I was initially confused between the different types of certifications when I first decided to get a Linux competency certification. I had been doing several sysadmin tasks as part of my work and thought of expanding my knowledge to do a more efficient job of it. Hopefully this guide will help.
While there are many types of certifications, I hope to summarize them into a few categories so that beginners like myself can get a better understanding of the various offerings. There are two main certification providers: vendor independent, and vendor-centric.
Vendor Independent (e.g. LPI, CompTIA)
These certifications are not tied to one particular product/vendor, and are usually focused on the concepts and basics that are found across vendors. While this may be a good thing to have, it may not be specific enough for a particular job.
Vendor Centric (e.g. Red Hat)
These certifications are provided by vendors for their specific product(s). I personally feel that if a particular vendor/product is widely used in the industry/domain one is interested in, then it is very valuable to have this. Nonetheless, the concepts gleaned from a vendor centric certification can always be applied in across different vendors/products, though the actual implementation will differ.
One analogy is learning how to drive with normal cars, or performance cars (e.g. F1). With the former, one will know the basics of how a car works and how to steer it on the road. But that does not mean the driver can get behind the wheel of a F1 car and win the race. On the other hand, a F1 driver will know exactly how to handle the car to gain the maximum performance, but the same method of driving cannot be applied to normal cars. However, the general knowledge gained from handling the F1 car (e.g. slowing down at sharp turns) will be applicable to other types of vehicles.
I recently attained LPI’s Linux Essentials certification by using just the book “Linux Essentials, Second Edition” (ISBN: 978-1-119-09206-3). The questions are vendor independent, and tested my understanding of basic Linux commands.
Hope it helps those who are looking to get certified in the same exam as well! Good luck 🙂