My Red Hat Certified Engineer certification indicates that I have a high level of skill in Red Hat Linux systems (which also applies to other Linux systems).
This certification is in between the RHCT and RHCSS/RHCA certifications.
- The RHCT – Red Hat Certified Technician is a low-level certification that indicates a basic working knowledge of Linux systems.
- The RHCE – Red Hat Certified Engineer is a mid-level certification that indicates a detailed working knowledge of Linux systems. The time commitment required to attain this certification is significant, but a well-motivated person can study on their own for several months and attain this certification without the support of their business.
- The RHCSS – Red Hat Certified Security Specialist is a high-level certification that indicates significant skill with securing Red hat systems. This certification requires passing three exams (two of which overlap with RHCA) that test your security knowledge. The time commitment required to attain this certification requires that your business have a need for certification at this level.
- The RHCA – Red Hat Certified Architect is a high-level certification that indicates significant skill with Red Hat systems. This certification requires passing five exams that test your knowledge in many aspects of Linux. Like the RHCSS, the time commitment required to attain this certification requires that your business have a need for certification at this level.
For years, I have been frustrated with trying to find information on line when troubleshooting a Linux-related issue. In looking into Red Hat’s training systems, it was very clear that they offered a few classes that would answer most of my questions, however, they were very expensive. They also culminated in being awarded the RHCE certification (provided you were able to pass their exam). However, my employer would not pay for the classes. So, I decided to pick up an RHCE study guide and see if it could answer my questions. Much to my surprise, it did. In fact, it was so interesting that I decided to give the RHCE a whirl on my own. As the RHCE is a performance-based exam, normal cramming techniques would not work, so I approached the process with the following in mind.
- Set up a network of test machines, minimum two.
- Get a copy of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (or a clone) to work with.
- Join #rhel, #centos, and #redhat on freenode.net to learn from other’s experiences.
- Do every exercise in the book, at least twice.
- Dedicate four hours per night to the process, and 10 hours every Saturday and Sunday. (If your time pressure is less than mine was, this time commitment may be reduced).
This process was very successful in training me in the intricacies of installing Red Hat Linux. However, there was the problem that I couldn’t properly test my trouble-shooting skills, as I was causing the problems to debug. To solve this, I wrote a little system to apply problems to my test servers. This project later grew into trouble-maker.
By the time the month was over, I was well over-prepared for the exam, and passed it on my first try. Now that it is over, I feel that it was time well spent, for I learned a lot. However, the Red Hat class would have been a much easier process.
Study Tips for the RHCE
- Make a schedule and stick to it.
- Use a system like trouble-maker to test problem resolution techniques.
- Ask other sysadmins what they’ve run into, duplicate and resolve this scenarios.
- Study even the stuff you’ve done before.
- Practice the stuff you think you know. The more your practice, the faster you get. The faster you get, the better prepared you are to fix your own mistakes.
Test Tips for the RHCE
- Stay calm.
- Take notes as you go.
- Make backup copies of everything so you can fix mistakes.
- Keep an eye on the clock and the point value of your task. If it isn’t worth your time to finish a task, move on.
- Read the instructions multiple times before you start anything.
- Look around the system before you start changing things.