This section covers the reasons for pursuing industry-recognized certification, explains the importance of your RHCE or RHCT certification, and prepares you for taking the actual examination. It gives you a few pointers on how to prepare, what to expect, and what to do on exam day.
Red Hat's RHCT and RHCE certification exams are hands-on exams. As such, they are respected throughout the industry as a sign of genuine practical knowledge. If you pass, you will be head and shoulders above the candidate who has passed only a "standard" multiple-choice certification exam.
There are two parts to both RHCT and RHCE exams, as follows. The requirements are detailed in the Exam Readiness Checklist later in this introduction.
Section I Troubleshooting and System Maintenance: (RHCE) 2.5 hours (RHCT) 1.0 hours. As described in the Red Hat Exam Prep guide, RHCE candidates need to meet the requirements for both Red Hat certifications. Both RHCT and RHCE candidates must complete all five RHCT Troubleshooting and System Maintenance problems within the first hour. As there are five "optional problems," RHCEs need to complete three of five of these RHCE-level problems for an overall score of 80 on this section.
Section II Installation and Configuration: (RHCE) 3.0 hours (RHCT) 2.0 hours. As described in the Red Hat Exam Prep guide, RHCE candidates need to meet the requirements for both the RHCT and RHCE. RHCT candidates need a grade of 70 or higher on their section. RHCE candidates must get a grade of 70 or higher on both the RHCT and RHCE components of the Installation and Configuration section of your exam.
Most certifications today are based on multiple-choice exams. These types of exams are relatively inexpensive to set up and easy to proctor. Unfortunately, many people without real-world skills are good at taking multiple-choice exams. This results in problems on the job with "certified" engineers, who have an image as "paper tigers" who do not have any real-world skills.
In response, Red Hat wanted to develop a certification program that matters. For the most part, they have succeeded with the RHCT, RHCE, and their other advanced certifications.
Linux administrators frequently debug computers with problems. The challenges in the Troubleshooting and System Maintenance sections are based on real-world problems. As the typical Linux administrator has to work through multiple challenges on a daily basis, the RHCE Troubleshooting and System Maintenance section provides a credible measure of real-world skills.
Linux administrators sometimes have to install Linux on a computer or virtual machine. Depending on the configuration, they may need to install Linux from a central source through a network. Installing Linux is not enough to make it useful. Administrators need to know how to configure Linux: add users, install and configure services, create firewalls, and more.
The RHCT and RHCE exams are Red Hat exams. Knowledge of System V or BSD-based Unix is certainly helpful, as well as experience with services like Apache, SMB, NFS, DNS, iptables, and DHCP. But it is important to know how to set up, configure, install, and debug these services under Red Hat Enterprise Linux (or rebuild distributions that use the same source code, such as CentOS, Scientific Linux, or Lineox).