Am not a RHCA, will hopefully pass my RHCE exam later next month and have pondered over that same question. The way I saw it, the Diagnostics And Troubleshooting exam should be the first to prepare for, I consider it important- as a skill set, as a credential and as an important knowledge building block... and honestly, that course or a variation of it should be taught as the first course along with the basics of Linux.
Following trends, following job requirements or following your own interest: the chances of that newly gained knowledge sticking the longest time in your memory are biggest with knowledge gained by following your interest- and you will learn it fastest. Job requirements change, working enviroments change, trends change, companies are bought and sold, crash, new businesses started, a lot of shifting is happening all the time. But it is very important to at least note the most general, omnipresent theme in those ever- shifting trends. One or few of those trends may become your new job requirement. The way I saw it, remote execution is a reccuring theme along with automated decision- making and scripted en-masse configuration. So I decided to go after OpenStack and Ansible RH exams, once I am done with RHCE and Diagnostics and Troubleshooting. Aside from Red Hat, I see Python coding for data science as being an important skill to build, not only for future- proofing one's career but also as a matter of interest.
Hi @varelov , thanks for your input.
The approach that I've taken so far was to stick to technologies that I use at work. I've passed the first two exams without issues.
For the third one I'm actually learning a new tool that I don't use at my workplace, therefore I already feel the difference with regards to time required for studies and homelabbing. It's a lot of fun to learn something new, but naturally it takes more effort and resources to prepare for the exam.
With regards to the Diagnostics And Troubleshooting exam, in all honesty, I believe that it will be redundand in several years. The IT world is moving towards all things agnostic, where flavour specific knowledge is no longer required. With tools like Puppet and Ansible, Terraform and CloudFormation, Docker and Kubernetes, one can provision server infrastructure without having to deal with underlying OS. Whether you can troubleshoot a RHEL server will be less important. If there is a problem, you simply rebuild a container (well, it's not all that simple, but you get the idea).
I'm being nosey, sorry about this.
What did you go for?
Where are you now?
And for the new topics that you don't use professionally, the ones that really eat up the study time - when do you study?
Before work? Weekend? Locked in the company toilet?
@Lisenet I took the same approach you are. I choose the exams based on what would be useful at work, but also what I'm interested in future-facing. If you're a systems administrator, I'd suggest:
EX403 - Red Hat Satellite
EX342 - RHEL Troubleshooting (though, in my opinion, this one is one of the toughest exams in the catalog)
EX442 - RHEL Performance Tuning (also a very difficult exam)
EX415 - RHEL Security
These 4 are very RHEL or RHEL adjacent. For that fifth exam...
EX407 - Ansible (if your RHCE was earned prior to RHEL8)
EX362 - Identity Manager (IdM)
EX436 - Red Hat High Availability add-on
EX318 - Red Hat Virtualization, which is not RHEL, but might be interesting for someone looking for a path away from VMware
EX280 - OpenShift Administrator, again, not RHEL, but maybe you're interested in more on Red Hat's container and orchestration platform product as another direction of interest.
@NickHI went for clustering, Puppet, Ansible, Satellite and Security. All things used at work but Ansible (which is now changing thanks to skills that I've gained during studies). Attained RHCA in slightly less than 6 months. There is another post on this board about it.
I have read that you now have completed your RHCA path, congratulations!
Still, I'd like to share my feeling about choosing exams. You might now want to raise your RHCA level after all
Mostly, I choose trendy technical matters I barely know but where I definitely want to go in the future. A couple of years ago, it was OpenStack (ex210, ex310), Ansible (ex407) and Docker (ex270). Nowadays it is OpenShift (ex280, ex288, ex425).
This strategy turned out to be extremely rewarding because it made me get my current job as an Cloud Administrator, in spite of no previous professional experience with Cloud technologies.
There is one exception though. When I was only 1 certificate of expertise away from becoming RHCA, I took ex413, which I was confident to pass, based on my actual Linux Security skills. My goal was to quickly get the 50% discount on the RHLS offered to RHCAs. That would definitely be a legitimate reason for anyone to select easier exams based on their current skills or areas of expertise.
About the relevance of ex342 (Diagnostics And Troubleshooting), I used to share your views but I recently changed my mind after having experienced the recruitment process of Facebook's Production Engineers. Advanced Linux troubleshooting is definitely a skill they are looking for, because at large scales, unprecedented complex problems occur at the lowest levels of your infrastructure. For this reason, I've now planned on taking ex342 in the medium term. The same goes with ex442 (performance tuning). Those skills are not redundant, they are actually timeless foundations !
Thanks, that's an interesting point of view. Sure, you can choose five trendy technical matters that you barely know and attaing RHCA, but would you consider yourself an expert in the end? What would it actually mean to be an RHCA in such case?
I am carrying on with my RHCA studies, and planning on taking a couple more exams by the end of the year. The process of learning never stops really.
With regards to diagnostics and troubleshooting, when your infrastructure is AWS and everything is moving towards containers, API gateways and lambda functions, you don't get to deal with RHEL directly anymore.
Interesting view too
To me, considering the multiple options available to become a RHCA including developer and micro-services based paths, RHCA first demonstrates hands-on technical skills, acquaintance with various open-source technologies and the ability to effectively learn new things. Not necessarely being a pundit. It all depends on the underlying certificates.
What next exams are you now considering?
Indeed, you don't have to care about Linux troubleshooting when you work with a public cloud provider. Unless someday you want to work FOR that cloud provider
I wrote "acquaintance with various open-source technologies", to emphasize the number of current certificates of expertise required to be a RHCA.
To me, a RHCA demonstrates a broad open-source culture.