For the past 19 years, I’ve taught IT at a college in Ontario, Canada. Since colleges typically align their IT programs to current hiring needs, most courses that I’ve taught have been geared toward industry certification, which continues to provide an important skills benchmark for IT jobs.
Back in 2000, it was clear that Linux was fast becoming a hot technology in the job market. Consequently, Linux certifications started appearing on the market, including the CompTIA Linux+ certification in 2001. Linux courses started appearing in college IT programs, and publishers started releasing Linux textbooks. My first textbook, the Linux+ Guide to Linux Certification (Course Technology/Cengage, 2002), was the first geared toward CompTIA Linux+ certification. Today, this same book is in its fourth edition and used in colleges worldwide.
Since CompTIA Linux+ is a vendor-neutral certification that tested the topic areas needed for most Linux administrator jobs in the market, our college quickly geared our Linux administration curriculum toward CompTIA Linux+ back in 2001, with the hopes that it would help graduates obtain jobs that involve Linux administration. Today, we continue to teach Linux courses that are geared toward CompTIA Linux+ for three main reasons:
- Linux certification gives graduates a competitive edge. First and foremost, Linux certification makes our graduates far more competitive in the IT job market. Over the past 16 years, we’ve found that most of our graduates get jobs working as IT administrators and support professionals in a wide variety of companies. Some end up working in smaller organizations, where they need a more comprehensive skillset, while others work for large organizations with a smaller number of technologies, or even at managed services providers (MSPs) giving various levels of IT support for other organizations.
With few exceptions, we find that these organizations have a mixed server environment (mostly Windows, some Linux and some UNIX), as well as a mixed client environment (mostly Windows, some macOS and some Linux). What this means from an IT hiring perspective is that job candidates with Linux certification (in addition to Windows certification) are far more likely to be interviewed and receive a job offer compared to job candidates who only have Windows certification.
IT employers and internship hosts have told me that the resumes of Linux-certified candidates go to the top of the pile for particular positions because fewer IT professionals in the market have a Linux skillset. We see the effects of this with our graduates as they apply for IT positions. Those who have Linux certification get more job interviews and offers compared to those who don’t.
- Employers favor CompTIA Linux+ certification. CompTIA certifications are very common in the IT job market. CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+ have been common requirements for IT job postings over the past two decades, and we find that modern IT job postings require additional CompTIA certifications, such as CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA Project+. In short, CompTIA certifications have great brand recognition within many organizations today. Consequently, when it comes to Linux administrator certification, we find that employers favor CompTIA Linux+ compared to other Linux certifications on the market.
- CompTIA Linux+ is a vendor-neutral certification that can also be used as a skills benchmark for jobs involving UNIX and macOS. One of the best features of the CompTIA Linux+ certification, in my opinion, is that it is vendor-neutral. In other words, the concepts tested on CompTIA Linux+ are not specific to a single Linux distribution.
Graduates who are CompTIA Linux+ certified can comfortably apply for IT jobs that list any Linux distribution within the job description. Moreover, since nearly all concepts are transferable between Linux, UNIX and macOS (a flavor of UNIX), someone with a broad range of Linux knowledge could easily work within a UNIX or macOS environment. Many of our graduates have landed IT jobs working with UNIX and macOS because they were CompTIA Linux+ certified. As a result, we encourage CompTIA Linux+-certified graduates to apply for jobs that require UNIX and macOS skillsets, in addition to those jobs that require a Linux skillset.
Read more about Linux and CompTIA Linux+ in Jason's previous article, All About Linux and Linux+.
Looking to get into IT? See if CompTIA Linux+ is right for you!