RHCSA Certified…finally..

So I passed the RHCSA (Red Hat EX200) on Friday with a score of 283/300. I’m ecstatic to say the least!

The pre-exam T&C’s make it very clear that I cannot divulge any information regarding the contents of the exam. I thought I’d share my preparation though.

  • Firstly, I bought and used Michael Jang’s RHCSA/RHCE Linux Certificatrion Study Guide
  • Secondly, VTC’s RHCSA Tutorials is a must have…
  • Lastly, the rebranded distributions (CentOS and Scientific Linux, and probably others as well) are 99% identical (apart from branding) to Red Hat. I didn’t use Scientific Linux at all, but CentOS worked a charm for me. The repositories are free on the rebranded distributions – which is a big plus if you’re on a budget. I’ve heard mention though that you can get trial access to the Red Hat network. I did not try this though.

I cannot stress the following enough: You have to practice, practice, practice and practice some more. The book mentioned above contains a plethora of little exercises and labs which prepare you for almost any eventuality in the exam. There’s two full sample exams included as well.

I installed CentOS 6.2 on my home PC with the following specs:

Intel DH67BL Motherboard
Intel Core i5 2500K
8Gb Mem
500Gb HDD

To do all the exercises in the book you have to build three machines of which 1 is a server, the other a workstation on the same network and the remaining machine is a workstation/server on another subnet. I found that I never really had to use the latter in preparation for the RHCSA exam, but that’s only half the book so I suppose it’s used a bit more in the RHCE exam.

I never took any formal training, so I cannot comment on that – for me it was all self study.

All-in-all I think it’s a relatively tough exam. If you don’t study, you’ll probably fail – depending on your line of work or how much of a geek you are. Although work experience will get you most of the way (if you have some obviously) you still need to know some arbitrary stuff as well. Then of course there is SELinux, which we all love to hate but should be using anyway.

I’ve already started my preparations for the RHCE which will probably be in August or September, circumstances at work permitting of course.

One thing’s for sure, after doing both the CCNA and this certification in the same year, I can honestly say that although I like the odd networking challenge this is way more satisfying and fun and perhaps more in line with what I want to be doing in the future.

So, good luck to any future test takers – it’s worth it!

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  1. Bart

    May I know how many vms you worked on? and your base os as centos was it part of the test or did you do it so to get more exposure on kvm? Thanks.

    1. While I can’t give specific information regarding the test, I think you can safely do all exercises by just using VM’s. If you want KVM exposure though, you will need to have a base Linux system (and Centos/SL/RedHat makes most sense here).

      In short, if you’re prepping for the RHCSA, you can probably do everything on VM’s

      If you’re preparing for the RHCE exam, you will probably need to make sure you can do KVM stuff (I’m still aiming to do that in this year, so I’ll give feedback then) and you’ll need to test a few more things. For that, make it a base install of CentOS and run VM’s on top of it as you see fit.