Certification Survey Extra: Rating Linux certification study materials
Certification Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Certification Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.
Forrest Gump’s mama always told him that life is like a box of chocolates. The point, for Forrest and his mama — in that one movie about Forrest’s (fictional) life that won all of the Oscars — is that there are lots of different things that life can throw at you, and you never know for certain what’s going to happen next. Just like how when you buy a box of asssorted chocolates, there’s no telling exactly what will be inside.
Sometimes IT training is kind of like that. Even if you know what category of training you’ve selected, there’s no telling, until after you’ve used the product, how helpful and effective it will be. Even a highly-rated study guide, or a popular online course, doesn’t always provide the same experience to every individual who uses it.
It’s also true that we all learn differently, and that it’s rare for two people to have the exact same approach to satisfying all of the variables in the certification preparation equation: finding time to study, allocating available financial resources, choosing the best training of one’s preferred type, and so forth.
Certification is an ongoing pursuit, of course, so you aren’t likely to enter the IT industry, whatever your specialization, with every cert you’ll ever need already in hand. For our recent Linux Certification Survey, we asked certified Linux professionals how they get the best results.
Survey respondents rated the effectiveness, per their most recent certification experience, of various Linux certification study materials. As always, those surveyed had the option to mark “Does Not Apply” for study approaches that are foreign to their experience. Here’s what we learned:
|Method of Study||Percentage of Respondents who rate this method Excellent||Percentage of Respondents who rate this method Very Good||Percentage of Respondents who rate this method Good||Percentage of Respondents who rate this method Fair||Percentage of Respondents who rate this method Poor||Percentage of Respondents who rate this method Does Not Apply|
|Self-study books||26.5 percent||56.1 percent||3.9 percent||[No responses]||[No responses]||13.5 percent|
|Product Documentation||17.8 percent||21.7 percent||30.9 percent||8.3 percent||4.3 percent||17 percent|
|Instructor-led training at training center||13 percent||17.4 percent||12.8 percent||4.6 percent||[No responses]||52.2 percent|
|Vendor-authorized boot camp||8.7 percent||17.6 percent||8.5 percent||4.3 percent||[No responses]||60.9 percent|
|On-the-job training||21.7 percent||26.1 percent||22 percent||8.7 percent||[No responses]||21.5 percent|
|Practice exams||30.4 percent||22.2 percent||39.1 percent||3.5 percent||[No responses]||4.8 percent|
|Online university or e-learning course||13.2 percent||12.9 percent||26.3 percent||8.5 percent||4.3 percent||34.8 percent|
|Internet mailing lists or forums||4.1 percent||8.9 percent||8.7 percent||25.9 percent||[No responses]||52.4 percent|
|Computer-based training or simulations||8.5 percent||18.7 percent||26 percent||8.6 percent||[No responses]||38.2 percent|
|Community or technical college courses||[No responses]||13 percent||17.2 percent||8.8 percent||[No responses]||61 percent|
|Brain dumps from web sites||8.7 percent||13.3 percent||4 percent||13 percent||8.8 percent||52.2 percent|
2021 Linux Certification Survey: Refers to materials used by survey respondents to prepare for their most recently taken exam.
It would probably be wrong to conclude from this data that all training and study materials are well prepared and of unimpeachable quality. On the other hand, almost no survey respondents handed out “Poor” ratings, even for quasi-ethical solutions like brain dumps and largely unvetted ones like internet mailing lists.
The workplace is a key arena of learning for many, as demonstrated by the fact that 70 percent of survey participants have experienced some degree of success in furthering their certification efforts through on-the-job-training. If you know enough to get a job in IT, then you can do work, get paid, and enrich your skill set all at the same time. Other strong options include product documentation and online university or e-learning courses.
Community college courses, boot camps, instructor-led courses, and online mailing lists/forums are apparently beneath the notice of many certified Linux professionals looking to study up for a certification.