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IT Degree or Linux Certifications



I'm IT Windows Administrator and i would like to master linux, to fill my Administration knowledfe, but i'm confused, i don't have a degree, i only did a level 4 IT course, and the rest is professional experience, so this limit my salary in some jobs.

I'm already 30 so from now on, i want to focus on a path and i know linux will be a good investment, but, won't this limit my job position, or salary?

So my question is, should i focus only on Linux Administrator Certifications or do the IT degree first?

Thank you,



  • jtlindsey
    Get the degree if you want any chance of employment with companies who filter primarily based on degree's. Even though many corporations have discovered the lazy degree filtering tactics often filter out top IT talent (it's one thing you can master without ever setting foot in a college), many have not caught on. Those are the ones still complaining about hiring BA and Masters degree people who can't troubleshoot basic issues. If you go to a community college like i am (I have a few classes left to finish my BSIT) you may feel like you should have gotten more from your time in the college. I've heard the story is much better for students attending major IT universities like Georgia Tech and MIT but I don't have MIT money.

    If your goal is to work towards mastery and have some proof with your progress, get the certifications and maybe jump on some of the coding help websites and try to help solve some linux problems live. If you do some reading, you'll see that people with certifications still disappoint employers sometimes in regards to skill, but the process and expense in the certification route is faster and more flexible.

    Ultimately, you'll only become proficient with practice. Find as many questions about Linux as you can and try to answer them by solving on your system. Find resources with labs that also outline how to do it in detail (my library is growing weekly while searching). You'll develop enough questions on your own in the process of discovering how to do what was asked in a course to come up with more experiments. One thing I'm disappointed in with the LFCS essential system administration course is it's missing a lot of explanation on the labs. If I choose a distro specified like CentOS 7 with minimal install, I shouldn't be googling around to learn step by step what to do. If the course is free, yes. But it's not, and all the content is available for free from RHEL 7 docs. So the more googling I have to do to answer a question from the course (not ones I came up with on my own) the less value the course has. I end up spending more time reading ebooks and other sites while going through the LFCS course than in the actual course. I find questions in the course and the clearest answers on other sites, not good considering I'm using CentOS7.

    If you're already in the field (IT Windows Administration), I think you should focus on finishing your degree and playing with linux while you're working to finish. When you're done with your degree some doors might open for you in your current field that make you want to keep focusing on windows, and if it doesn't happen, you still have your degree and you are familiar enough with linux to make the process of getting certified less painful.

    As for me, I'm taking both route's. This is my last year for my BSIT, and I'm studying for certifications in the process of trying to master CentOS 7. If I get somebody to bite to let me assist in linux administration before I finish working on certifications I'll take it. The best learning is on production systems. I've made all my test systems CentOS 7 and try to spend most of my time in CentOS 7. Good luck on your journey.
  • fabiomcf
    fabiomcf Posts: 2
    edited January 2016
    Hi jtlindsey,

    Thanks a lof for your answer, i realy apreciate. I understand what you mean, all i have learned was working, googling and creating labs. Almost everytime i found problems to fix, i had to google to solve them and i always found the answer, the easy or hard way, but we always learn something.

    I like to learn and i need to get the next step to level up my knowledge and i believe linux it's the right path. I'm not saying that i know everything about windows, but i already have a good background to get the next level. So if i learn linux i would say i could manage windows and linux, so i thought the certification would help me, but it seems isn't enough.

    "One thing I'm disappointed in with the LFCS essential system administration course is it's missing a lot of explanation on the labs. If I choose a distro specified like CentOS 7 with minimal install, I shouldn't be googling around to learn step by step what to do."
    That's what i thought i would be capable after finish the certification, but it seems that's not true. I apreciate that information.

    So i believe i should follow your advice and finish my degree and keep learning linux by myself.(i don't know if i will have time for both but probably it's the best investment) Almost all big companies use linux and they will not hire someone that don't know how to use it, even if is someone that don't have afraid of problems and learn faster working. I always prefer do something i don't know and learn solving problems but unfortunately that doesn't seems to happend too much.

    Then it comes the recruitment, when you apply to a job and there's someone with a degree or more, you will be automatically excluded, even if you have a big experience. For example if you have not a degree as IT Engineer you will never win as one, even if you know as much as one.

    When companies need someone to a job, they don't want to know what you really know, they want someone that find solutions to their problems, but before that we need to pass through the HR people, that make their filter through academic experience.

    Thanks once again for sharing your thoughts, i always like to hear from other people, we always learn something and good luck on your journey too :)


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