Which Unix Certification is the most needed these days?

Which Unix Certification is the most needed these days? This is a big question think about it...

  • SUN unix certification?
  • SCO unix certification?
  • SOLARIS unix certification?
  • ....

AIX 4.1
AIX 4.2
AIX 4.x
BSDI 2.0
FreeBSD 2.2
HP-UX 10
HP-UX 10.10
HP-UX 10.20
HP-UX 10.x
HP-UX 9.x
IRIX 5.x
IRIX 6.2
IRIX 6.5
IRIX 6.x
Intel Solaris 2.4
Intel Solaris 2.5.1
Linux 1.2
Linux 2.0
Linux 2.0 (glibc)
Linux 2.2
MkLinux 2.0
SCO OpenServer
SCO OpenServer 5.0
SCO UnixWare 2.1
SCO Unixware 7.0
SPARC Linux 2.0
Solaris 2.4
Solaris 2.5
Solaris 2.5.1
SunOS 4.1.3
SunOS 54 (x86)
Tru64 UNIX

[Edited by Dominic on 11-09-2000 at 12:06 PM]

A word on 'certification' :slight_smile:

I've been working on UNIX-based systems for over 15 years, including almost every flavor of UNIX under the sky. Never, in my career, have I meet a great UNIX person who was 'certified'. All the great system administrator and programmers have the same thing in common - a lot of reading and hands on experience on the job. There is no classroom experience that can substitute for crashing a live server for a major corporation at 3 am and having the responsibility to get it back on line before business opens or you are 'toast'.

I've worked in places where the system administator was in a training class for a week and while they were away, the backup tape for the major systems was full and ejected itself. They had a automatic email in place to warn, but they were in class :slight_smile: Then, a consultant who was working on a difficult codeing project for a month lost her files. She went to look for the backup tape to restore the files and found the tape ejected !!!! She cried, really.

I've worked with a lot of folks over the years certified on routers, UNIX, MS, etc. I'm sorry to say that none of these people were 10 percent as competent than the people who had a passion for reading and building, hands on. Most certifications are just ways for vendors and suppliers to make money selling training papers.

Want to be great at UNIX? Get a version of UNIX (Linux, BSD, whatever), build a server from scratch and start building and writing C code. Get Rich Stevens books on system level programming and learn to program at the system level. Write your own server and client code, debug the code, work on interprocess communications, debug memory leaks, build shared libs, build static libs, fix corrupt file systems, etc.

Certification is not good for personal knowledge. It is useful when you are just starting to get your foot in the door of a company who requires certification, but you can bet your paycheck that the experts do not have these 'waste of time' pieces of paper. Do you think that Rich Stevens, who wrote the best books on UNIX is 'certified by a vendor?'
How about Linus Torvalds, inventor of Linux? No, they are great UNIX people because they did not take any vendor shortcuts. Patiences, practice, discipline are what builds the foundation for being great at anything, not quick certification classes.

I recommend you go to http://www.unix.com/ and follow the link on the left side to Stevens Classics. Buy Rich Stevens books and start programming network based UNIX projects and learn the internals. This will make you a great UNIX person.

[Edited by Neo on 11-09-2000 at 11:53 AM]


Thanks for your reply and kind words. I will reply in turn by telling a story about one of my first UNIX projects. (can't actually remember the very first :slight_smile:

<B>In a galaxy far away ....</B>

I worked as a contractor for Motorola outside of Chicago. I had very little UNIX experience but a lot of electrical engineering experience, so I got a break to work on UNIX. The boss said, here are the UNIX systems, and here is what I need, and here is the root login, be careful. Of course, the system was not a production box, but in the Motorola lab.

My first project was to take the HP test equipment running the HPIB (IEEE 488) interface to 'Rocky Mountain Basic' running on HPUX. It was a multiuser environment with different users needing the same test equipment so there were waveguide switches, command and control, etc. The atomic and threadsafe pieces were complex and challenging for a novice; would still be challenging today!

The first thing the project had to have was shared memory between different UNIX processes. (it took a while to learn that shared memory was the right IPC choice, BTW. why not message queues? semaphores? ) I had to learn everything about Interprocess Communcations (IPCs) which is the heart of the UNIX OS. I used the systems calls in HPUX to build this code and had to debug it. The systems calls did not work. I called HP. Back in those days you could talk directly to the system code developers. They told me that NO ONE had every used the system calls to do shared memory using RMB as we were doing with the HP test equipment. I was the first. We worked together, they fixed the bugs in the system call, and SUCCESS!! (I thought I would go crazy after a few weeks on this job!! My golf game fell to pieces. No way I could concentrate on the course during this learning period.)

