Certification Review – RHCSA

Back in September of 2020 I passed the RHCSA exam with a score of 250/300. It took me the full time available to finish the exam, and I felt very prepared going in. My resources were the Sander Von Vugt’s RHCSA exam guide, Linux Academy’s RHCSA exam guide, and my home lab. My study method was not very well planned at first, but developed into something cohesive over time. I would do practice exams, and then as I failed each exam I took, I would find the parts that i was doing wrong and go and learn that bit in Sander’s book.

Then, I realized that I was not taking things seriously, at which point I purchased the Linux Academy package and worked through it from front to back until I could do every lab perfectly. Then, I went back to the Sander book and got to where I could do all of his labs perfectly as well by reading through each chapter and following the study guide. Finally, I spent my last week just running practice tests over and over.

I wasted a lot of time studying for the exam by not being willing to pay for study material (I got Sander’s book from my company’s library). Once I payed for quality study material and worked through Sander’s book the way he intended it to be, my study habits drastically improved and so did my competency.

Overall, I don’t think the exam is too difficult. The main hurdle is the volume of knowledge required for the exam. The concepts are simple, but if you don’t have muscle memory over the material, it is easy to get stuck on a per-requisite question and fail a large section of the exam. It is now October of 2020, and honestly, I am already starting to forget the details of some of the material I learned from the exam. But, I don’t think that is the point of this exam. RedHat even says as much in their description of the exam:

The performance-based Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) exam (EX200) tests your knowledge in areas of system administration common across a wide range of environments and deployment scenarios. The skills tested in this exam are the foundation for system administration across all Red Hat® products.

RedHat.com

Once I earned my RHCSA, I decided to take a short break from studying. That break has lasted about a month. After some back and forth deliberation, I have decided to go for the RedHat EX280 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Administration. I have always found Kubernetes to be a fascinating technology, and holding this cert will help build out my DevOps portfolio. From what I have read, this exam is a step up in difficulty and complexity over the RHCSA, so I have my work cut out for me. But, I now also have experience taking RedHat exams, and a much bigger toolbox for successful study habits. In January, I will report back on the results of my EX280.

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