Let the Penguin Prevail: A New CompTIA Linux+ for New Times

by Kristin Ludwig | Sep 07, 2018

A laptop with code and a coffee mug and the headline 'The New CompTIA Linux+'Doesn’t it feel like Linux is everywhere these days? That’s because it is! From the smallest devices to the largest supercomputers in the world, it is hard to imagine a world without Linux. As for IT professionals, the demand for Linux skills is greater than any other: 

  • 80 percent of hiring managers now consider Linux professionals to be at a premium, according to the Linux Foundation – that is almost double from 2017! 
  • Two-thirds of all companies with a stake in the future of IT consider the importance of finding professionals with open-source experience to be above any other position, reported LinuxInsider.  

Many IT jobs demand Linux skills, including network and systems administrators, intrusion detection technicians, penetration testers, developers, storage engineers and more. It is easy to surmise there has never been a better time to acquire and validate Linux skills than right now.

CompTIA has taken a hard look at the current version of CompTIA Linux+ (LX0-103 and LX0-104) and made the changes necessary to modernize the exam for today’s times.

What’s New in CompTIA Linux+?

CompTIA Linux+ (LX0-103 and LX0-104) was developed for CompTIA by the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) and consisted of two exams that included multiple-choice, multiple-response and fill-in-the-blank questions. But the new CompTIA Linux+ certification exam (XK0-004), slated for release in April 2019, incorporates major changes to both the content and format.

For starters, candidates need to pass just one exam, not two, to get CompTIA Linux+ certified. That one exam now includes performance-based questions, which validate a candidate’s hands-on skills. This new version of CompTIA Linux+ is designed for IT professionals with 9 to 12 months of hands-on Linux experience.

CompTIA brought ​exam development for this new version fully in house. By pooling some of the top Linux experts from around the world, CompTIA can now provide an exam that is as global as it is current.

10 Topics Covered in CompTIA Linux+

The subject matter of the new CompTIA Linux+ aligns with where the technology is going. But with global excitement building, what exactly does that mean for those studying to earn this certification? Here is a summary of the major improvements in subject matter to the new exam.

1. Security

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Security was not a major feature of the previous Linux+ exams. In the new exam it is covered in-depth, including best practices, Linux firewalls and other crucial security topics.

2. Kernel Modules

As Linux has become more modular, it is important to have a greater understanding of kernel modules. With this knowledge, you can support – or purposefully not support – with greater ease. The new exam puts greater importance on this subject.

3. Storage and Virtualization

The majority of the world’s web servers are driven by Linux, and virtual machines are part of the Linux kernel today. The new CompTIA Linux+ places greater emphasis on what users can – and cannot – do in this area.

4. Device Management at an Enterprise Level

Other exams have placed higher emphasis on monitors and printers, but that equipment is subject to change and easy to manage. The new focus is instead on an enterprise-level, command-line management of devices.

5. Git and Automation

The new CompTIA Linux+ covers the basics of DevOps. This is completely new coverage, based on where the industry has gone.

6. Networking and Firewalls

Equipment now has higher intelligence, therefore the knowledge needed to work with it has changed. Firewalls are starting to be handled at the individual server level, creating a security issue that CompTIA Linux+ now addresses.

7. Server Side and Command Line

As we move to the cloud, server management is moving to a multi-server environment. Outdated exams tend not to address this change, but the new CompTIA Linux+ includes more visibility on this topic.

8. Server (vs. Client-Based) Coverage

The new CompTIA Linux+ focuses on servers, which is the majority of the use cases. Focusing on individual use has become irrelevant for professional systems administrators.

9. Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting is a new topic for CompTIA Linux+, and it is a big part of being a systems administrator. The new exam gives insight into this ability, showing that a candidate is developing troubleshooting capabilities.

10. SELinux

SELinux is a robust security system. It will be covered in the new CompTIA Linux+, with a focus on implementation.

What’s NOT Included in the New CompTIA Linux+

Lastly, it is worth stating what is NOT in the new exam. The following subject areas have been removed or de-emphasized, as they are no longer relevant to today’s Linux professionals:

  • X11
  • Mail
  • SQL
  • Printing
  • End-User Support
  • GNU Privacy Guard (GPG)

How to Prepare for the CompTIA Linux+ Exam

​The new CompTIA Linux+ will launch with a full suite of training products, including the Official CompTIA Study Guide, in both print and eBook format. The full CompTIA CertMaster family of products, including CompTIA CertMaster Learn, CompTIA CertMaster Labs and CompTIA CertMaster Practice, will also all be available for CompTIA Linux+ (XK0-004).

