001 with RH7.2 and VMware GSX 2.x a year later. I now work at a major global bank where orders of 1000-2000 servers at a time is normal and happens more than once in any given year.