Today’s post is just my thoughts on my most recent class + exam.  The RHCE is considered by many people to be one of the best (and most difficult) Linux-based certifications that an SA can get.  For that reason, I have desperately wanted this certification for quite some time, but I could never afford the cost.

Luckily, a bunch of SA’s at my current job got together and submitted for our employer to front the cost of 2 Boot Camp-like courses and exams back to back.  I got in the second one.  The course we took wasn’t the RHCE 300 boot camp, it was a modified version offered by

Guru Labs called the GL301.  I do believe this course was very helpful in me passing my exam with the score that I did (you’ll see below) – but I likely would have passed the test without it.

All of the blogs and forums that I read from so many people talk about how painful and difficult the RHCE exam was that it almost makes the exam seem godlike and impossible.  I actually think all of that sort of made the experience almost disappointing.

I did come across this guys blog here that explained how he “self-trained” himself to ace his exam.

Like him, I don’t want to “downplay” the significance of the RHCE certificate, or make anyone think they can sleep their way through the test – but it most certainly isn’t an impassable exam by any measure, which is definitely the impression you get when reading other blogs and forums. I had no books or study material beyond the book given by the boot camp we took, and a CentOS 5 virtual machine in VirtualBox.

I personally have had very little “enterprise” linux experience with employers – most of my knowledge comes from about 10 years of tinkering with just about every flavor of linux I could get my hands on.  From Red Hat 7 through Fedora Core 4 I used Red Hat a lot, after FC4 however I sort of drifted away and into debian based systems with a few gentoo servers.  Now I am almost exclusively Ubuntu for the desktop, and Debian for a server.  This was one of my biggest concerns with going for the RHCE, I was under the impression I would need to know “red hat” specific ways of doing things.  While I am, of course, bound by Red Hat to STFU about anything exam related – I’ll say I was very pleased to discover that the “how” was irrelevant.. all that mattered is “Does it work?”

Just to sort of put the difficulty of the exam into perspective, however, I’ll say this: In the first group of people that took the exam (approx 13-14 people) – we had 1 RHCE, and 1 RHCT pass.  I do not know yet how many passed or failed in my class.  The thing to note about this though is the majority of the people that went with me or before me were not full Systems Administrators, they were DBA’s or some other Application Administrator that was required to get an OS certification.  So, if you don’t find yourself routinely administering a complete linux system very often – you’re definitely going to want brush up on everything you see in the RHCE Prep Guide that Red Hat is “nice” enough to give us.  It’s about all the legal information you can get about the exam.

Now for my Results:

The results of your RHCE Certification Exam are reported below.  The

RHCE Certification Exam allows candidates to qualify for the

Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and Red Hat Certified Technician

(RHCT) certificates.  Please note that the RHCE designation is

understood to both include and supersede the RHCT designation.

RHCE requirements: score of 70 or higher on RHCT components (100 points)

score of 70 or higher on RHCE components (100 points)

RHCT requirement:  score of 70 or higher on RHCT components (100 points)

RHCT components score:                             100.0

RHCE components score:                             100.0

RHCE Certification:                                PASS

Congratulations — you are now certified as a Red Hat Certified


I finished all of the requirements in 1.5 hours, and spent the remaining 2 hours simply testing my configurations and even going above and beyond the requirements in terms of security (because I was getting bored).

This exam is definitely passable, but be sure you have the experience listed on Red Hat’s website.  I strongly recommend taking the Red Hat pre-Assessment questionaire – but also recommend you give them a fake email address and phone number unless you want to be constantly harassed by “Red Hat training” specialists that want to figure out when you want to take a course.  It’s actually quite annoying and my biggest frown at Red Hat.  Just because I took your pre-assessment quizzes doesn’t mean I want you to contact me to “help me out”.   Red Hat isn’t the only business that employs this tactic of course… but I dislike it anywhere it’s used.

Thanks for stopping by, I’m going to go celebrate my Ace of the RHCE exam!

Happy Studying!