Linux Certification Gaining Ground but Cisco Still on Top

    January 31, 2005

I was interested to see that RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer) was listed in slot 3 of certifications IT professionals want to get.

CCIE ( Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) is at the top, which I think shows tremendous short-sightedness. Folks, networking, routing and firewalls are still “hot” skills, but that’s not going to last. All this stuff is going to be packaged up into teeny little hardware bundles that any idiot can configure – in fact, it is close to that point now and really is already for the home user. Yes, corporate networks demand a bit more, but not all that much more. In a few more years, you won’t need any high-cost certified type to control even a fairly complex network.

But OS support and administration has longer lasting legs. Any random idiot can’t necessarily install and configure a server or maybe even a desktop PC if it is part of a larger network. Not yet, anyway – though zero brain configuration of desktops is often possible, servers are a long way from that. Will it stay that way forever? Of course not – that’s one reason I’m glad to be getting close to retirement age: servers are already starting to become appliances, and the trend will continue, requiring less and less knowledge and intelligence at the point of use. If I were in my twenties or thirties, I would have to be thinking realistically that the market for my skills may be slowly drying up. We old geezers and young whippersnappers alike can count on at least another decade of being needed, but my crystal ball gets cloudy after that.

I have a lot of certification related links at

*Originally published at

A.P. Lawrence provides SCO Unix and Linux consulting services