The second level LPIC certification (LPIC-2)

As I mentioned in the first text of the certification series, I went further upstream and got myself the second level of what LPI has on offer – LPIC-2 (verify). Was it easy? Was it hard? Let’s start.

Introduction

The LPIC-2 certification is granted by passing 2 exams, but only if one already holds a LPIC-1 certification. This means that in order to get LPIC-2 certified, one must pass a total of 4 exams.

  • Exam 201 – with a focus on advanced system administration topics such as kernel and boot loader configuration, filesystems and troubleshooting.

  • Exam 202 – focusing on a couple of common services such as e-mail, http, proxies and file sharing.

As with LPIC-1, the exams can be passed in any order, certification being granted when passing both.

Logistics

I have passed both exams with a Pearson VUE test center (actually 2 of them, as I have gone to 2 different locations for the exams). In this setup each exam normally costs around EUR 150; the second was paid by my current employer.

Preparation

What I have mentioned, preparation-wise, in the first text is still valid. Books alone will not help pass such exam, neither a light hands-on experience. The questions themselves are by no means tricky – if one actually used that particular piece of software or went through that usage scenario, then the answer comes fast; otherwise it won’t and the coin toss won’t help either. What I have also noted is that some questions are (randomly) asked at both 1st and the 2nd level; it’s very likely that the border between “harder” 1st level topics and “easier” 2nd level ones is very shallow.

There are 2 books I have found useful for preparation – but please note that I’m doing hands-on Linux system administration in one way or the other for 13 years now, so these books served only as refreshments or helped me get higher scores. Without the knowledge base to correlate things, there is no way one could pass the exams, not even by knowing all the questions in advance.

  1. LPIC-2 Linux Professional Institute Certification Study Guide: Exams 201 and 202. I didn’t find the book going into enough depth on the exam topics, also the practice questions were far too easy compared to the real exam questions. Being printed before the last update by LPI, it does not cover everything required to pass the exams. It is useful for exam 201, though. I have also found the PAM chapter really well written.

  2. Hexa Marathon Guide:LPIC-2: Linux Network Professional: Practice problems on LPI 201 and 202. This contains real exam questions (not all of them, though) – I won’t ask how the author got them – but it has serious shortcomings on formatting. Apart from the real exam questions that are scattered throughout the book, there are many questions covering topics that do not apply to the current version of the LPIC exams. This book alone may only help people with great photographic memory, but I found it really good in structuring the knowledge I have acquired through other means – and also getting higher examination scores.

Summary

How much did it cost me to get here?

  • Preparation books: 1, 2, 3 – approx 80 EUR

  • Exams: 4 of them – 330 EUR (one exam was paid directly by my employer, so one would have to add 150 EUR more)

  • Other: as the first 2 exams were taken in a conference setting, there were transportation and hotel costs related to the trip to Bruxelles. I won’t factor them in this calculation, though.

I wouldn’t say it’s a lot of money to prove that “you know Linux”; the certifications from RedHat (RHCSA, RHCE) cost at least twice as much to get, maybe even more with their (likely mandatory) trainings. One may say that such certification does not help you get a better job, but I say it’s better to have something that may help when standing against your competition.

Is the next step LPIC-3? Maybe, but the LPIC-3 is about specialty and one must choose between mixed environments, security and virtualization. All of these topics are, more or less, out of my league for now.

That was it, thank you for your read!

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