Certification Survey Extra: Rating Linux certification study materials
Posted on
October 17, 2019

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.

Where should IT learners turn to find the most effective Linux certification study materials? Here's what our survey revealed.

Just as with the ancient traveler headed to Rome, there are many routes to successfully preparing for and passing a certification exam. Anyone who has gone through the pre-exam preparation process could attest that there are many different kinds of IT certification study materials available. Which of them is the "best" options is largely a matter of personal preference.

Even those who are new to the information technology realm probably have a preferred learning style, whether that's leafing through a certification study guide or sitting in a classroom and taking notes on a lecture. There are videos, simulation labs, and self-paced online courses. Some people seek out friendly advice from others via internet forums or mailing lists. Computer learning platforms typically offer a mix of teaching methods.

For our recent Linux Certification Survey, we asked certified Linux professionals which Linux certification study materials give them the best results. Survey respondents rated the effectiveness, per their most recent certification experience, of various 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 31 percent 32.9 percent 17 percent 8.6 percent 1.7 percent 8.6 percent
Product Documentation 15.5 percent 25.9 percent 27.6 percent 10.3 percent 5.2 percent 15.5 percent
Instructor-led training at training center 19 percent 20.7 percent 8.6 percent 1.7 percent 1.7 percent 48.3 percent
Vendor-authorized boot camp 8.6 percent 10.3 percent 12.1 percent 3.4 percent 1.7 percent 63.9 percent
On-the-job training 25.9 percent 29.2 percent 19 percent 4.2 percent 1.7 percent 19 percent
Practice exams 17.2 percent 34.5 percent 24.1 percent 3.4 percent 5.2 percent 15.6 percent
Online university or e-learning course 10.3 percent 19 percent 20.7 percent 1.7 percent 3.4 percent 44.8 percent
Internet mailing lists or forums 5.2 percent 15.5 percent 13.8 percent 8.6 percent 6.9 percent 50 percent
Computer-based training or simulations 10.3 percent 32.8 percent 20.7 percent 6.9 percent 3.4 percent 25.9 percent
Community or technical college courses 5.2 percent 10.3 percent 12.1 percent 3.4 percent 5.2 percent 63.8 percent
Brain dumps from web sites 5.2 percent 6.9 percent 17.2 percent 10.3 percent 8.6 percent 51.7 percent

2019 Linux Certification Survey: Refers to materials used by survey respondents to prepare for their most recently taken exam.

Self-study books are generally the most popular and relied-on method of study in our survey, and that pattern holds true here. Nearly 65 percent of survey respondents rated self-study books as being either Excellent (31 percent) or Very Good (32.9 percent). On the other hand, practice exams, which are often rated almost as highly, didn't fare so well with certified Linux professionals.

The next-most highly rated study method here is on-the-job training: 25.9 percent of respondents rated it Excellent, while 29.2 percent say direct workplace exposure to Linux is Very Good. That's considerably stronger than the next two runners-up: instructor-led training (19 percent Excellent, 20.7 percent Very Good) and, yes, practice exams (17.2 percent Excellent, 34.5 percent Very Good).

Pivoting to the areas where certified professional are not seeking out Linux certification study materials, notably more than half of those surveyed have no use for either vendor-authorized boot camps (63.9 percent of respondents) or community and technical college courses (63.8 percent). Exactly half of those surveyed don't involve Internet mailing lists/forums in their preparation, while 51.7 percent entirely steer clear of brain dumps.

You also have close to half of respondents entirely ignoring both online courses (44.8 percent) and instructor-led training at training centers (48.3 percent).

Linux, it would seem, is an IT knowledge realm where there are a lot of people lone-wolfing it when it comes to learning the basics and/or adding new skills. If you're a newcomer to the field, then it seems that a majority of certified professionals would probably point you toward books, workplace immersion (the "learn by doing" approach), and practice exams.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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