The Red Hat Certified Journey

When I started looking at what certificate(s) I wanted to earn, I saw that RedHat has several certificates for all paths in IT.  With my 20+ years of experience as an administrator, I wanted to challenge myself and see what I could do in a year.  I figured that I could easily pass the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) with a little review.  I also figured that the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) would only be one more test and would be relatively easy because of my background (some review required).  The next levels are the specific levels of expertise in areas of RedHat.  While I was reviewing those, I noticed that passing at least 5 of the certified specialist exams would also award me a Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA).  I decided that I would pursue the RHCA.  This was Thanksgiving 2017.  While on assignment in January 2018, I was asking if I could put together some technical blogs.  Now I have never been one who likes to write.  Although it was something that I needed to do for myself, our team, and our audience, I was reluctant.  After discussing my plan for my certification(s), it was brought to my attention that the learning plan would be a perfect topic to share.  I would blog about what I study for each test, how I setup my labs, what materials I would use to learn the skills needed for each test, and any other resources out there that could help me or anyone else who wanted to take this journey.  This seemed a logical step since we are all about creating pathways for success at Open Source Architect.

To start out, I wanted something simple to help me though the RHCSA and possibly the RHCE.  I started out with a search on amazon for a book or two.  This is what I found that I thought would help.  I then remembered that I purchased a one year subscription to Safari Books Online.  The current pricing is here.  It was $399/yr or $39/month at the time.  I took a look and found the book was listed on Safari Books Online.  Also, as I was checking for other material that would be helpful, I noticed that there were also video series by the author of the book I was going to use, Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) Complete Video Course with Virtual Machines, 2/e.  Not only did the videos walk through the book but there was also a link that allowed the user to download the pre-setup labs he was using.  When I looked around for pricing, each video series was running about $300.  I thought the $39/month was a steal, since I was only planning on taking two months to do the first two tests.  Plans and reality don’t always work out.  I am currently scheduling my RHCE in mid-march 2018 so that was a little off since I passed the RHCSA in December 2017.  While setting up the RHCE test and doing a little more studying, again only using the videos, books, and labs from Sander van Vugt, my blog and video series will start on the other tests I will be taking for the RHCA.  I could not find anything as concise and cheap to study for the next certificates.

As I was going through the Red Hat website, I noticed that there are now two paths to a RHCA.  One is the path that I outlined above but there is a new one aimed at developers, Red Hat Certified Jboss Developer (RHCJD).  With this in mind, I took a look at the exams that could be taken in each path and which overlapped.  I figured I would start with the ones that overlapped.  That way if someone with a RHCJD wanted to get an RHCA, that person could use the blogs, information, and labs to study for the exams.  I removed the exams that have been retired and below is the table that lists where the exams fall, whether RHCE only, RHCJD only, or either path.

RHCE only Either path RHCJD only
EX210 – Red Hat Certified System Administrator in Red Hat OpenStack exam EX248 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Enterprise Application Server Administration exam EX421 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Camel Development exam
EX220 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Hybrid Cloud Management exam EX280 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Administration exam EX427 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Business Process Design exam
EX236 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Gluster Storage Administration exam EX405 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Configuration Management EX453 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Fast-Cache Application Development exam
EX310 – Red Hat Certified Engineer in Red Hat OpenStack EX407 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Ansible Automation exam EX465 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Business Rules exam
EX318 – Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator exam EX440 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Messaging Administration exam
EX342 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Linux Diagnostics and Troubleshooting EX450 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Data Virtualization exam
EX403 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Deployment and Systems Management exam
EX413 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Server Security and Hardening exam
EX436 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in High Availability Clustering exam
EX442 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Linux Performance Tuning exam

With this information, my plan is to start with the EX280.  This is because it falls into both categories and I have experience on OpenShift.  Next, I plan on doing the EX248 since I have some EAP experience.  After that, I will just go down the column with EX405, EX407, and EX440.  This will round out the five expertise exams that I need for the RHCA.  Depending on how this goes, I will probably round out the rest of the middle column with EX450.  If this blog becomes popular, I may take a stab at getting all the exams done and having entries for all the exams.

The next step in this journey is available here.


About the Author

With over 18 years of advanced professional work experience in various Information Technology and Storage Platforms, David provides the ability to deliver enterprise solutions to Fortune 500 companies.