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Best Linux Certifications

Best Linux Certifications
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Certifications for IT professionals working in Linux server environments include an interesting mix of vendor-neutral and distribution-specific credentials. Here are five of the best Linux certs for 2018.

Credit: ShutterstockCredit: ShutterstockMore than 20 years after Linus Torvalds developed Linux, this operating system remains a genuine force in the computing industry. While Linux is not widely used on desktops (making up about 3 percent of the overall desktop operating system market share in October 2017, according to NetMarketShare), it is extraordinarily strong on the web server side, where it enjoys a market share of more than 50 percent (W3Techs).

IT professionals invest considerable time learning about server computing for everything from installation, configuration, maintenance and virtualization to application support and so forth. This also means that many IT professionals are working with and around Linux operating systems daily, often alongside Windows and various UNIX OS brands as well.

The best of the Linux certifications vie for considerable mindshare among IT professionals and present an interesting mix of distribution (or brand) agnostic credentials alongside some pretty formidable vendor-specific credentials. There are multiple well-elaborated certification ladders available to those interested in learning, using and mastering the Linux operating system environment and all the many bells and whistles it supports.

The results of a job search we conducted on several popular job posting sites show which Linux certifications employers are looking for when hiring new employees. While results vary from day to day (and job board to job board), this recites those Linux-related certifications that employers were seeking.

Job Board Survey Results (in alphabetical order, by certification)*

CertificationSimplyHiredIndeedLinkedIn Jobs
LinkupTotal
GCUX (SANS GIAC)354236
31
144
Linux+ (CompTIA)760
924
19
476
2,179
LPIC (LPI)26
33
96
69
224
Oracle Linux OCA21
21
24
11
77
Oracle Linux OCP46
536233
194
RHCA (Red Hat)6267
163
32324
RHCE (Red Hat)377479
526
212
1,594
RHCSA (Red Hat)339
402
430
200
1,371

*See our complete methodology for selecting top five certifications in the Best Certifications series.

Linux system administrators and engineers can expect average earnings in the low-70s and upward, depending on the job role. PayScale lists $70,194 as the average salary for Linux system administrators ($49,000/low and $100,000/high). Average earnings for Linux system engineers were reported at $78,571 ($61,000/low to $100,000/high), while senior Linux system engineer salaries averaged $101,097, with low earnings at $77,000 but some receiving more than $140,000 on the high end. Glassdoor reports earnings for Linux system administrators averaging $71,144, Linux system engineers at $103,312 and senior Linux system engineers at $128,022.

Click through each of the following sections to learn about our top five Linux certification picks for 2018.