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Starfighter Starfighter
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RHCA journey - how do you choose your exams?

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Hi all.

I'm starting my RHCA journey, and I have a list of topics in mind that I'd like to learn about. I also have a couple of exams that I plan on taking, which are in line with my job.

I wonder how people choose the RHCA exams they're going to take? Is it based on work experience and technologies that you use daily, or is it things that you'd like to get on in the future?

Many thanks.

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Flight Engineer Flight Engineer
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Re: RHCA journey - how do you choose your exams?

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Well, there are multiple things that come into mind that you should consider:

  1. Will you, or do you, work with a particular technology? For example, if your company uses oVirt or RHV, there's no question you should go for the RHV cert.
  2. Is there something that's particularly interesting to you? If so, that should be the next one on your list. For example, being a certified Java EE developer is definitely a good way to advance your career if you are a Java developer (or want to become one). Similarly, if you wish to be a sysadmin, or a devops person, I can see a ton of certifications that can come in handy. 
    Do not misunderstand me of course, the certifications are not a silver bullet for getting your dream job asap, but they generally at the very least open the door to interviews, and get you the opportunity to show what you bring to the table. So getting a cert for a tech which you'd like to work with in your next job is definitely a great choice, if you ask me.
  3. Last but not least, you can foresee the future trends, and get some certification in that vein. For example, even if your organization doesn't use Kubernetes, and is not planning on using it, and even if you don't have any particular use for it right at this moment, it may not be such a bad thing to learn it, seeing as it is probably the #1 skill that employers wanted in 2018. So either taking RH's OpenShift, or Google's Kubernetes exams isn't gonna be a bad bet if you ask me. And when you're done with the exam, you may discover that there are a ton of more opportunities for you to use the tech, only you weren't able to see them before.

Of course, you can get burned with #3, so be careful about learning something just because you think it's valuable, especially if you are paying for the education out of your pocket. 

I personally chose exams for all the three reasons above. 

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Flight Engineer Flight Engineer
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Re: RHCA journey - how do you choose your exams?

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Great question, I am in the same boat.  All the exams I have taken so far have been in line with what I do at work.  I am going to have to take a couple of exams on subjects that I don't have a lot of experience with.  I guess I am going to choose the subjects that seem the most interesting to me.  Is there a way to see what (if any) new exams are coming out for 2019?

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Flight Engineer Flight Engineer
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Re: RHCA journey - how do you choose your exams?

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Well, there are multiple things that come into mind that you should consider:

  1. Will you, or do you, work with a particular technology? For example, if your company uses oVirt or RHV, there's no question you should go for the RHV cert.
  2. Is there something that's particularly interesting to you? If so, that should be the next one on your list. For example, being a certified Java EE developer is definitely a good way to advance your career if you are a Java developer (or want to become one). Similarly, if you wish to be a sysadmin, or a devops person, I can see a ton of certifications that can come in handy. 
    Do not misunderstand me of course, the certifications are not a silver bullet for getting your dream job asap, but they generally at the very least open the door to interviews, and get you the opportunity to show what you bring to the table. So getting a cert for a tech which you'd like to work with in your next job is definitely a great choice, if you ask me.
  3. Last but not least, you can foresee the future trends, and get some certification in that vein. For example, even if your organization doesn't use Kubernetes, and is not planning on using it, and even if you don't have any particular use for it right at this moment, it may not be such a bad thing to learn it, seeing as it is probably the #1 skill that employers wanted in 2018. So either taking RH's OpenShift, or Google's Kubernetes exams isn't gonna be a bad bet if you ask me. And when you're done with the exam, you may discover that there are a ton of more opportunities for you to use the tech, only you weren't able to see them before.

Of course, you can get burned with #3, so be careful about learning something just because you think it's valuable, especially if you are paying for the education out of your pocket. 

I personally chose exams for all the three reasons above. 

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Starfighter Starfighter
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Re: RHCA journey - how do you choose your exams?

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Thanks @Marek_C that's the type of the answer that I was looking for.

Just to give you a bit of a background, I use several Red Hat products at work, including Satellite (well, Foreman/Katello actually) and Red Hat HA clustering. Then we also have Puppet and Docker. We don't use oVirt, but it's all on KVM/libvirt. We use a set of tools for server hardening (e.g. SELinux, OpenSCAP), that's something that I'm interested in.

With that in mind, I could rather easily pick 4 or even all 5 exams that closely relate to what I do on a daily basis: Satellite/Puppet, Satellite/deployment and systems management, HA clustering, virtualisation, server security and hardening, OpenStack (to some degree).

At the same time there are other technologies/topics that I'm interested in, e.g. performance tuning, diagnostics and troubleshooting, OpenShift. Quite a few things that I'd like to learn. Therefore the decision making process becomes a bit of a challenge here (the reason for raising this topic in the first place).

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Flight Engineer Flight Engineer
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Re: RHCA journey - how do you choose your exams?

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I think that's a difficult decision, and ultimately up to you (or up to you consulting your team about what is the best choice). You could choose either technologies you're using now, or you could choose technologies you'd like to use in the future.

I would suggest a mixture of both as well, i.e. you could do the Satellite and Puppet exams, as well as the two OpenShift exams, plus OpenStack, which I think might be somewhere in the middle for you. Of course, that is an outsider's suggestion, you know best what's good for you.

Be careful though with choosing exams for tech that you're not using. Those may be particularly challenging for you. I know that the OpenShift exams of (EX280 and EX288) were really difficult for me, and for some of my colleagues. None of us was actually using Kubernetes in production, and there was quite the learning curve. So make sure you're prepared if you opt for those, and make sure you get enough training for all the objectives of the exams, even outside the official RHU training labs.

That said, I think it was beneficial--we're now moving to using OpenShift and it's a huge help to know the admin/dev basics at the very least. When you then need advanced features, like deploying gluster as a storage backend, it gets a bit easier. 

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Flight Engineer Flight Engineer
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Re: RHCA journey - how do you choose your exams?

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Buy Red Hat Learning subscription and read through all the courses you're interested in. Then you can easily pick exams which you most liked to :-)

 

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Starfighter Starfighter
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Re: RHCA journey - how do you choose your exams?

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@sbulav

Interesting, is that the approach that you used for picking your RHCA exams? How long did it take you?

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Flight Engineer Flight Engineer
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Re: RHCA journey - how do you choose your exams?

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This was a joke obviously. However, usually when you pick your exam, you have two or three choices. It's totally possible to read study materials for all of them and pick one you most liked. 

Some materials like a good fiction book, so you're eager to read through it. Some are hard to understand. Some are just boring. So without reading materials you can pick really boring exam and then suffer during preparations. 

It would be great if there were some kind of spreadsheet, rating RHCA exams by difficulty and providing some comments on each (without breaking the NDA).Take a look at this thread , it provides some useful information on RHCA exams difficulty, sadly enough it's pretty short.

 

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Starfighter Starfighter
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Re: RHCA journey - how do you choose your exams?

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@sbulav

Thanks again. I get the feeling that you didn't quite understand the question, or, at least, what I was looking for. I'm interested in knowing what motivated people to chose the RHCA exams that they did.

Am I correct in thinking that your approach was to read the material and then pick the exams that were the least boring to you? That's what I gathered from your response.

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Flight Engineer Flight Engineer
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Re: RHCA journey - how do you choose your exams?

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Sorry if I misunderstood your question. My main motivation is to learn new technology, understand how things work under the hood. Signing up for exam is a huge motivation to study.
As for choosing exams - yes, I pick two or three exams which I feel most useful, then I read documentation and decide which one to choose.

 

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