After that, I got the task to interface the same system to a Progress database. I had to write both the socket clients and socket server APIs for this using HPUX system calls and Progress UNIX APIs, all in C (and some RMB interface glue to the test gear). Each line of the client-server code I had to debug myself. Of interest, the Progress gurus said what I was doing was 'impossible' because Progress would not do it out of the box. I said, 'that is what the published APIs are for, right?' In return, they refused to acknowledge my existance :wink:

Two terminals set up next to each other.. Create a socket, bind to the socket, listen, send data... "Hey,where is the data on the other end?" Debug more, write more print statements, lose another pound of fat (muscle!), drink more Mountain Dew, try again. Finally, I build the C APIs to allow a user in the Progress SQL system to make a query directly to the HPIB systems and to store the HPIB test results in the Progress database. We tested. Others tested.

The code all when into the production line on the Motorola assembly line where downtime is taken VERY seriously. Radios are built on assembly lines and assembly lines must roll!! Failure is not an option, period.

I will not bore you with too many 'war stories.' I hope you will understand my point that the best way to become an expert in UNIX is to use the UNIX systems calls and the C programming language to develop applications or APIs that use UNIX IPCs. You will learn system adminstration, shell, C programming, etc. by default because you can't build UNIX systems applications without mastering the shell environment. You can't be a good systems programmer without C - the best PERL programmers are old C programmers who don't have time to compile :slight_smile:

I would suggest that you tackle modern problems like APIs and extensions to PHP, PERL, MySQL and/or work on UNIX interfaces to wireless protocols over the Internet, i.e. WAP, Bluetooth, or something modern and fun. Yes, it will be hard, but you just might become the next 'famous person' who built a killer app! If not famous ,you will become a great UNIX person. Think of Eric and sendmail. Larry and PERL ---- NTP, USENET News, etc. All of the people were just like you at one time. Many of the greatest programmers of all time gave their code away for free to benefit the community. Do they sell UNIX certifications?

That is why I started this forum. It is the newbies of today who will become the gurus of tomorrow. Everyone is an expert at something and no one can be an expert in everything. It is the passion for the results, for success, to achieve, which makes it fun. UNIX offers more for the imagination that any other software platform by far. Today, you can get a super fast processor, memory, and disks for next to nothing. Many of the best flavors of UNIX are free.

There are no barriers except your imagination, your motivation, and your interest.

<B>"Free Your Mind." -The Matrix</B>

BTW. The original book by Stevens that I used to learn from dring my days at Motorola is out of print. Here is an Amazon.com link to a later (maybe better) edition of UNIX Network Programming by Rich Stevens (a true UNIX hero!)

Rich Stevens has 'opened the mind' of every successful UNIX programmer I know. Here are two other Steven's books that are core to any serious UNIX study. There are more too!

If you work from these books you will learn more than any certification course could teach at any price. I promise that there is no better path. Don't forget to pick up a few good books on C programming. The K&R book is the classic.

[Edited by Neo on 11-09-2000 at 06:53 PM]

1 Like

Most needed for what? Personal knowledge, employment opportunities, technical competence...?
Most of those that you listed are pretty outdated. For example, I think you would find it impossible to become ceritified in Solaris 2.4 these days...

I think the answer is that you should be certified in what you need. Most good employers will send you to the training classes anyway if they relate to your job. Get certified in what you will be using (or plan to use), then pick up any others later if you think they will enhance your resume. IMO, most Unix systems are similar enough that a certification in any of them will look good to a potential employer...

Most big Unix shops are probably running Solaris, HP-UX or AIX as their primary systems...become comfortable with one (or all) of those and you will be good to go.

While its true that being certified does not necessarily make you a good sys admin, it still couldnt hurt you.
If you have only a year or two of experience in the field, and are out looking for a new position, a certification can help show a potential employer that you are worthy of consideration.

Unlike Novell or MS, Unix certification is by no means required to land a good job... I hold no certifications, and have had no trouble finding good sys admin positions.

Like Neo said, the best thing to do is just learn what you are interested in... the availability of free/inexpensive OS's such as Linux, *BSD, Solaris, etc. will help you tremendously in this goal!

Good luck, and have fun!

Needed for Personal knowledge, employment opportunities, technical competence... I mean there's always a begining and your answer just make sens... Thanks PxT.

It's all true, I have worked most of my time with Microsoft Network System and I'm seriously planning to get the best experience that I can on Unix system, First I'll need to get one of the Unix Os and after get those books you've talked to me about. I've already took a course in AIX but it was for very basics commands... Maybe the self-paced way is the best way, like you say experiences as no replacement. Thanks to you Neo. Your experiences are well appreciated here.

In a galaxy not so far...

What a good future for all who really interest in Unix technologies. Step by step is a good way unless you don't have the "chance" to have been rushed into it. I'm planning a lot of fun in Unix environment and you both seem very knowledgeable about it... Who knows? Perhaps one day I will say what you told me for another person in the world.... But meanwhile I thank again. I will sure stay in contact with this Forum.

Note Books Recommended Here and in Thread 137 Can Be Found at the Link:

[Edited by Neo on 01-20-2001 at 07:24 PM]