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Are Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certifications good for a networking career?

Hello Ed,

Do you think the LPI certifications are good for a networking career? If so, do you think it might help to take something like a CCNA cert too?

Thanks!
Francisco

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Dear Francisco:

If you work in, or want to work in, an environment where Linux is a primary OS, if not the primary OS -- the LPIC certifications have a lot to offer those who work outside the Red Hat or Novell/SuSE umbrellas (under those umbrellas, those companies' respective programs will probably get you more of what you need for professional success). For those who work in Linux networking, the LPI program pays increasing dividends as you move up from level 100 to 200 to 300 exams and credentials.

That said, if your current or desired work environments also include Cisco systems and software, the CCNA is a great way to start learning more about that side of the job. But the CCNA remains very much a gateway, entry-level credential that really should be followed by a professional level Cisco cert to get real professional value out of the skills and knowledge you'll acquire by going down that path (CCNP, CCDP, CCIP, CCVP, CCSP for network operations, network design, service provider work, voice over IP work, and security matters, respectively).

Once you start down a particular certification trail, be it either LPI or Cisco or something else, you must usually take at least two or three steps down that path before the real benefits start to become available to you. Thus, you should be prepared to go from 100 to 200 level exams for LPI at a minimum, and to work from the CCNA to one or more professional level Cisco certs as well, to make the most of either program.

HTH, and thanks for posting,
--Ed--

This was first published in August 2007

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