thoughts on software development and everything else



This is a bit old news now, but a couple months ago I passed my Certified System Administrator exam from the Linux Foundation.

Now, I have no ambitions of becoming a sysadmin. But since I only started using Linux late last year, I was not very familiar with how UNIX systems, and Linux in particular, work. I didn’t know how to do all the neat command-line voodoo with awk and xargs. I had no idea how to use Vim. And when it came to the command line I was mostly just getting cues from stackoverflow.

I really wanted to feel comfortable in the command line and have a better understanding of how the software I write interacts with the system it’s on. And if I could get something to put on my CV to show I have this knowledge, even better!

I took the Linux Foundation’s LFS201 course, which covered the concepts well. It was a bit light on practical work though, so for that I turned elsewhere.

A very useful resource was Linux Fundamentals by Paul Cobbaut. Concise and to the point, with some good quick exercises that I could turn into Anki flashcards.

I also got a lot of use out of the TecMint LFCS Prep articles - a 20-part series which covers most things that appear in the exam.

Cmd Challenge is another good practical tutorial for command line stuff.

Doing the CKAD exam earlier in the year meant I was a bit better prepared for the exam conditions and using the in-browser terminal etc. I definitely had some holes in my knowledge though - questions on webservers, routing tables, and user/group limits stumped me.

I still passed, with a mark of 75% - I think I would’ve done much better if I had at least a bit of study in the areas I missed.

I’d highly recommend the LFCS exam to anyone who wants to solidify or round out their Linux command line skills. If you wait around for Black Friday, you can often get the exam and course bundle very cheap (same with the CKAD and other qualifications).

There is also a follow-on exam, the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) - but this is even more heavily geared towards people that want to be sysadmins, so I don’t think it’s for me.