When I started to work at Red Hat I familiarized with Red Hat Certification program. You can take an exam related to some Red Hat product and if you pass you will get a certificate. Red Hat exams differ form other certification programs in the industry. You get a system, e.g. RHEL, and you need to configure and fix it according to the tasks in the exam. Besides it has some milestones that give you motivation to take more exams.
My path and motivation
I have to mention that redhatters can take the exams without any charge. It's not mandatory and obtaining certificates doesn't give any bonuses but it's a good way to test your skills and feed your ego :). In the first year at Red Hat I saw a colleague in a polo shirt with some lettering. It was "Red Hat Certified Architect" with certification id number. I wanted to get such polo too but for that I was need to become a Red Hat Certified Architect :). In order to do that you have to pass Red Hat Certified Engineer exam and five other certificate of expertise exams. It took four and a half years for me to meet the conditions and get that coveted polo. Here are the exams I passed:
- Red Hat Certified System Administrator
- Red Hat Certified Engineer
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in Hybrid Cloud Management
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in Ansible Automation
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in Linux Diagnostics and Troubleshooting
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Application Development
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Administration
There are several ways how you can prepare for an exam and take it. I think I tried all of them. I was in instructor-led classes, usually the class takes four days and on fifth day you take the exam. An exam can be also taken on a kiosk machine placed at Red Hat offices or a partner’s site. These exams are monitored remotely by a proctor. Recently due to covid pandemic it's also possible to take an exam right at your home. And that's very cool. I passed last two OpenShift exams at home because all kiosks were closed.
One thing you should know about certificates that they have expiration date. It means you have to take new exams from time to time if you want keep your qualification. And it makes sense. The industry does not stand still. New technologies appear, others are deprecated and you need to learn new stuff all the time. Only one thing I miss in Red Hat certification program. It's pity RHCA is the highest possible qualification. Such achievements are great motivation for people like me.