Red Hat Certified EngineerSome skeptics think IT certifications aren't worth the paper they're printed on. But in reality, some certifications actually help to create massive partner and customer ecosystems. Skeptical? Consider the situation at Red Hat, which has certified nearly 40,000 professionals on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Here's the scoop from The VAR Guy.

Of course, many aspiring open source pros earn vendor-neutral certifications from CompTIA (Linux+) and the Linux Professional Institute. But Red Hat proves there's demand for vendor-centric Linux certifications as well.

According to Red Hat:
Launched in 1999, the RHCE [Red Hat Certified Engineer] certification is one of the largest performance-based Linux certification programs.
Now a decade old, the RHCE program has certified nearly 38,000 channel partners and customers worldwide. The VAR Guy isn't suggesting that all of those certified folks are true Linux experts. But certainly, many of those certified pros helped Red Hat to emerge as the Linux market leader.

Old Story, New Twist

Sure, vendor certification is nothing new. Novell pioneered it in the late 1980s and early 1990s with NetWare certified pros. Microsoft and Cisco perfected certification in the late 1990s. And now open source companies -- from Digium to  SugarCRM -- are striving to add their own twist on certification.

Oh, and don't forget about Red Hat's next certification move: The company's fastest-growing business is JBoss middleware. You can bet Red Hat will offer certification strategy updates during JBoss World (Sept. 1-4, Chicago).

In the meantime, Red Hat is rapidly marching toward 40,000 Red Hat Linux certified pros. The VAR Guy wonders: How many people are certified on Novell's SUSE Linux? Hmmm. He needs to find an answer on that. And what about Ubuntu Linux? Canonical is just getting started with that effort.

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