As harsh as it seems, experience isn't always enough. Author David Fells covers some of the more prominent vendor-neutral certifications available and shows which you might need to keep your career on track.
In a study conducted recently by CRN magazine, vendor-specific certifications dominated their list of the fifteen most important certifications. In their list of the top fourteen certifications of growing importance, however, the situation was more favorable to vendor-neutral certifications, particularly those dealing with Linux and security.
Two of the most important vendor-neutral certifications are CompTIA's Linux+ and the Linux Professional Institute Level 1 and 2 certifications. These certifications allow IT professionals to demonstrate a fairly comprehensive knowledge of installing, configuring, securing and administering Linux systems. The target professional is someone with six to twelve months hands-on experience with Linux operating systems for CompTIA Linux+ and LPI Level 1. LPI level 2 comes with the recommendation of at least two years in the field with Linux. The core value to these certifications is that they are distribution neutral, meaning that an IT professional who holds any of these certifications should be capable of working with any version of Linux with minimal training and supervision.
Linux certification holders are, according to the exam objectives, able to work in any Linux environment and successfully deploy and maintain Linux systems. The value of this certification to solution providers lies in this point, as it is not far fetched that a Red Hat Certified Engineer would have trouble building and maintaining a Debian distribution, and vice versa. This empowers solution providers to approach clients with the knowledge that they can choose the Linux distribution that is best suited to their business or that they can go into any network environment and work with any Linux-based system they may have without losing time (money) on the job, or the trust of the client.