Simply put, the new CompTIA Linux+ (XK0-004) validates the type of Linux professionals that employers will want to retain. By redefining exam objectives, CompTIA Linux+ is now strongly aligned with where the technology is going. And by moving to a single-exam model and incorporating performance-based items, CompTIA has listened – and responded – to the current needs of the industry.  

If you have 9 to 12 months of hands-on Linux experience, register now to take the beta exam and download the exam objectives to prepare.


  • marcus daub

    Wednesday, October 3, 2018

    you said that it will not cover x11. Does that lead me to believe that no X at all?

  • Tuesday, October 9, 2018

    Hi, Marcus! Thanks for your question. We have asked our exam development team for more information on this and will respond when we have more info.

  • donte simmons

    Saturday, October 13, 2018

    This may be too early but when the Linux+ XK0-004 slated for release in April 2019 what will the price be? I understand the beta version (which i am not ready to take now) is $50 and i was wondering if the price will still be the same or significantly higher? Asking because i would like to save now because i have the study guide for LX0-103 & 104 and when the XK0-004 study guide is issued i will be ready to take that since i am already studying LX0-103 & 104, assuming that XK0-004 will be the replacement.

  • Monday, October 15, 2018

    Hi, Donte! Thanks for your comment. The beta exams cost less because beta testers are helping us to fine-tune the content. When we release the new version, it will consist of one exam instead of two. We haven’t determined the exact price yet, but CompTIA exam vouchers usually cost $300 to $400. Good luck!

  • Nav Singh

    Thursday, October 18, 2018

    I heard the New Linux Exam XK0-004 would re certify/renew your A+, Network+, and Security+ CompTIA Certifications currently held by you. Is this true?? The same way certificating Security+ renewed your A+ and Network+.

  • Percy

    Wednesday, November 7, 2018

    When will the old Linux Plus exams LX0-103 & 104 be retired

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2018

    Hi, Percy! When we release a new version of an exam, the old version is still available for about six months. The new CompTIA Linux+ exam will launch in early 2019, so you still have plenty of time to take the old one. Know that the current version of Linux+ consists of two exams, but the new version will consist of just one, so you may want to wait. Good luck!

  • Landon

    Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    Does the Linux+ certification still cross-certify you with other entry level Linux certifications? Or this is something that will be, or already, has gone away?

  • Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    Hi, Landon! Thanks for your question. The current version of CompTIA Linux+ (LX0-103 and LX0-104) is offered in partnership with LPI, the publishers of LPIC-1, and those who earn CompTIA Linux+ may also be eligible for LPIC-1. When we release the new version of CompTIA Linux+ in 2019 (XK0-004), it will be offered separate from LPI, so you will no longer be able to obtain both certifications from the same exams.

  • Jonathon

    Sunday, December 16, 2018

    I already have the current Linux+. Will the new exam have a CE label? I want to develop and grow my knowledge based on industry needs and expectations. The demands have changed after searching for IT jobs (automation, Dev Ops, etc.), and the new version accurately reflects that.

  • Monday, December 17, 2018

    Hi, Jonathon! Thanks for your question. The new Linux+ certification will be CE, which means you'll have to earn continuing education units (CEUs) and keep your skills up to date to maintain an active certification. If you want to show employers that you have the latest Linux skills, you may want to consider getting the new Linux+ after it launches in 2019.

  • Kevin

    Thursday, January 3, 2019

    Hello, Will the Linux+ cert remain a lifetime certification once the new exam is introduced?

  • Thursday, January 3, 2019

    Hi, Kevin! Thanks for your question. The new Linux+ will be a CE exam, meaning it has a continuing education requirement and must be renewed within three years of taking the exam. We do this to make sure you have the latest skills the industry demands and stay on top of any new developments. You can learn more here: https://certification.comptia.org/continuing-education/why-renew

  • sofyan

    Friday, January 11, 2019

    Hi I don't have proven experience in linux.. Is it possible to take the exam XK0-004

  • Friday, January 11, 2019

    Hi, Sofyan! Thanks for your question. While there is no official pre-requisite, we recommend people have 9-12 months of hands-on Linux experience before taking the exam. The exam includes various types of questions, including performance-based questions, which test your hands-on skills. You will have the best opportunity for success if you meet our minimum experience recommendations. That said, the experience does not necessarily have to come from a full-time job - it could be experience you gain tinkering with Linux in your own time. Good luck!

  • Perry

    Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    I understand that the new exam will not qualify someone for LPI certification. But if someone takes the old exams in the six month period between the introduction of the new exam and the expiration of the old exams, will they still qualify for LPI certification?

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    Hi, Perry! To our knowledge, yes, you can still earn the reciprocal LPI certification by earning Linux+ by passing LX0-103 and LX0-104. Good luck!

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